Marriage and Family Life

New thread up and over 200 comments. I hope it's okay, then, for me to post this Valentine's Day oddity.

The Urantia Book (what, that again? yes) helped me resolve several fundamental theological conflicts I had developed in reading from various religions including and beyond my native Christianity. It gave me an appreciation of the Trinity, about which I had been taught next to nothing when young and which concept meant nothing to me when I began my spiritual searching. The "Life and Teachings of Jesus" part reinforced my love for Jesus of the Gospels, and inspired me greatly to a life of spiritual service (poor as I have been at it). The book is not a science or history text, but it even gave me a great framework for appreciation of all knowledge, cosmology, anthropology, and the development of civilization.

That said, the part which has been especially valuable to me was the three "Marriage and Family Life" papers. Like the rest of the book, they can't be fully appreciated outside the whole teaching, but they stand out for me because, I really needed to learn the place of marriage and family in my own life.

Milady and I read the UB, and those three papers in particular, with great interest when we first got together. Our having done so has helped two young wild idiots of the 1960s to sustain our union for over forty years, and, I'd like to think, gave us good guidance on the basics of family life. I don't claim to be good at any of that, but I would have been much worse without the saving grace of those papers describing the historic development, valuable ideals, and practical aspects of making a home.

"Mars/Venus" was mentioned above. The marriage papers might even go farther than that book:

Male and female are, practically regarded, two distinct varieties of the same species living in close and intimate association. Their viewpoints and entire life reactions are essentially different; they are wholly incapable of full and real comprehension of each other. Complete understanding between the sexes is not attainable.
(Links go to the Urantia Foundation website)

Not attainable. Just accept that, and it becomes easier, guys!

Romance is fine, but the romantic relationship is a means to the greater purpose, not the end. True love for a lifetime is hard work for both parties to a marriage. (Hums "Do You Love Me?" from Fiddler.) This passage is more true today than when it was written in 1935:

The real test of marriage, all down through the ages, has been that continuous intimacy which is inescapable in all family life. Two pampered and spoiled youths, educated to expect every indulgence and full gratification of vanity and ego, can hardly hope to make a great success of marriage and home building - a lifelong partnership of self-effacement, compromise, devotion, and unselfish dedication to child culture.

That "unselfish dedication to child culture" was one of the great lessons for me.

Finally, the last paragraph of the three marriage papers should resonate with most folks here:

Let man enjoy himself; let the human race find pleasure in a thousand and one ways; let evolutionary mankind explore all forms of legitimate self-gratification, the fruits of the long upward biologic struggle. Man has well earned some of his present-day joys and pleasures. But look you well to the goal of destiny! Pleasures are indeed suicidal if they succeed in destroying property, which has become the institution of self-maintenance; and self-gratifications have indeed cost a fatal price if they bring about the collapse of marriage, the decadence of family life, and the destruction of the home - man's supreme evolutionary acquirement and civilization's only hope of survival.