I watch a TV show that observes human behaviors and the social structures that drive them.
You know, The Real Housewives.
Despite all the glitz, the show demonstrates that money can't buy love. Or self-respect. Or a good marriage.
But I am surprised by the flicker of something I see in the eyes of the women on these shows.
Maybe not at first. Maybe not all of them. But more than once, I've seen it in their eyes. Faltering. This is not what it promised to be.
And this is what comes to my mind: I thought so.
When a person wavers at the emptiness of a worldly payoff, I consider that a glimpse of God pursuing them.
God still pursues.
I thought so.
Unfortunately, a lot of the characters just forge ahead by kissing up to the cameras and mean friends and bad relationships so they can maintain the status quo, even if what they gain is … less than what they thought it would be.
Promises of Peace
It turns out that things haven't changed much.
Just ask Jeremiah.
He was a young man at a time when the Israelites had rejected God. God wanted Jeremiah to tell the Israelites to come back to him.
God said, "Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path? Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back? They cling tightly to their lies and will not turn around" (Jeremiah 8:5).
The Israelites were running wild and clinging to worthless gods. False prophets told the people everything was fine—which made them even less likely to listen to God.
"They offer superficial treatments for my people's mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace" (Jeremiah 6:14).
Our marriages face tremendous pressure to build on that same false assurance of peace. It's a call to just keep on doing what's being done around us because it's fine. We're fine! The "Peace, peace" mantra glosses over the impact of settling for false promises and fake love.
To that we all say, "We know. Honestly! We get it already. See the flicker of realization in our eyes? We know that glitz is less than what God has to offer. We know what we are doing."
But if that is true, then why are a lot of marriages—the ones not in crisis or fighting addictions or broken to the point of divorce—still so … mediocre?
Perhaps the problem is that the version of "peace" in most married lives is a little harder to detect. We can all attest that on occasion we claim things are "fine" when they are not really fine. Especially in our marriages. Most often, things stay the same. We might wish they were different, but "same" becomes "fine." And if we look good from the outside, we settle for "fine."