Getting Directions for Your Marriage
Dr. Paul Chappell, Author of New Marriage Book ‘Are We There Yet?’ Writes Commentary for Fox News About the Difference Between the World’s View on Marriage and God’s Plan for This Holy Union
LOS ANGELES—Dr. Paul and Terrie Chappell love to travel, and they’ve been down the road of marriage together for the past 37 years.
After the many experiences of their trips, and their journey as husband and wife, the Chappells recently released their new book, “Are We There Yet? Marriage—a Perfect Journey for Imperfect Couples,” a travel-themed guide for marriage where the Chappells remind that the journey of marriage is designed by God to be amazing and profound. God wants couples to experience everything good that He intended when He created marriage.
Dr. Paul Chappell shared insights about getting directions for marriage in a new commentary for Fox News, where he wrote that one of Terrie’s favorite travel stories happened before the invention of GPS units and smartphones. While on a trip with another couple, they soon realized they were driving past the same landmarks over and over. The two men decided it was time to ask for directions. As their wives watched from the car, the husbands nodded along as a fellow traveler at a gas station seemed to be giving decent directions.
When the men returned to the car, they realized they had understood very little of what the man had said, as he didn’t speak much English.
“Neither of us wanted to say that we couldn’t understand, so instead, we both nodded along, assuming the other really did understand,” Chappell wrote for Fox News. “That scenario is a picture of so many couples in our culture. When it comes to marriage, couples often know they are not where they want to be—and nowhere near where they dreamed that marriage would take them. But when they look for help, they get input from sources who give garbled directions and mixed messages.
“Our culture is, at best, confused on the meaning and significance of marriage and relationships,” Chappell continued. “It’s amazing to me, for instance, that in the same month our culture praised the late Playboy Magazine founder Hugh Hefner, who objectified women, we condemned film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused by more than 90 women of sexual assault or harassment.”
In reality, the stories of both men are many shades of deplorable and tragic, Chappell said. But to add insult to injury, recall that several months ago, the “celebrity story” dominating the news was how ridiculous it was for Vice President Mike Pence to refuse to have lunch alone with a woman other than his wife.
“Apparently,” Chappell said, “objectifying women is OK, taking advantage of them is bad (as long as it’s in real life and not in a movie you pay to watch), but setting personal guidelines to protect the sanctity of your own marriage is also bad. Hollywood, media and our culture provide conflicting directions. And couples who base their relationship on these sources are sure to become confused. We simply can’t follow a sloppy map and be surprised when it leads us to a different destination than we wanted to go.”
So what was so bad about God’s plan for marriage? God created marriage to be awesome. In the actual words of Genesis, he made it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). And in the very first wedding ceremony of human history, God gave specific, not-difficult-to-understand directions for marriage: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Genesis 2:18–24). This passage is so significant that Jesus quoted from it and the apostle Paul referenced it.
“Every journey needs a map,” Chappell said. “And when it comes to marriage, the truth is, your source of directions matters. A couple that follows Hollywood’s map should not be surprised when they have a Hollywood-typical marriage—outwardly glamorous, but inwardly hollow. What better map to follow than from the originator of marriage? When you take two people who are committed to one another and are daily drawing nearer to the Lord, there is an ongoing pattern of growth. This isn’t the result of one day, but of habits carried out day after day as together they walk through life and strengthen their relationship.
“When it comes to the journey of marriage, none of us has ‘arrived,’” Chappell concluded. “It’s a lifelong journey that includes detours, bumps, mistakes and growth. But when you are following the Lord and his directions for marriage, it really is an awesome journey.”
Whether newlyweds or married for decades, husbands and wives will find truth in “Are We There Yet?” to help them clarify their destination, communicate their needs, grow as a couple and even shed some baggage along the way. With chapter titles such as “Paying with Foreign Currency,” “It’s a Two-Lane Highway,” “Roadblocks” and “Booking a Room,” “Are We There Yet?” explores topics from needs and communication to conflict and intimacy.
Read more about “Are We There Yet?” and the Chappells here. For more information on Dr. Paul Chappell and Lancaster Baptist Church, visit paulchappell.com or www.lancasterbaptist.org, or connect via social media on Facebook, Twitter or the church’s YouTube or Vimeo.