I recently re-watched the 1979 Best Movie -- Kramer v. Kramer. It is an excellent movie, of course, but the two parents (the husband and wife) are interesting. For those who do not know, the movie begins with the wife leaving her husband. She comes back about an hour later in movie time, 18 months in story time, and tries to obtain custody of their child, whom she left with her husband when she ran out. 

There are lots of details in the movie, but, from a marriage perspective, it is very disturbing. Both spouses begin as self-centered people for whom the marriage really doesn't exist. The husband wants the wife to sustain him, the wife wants the husband to honor her, and they both love their child, in some fashion. Then she leaves to "find herself."

When she returns, what we see is someone who, in finding herself, lost everything else. Everything about her is, well, about her. She wants custody because she wants her son, not because he needs her. She wants what she wants, regardless of what may or may not be good for others.  

How easy it is for each of us to fall into this trap. Our marriage, perhaps, is not what we want it to be. We do not feel as if we are fulfilled. We do not feel appreciated or loved.  Our children do not seem to love us. Our spouse is not what we thought we were getting. Sometimes, leaving seems like the easiest thing to do. 

Do not fall into that trap. Your God has a way for you. The way of the Excellent Wife is not about "denying yourself" in some cultural sense, but about fulfillment. It is about finding yourself by finding and doing the things God would have you do, being the person God would have you to be. In the movie, she believes she was "a good wife" because she stayed so long despite being unhappy, but we know that is a false belief. The good wife, the Excellent Wife, is one because of who she is.

Joy is not found through marriage, but through Christ. It is His joy that runs through the marriage of the Excellent Wife. Your service to God, through service to others, is true, worthy service, in which you can take the joy of a sound worker. 

It is a great movie because it tells a very true story -- of a man and a woman who were neither ready for marriage nor even aware of what it meant to be married. Such marriages will be miserable. The tears at the end arise not because marriage is wrong, but because they were wrong. 

Today, let's not be wrong.

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