Before I came to Marriage Partnership I didn't realize its core values were so radical:
—shared faith in God
Three things recently showed me why this magazine is so desperately needed.
The first is the correspondence I now see. One woman wrote after seeing MP for the first time: "Not knowing that it was religious, I picked it off the shelf at my city library. I enjoyed the article on 'Double Standards' [which suggests being more generous with your partner than you expect your partner to be toward you], except that I doubt it will work. If I give more in my marriage, my husband will give less and get away with more TV watching. The same can be said for me. Why do something if someone else will do it? That's what I learned growing up watching my parents. The trick is to get away with as much as you can, from using his money or car, to not cleaning a thing."
I hadn't realized that taking out the trash without being asked was so threatening. But in an age of "me first," MP stands for such high-risk behavior.
The second development has been meeting MP readers. Recently I had dinner with a group of subscribers in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I can't forget the woman who told us, "I read MP because it's not fluff—it deals with life's realities." And I was moved by the man who admitted that he's more interested in reading about marriage than his wife is. He's the one who finds an article he thinks she might appreciate and leaves the magazine on her desk, open to that page.
These are not "me first" people. They're committed to being a good husband or wife, and they told us how MP gives them strength to keep on when they're discouraged. When you're with people who see marriage as a way to love God by loving their mate, you want to do whatever you can to help their tribe increase.
Which brings me to the third development. Early this year, MP was selected by America Online as one of the resources on its "Romance" channel. (When the AOL Welcome Screen appears on your computer, it presents several interest areas. Clicking the Romance icon calls up a screen of selected resources, and MP is one of the first you see.)
We're listed with other resources that definitely don't share our core beliefs. There's a flirting area, dating advice from someone named Delilah, and Astromates (personal classifieds with photos, arranged by astrological signs).
And then there's MP, where we openly proclaim our purpose: to explore "what it means to be Christian and married." Thanks to our prominent location, more than 32,000 people per month are visiting MP online. They read articles (finding the topics they want by typing in key words—"spontaneity" or "finances" or "arguing fair" or "broken trust"—to see anything MP has done on those subjects).
They also write questions to the MP advice columnists. They can eavesdrop or participate in ongoing conversations on message boards dealing with such topics as The Early Years, Romance, The Sexual Christian, Marriage and Faith, and Marriage Builders. They can browse the ChristianityToday.com shopping mall for books and videos, and even find listings for Bed & Breakfasts by region for a marriage getaway weekend.
We think the world needs more Christian marriages—especially the world of Astromates and Delilah—and we're honored to present this radical concept.
Find Marriage Partnership on America Online using keyword: Marriage. On the internet: www.ChristianityToday.com/mp
Copyright © 1997 by the author or Christianity Today/Marriage Partnership magazine. Click here for reprint information on Marriage Partnership.