Marriage and the Foundation Factor
The importance of a good foundation for a house and for a marriage is not as different as you might think.
I awoke to hear sounds coming from the basement. Water? I puzzled groggily, fighting through the layers of deep sleep. Stumbling to the stairway, I looked down to see my mother, in her nightgown, ankle-deep in water, bucket in hand.
The Oklahoma sky had turned liquid that night, drenching the red clay soil with torrents bent on inundating all that stood in the path, including her basement.
I quickly woke my daughters, and we joined Mom in forming a sort of bucket brigade up the stairs to the kitchen sink. Our attempt to bail faster than the water could gush between the bricks of the foundation walls was a standoff as the minutes grew to an hour and then more.
Finally the fury of the storm slackened, streams became trickles, and we wearily sopped up the last of the water. The worst was over, but my mother would have a lot of cleanup and discarding to do in the days ahead.
In all the years we had visited that old house, we had never seen the cracks and fissures that had yielded to this aggravating intrusion. But after a pounding of several inches of rain in the space of two hours, the faults became clear. Repairs would have to be made and soon.
I’ve had several experiences with leaky basements, and each came with its own particular lesson.
Basements can leak because of outside pressure around the walls. For example, we had a house in Illinois with a lovely finished basement. But when it rained for an extended period of time or extremely hard, there was always water in the left front corner. We tried patching it from the inside, but this proved futile.
Finally, in desperation after a series of mopping-up and drying-out incidents, my husband and a friend dug down next to the house almost the entire length of the basement wall to finally discover the source of the problem—broken drain tiles. Once they were replaced, our basement was dry as toast.
Problems from within. Some years later, in another house, we went downstairs to admire our newly finished basement only to be met with an unexpected indoor pond. After an emergency visit from the plumber, the diagnosis was frozen pipes. He remedied the situation, and the basement was dry again (once the new carpet dried out, that is). This time the problem came from within.
Lack of maintenance. My mother’s basement was old because the house itself was old—at least 100 years old. It was obvious that the mortar between the bricks was either substandard (did they have codes way back then?) or had deteriorated over the many years. The saying is that nothing lasts forever—which evidently applies to mortar and, all too often, to marriage as well.
The foundation for a strong marriage is not that different
All of these home “disasters” happened due to a problem connected with the foundation. A successful, healthy marriage depends on the integrity of its foundation to be able to meet and withstand the stresses it will encounter from the outside. And it must be properly built and maintained from within.
It’s interesting to watch the process of putting in a foundation. After the ground has been excavated and leveled and the footings poured, laborers come in and erect forms for the basement walls. Concrete is ordered; and as it is poured into the waiting forms, metal rods are inserted into the thick mixture to add strength to the hardening walls.
Likewise, when it is time to pour the floor, workers first roll out strips of reinforcing wire that are then covered with the wet concrete. The home dweller cannot see the rods or the strips of wire mesh, but without them the house would be built on a substandard, compromised foundation.
Marriage built to code
The most important reinforcement in a successful marriage is not a thing. Rather it is a code of conduct for husbands and wives found in the pages of the Bible. When a couple mutually believes and adheres to the scriptural injunctions concerning their partnership, they are building on a superlative foundation. When storms come, the marriage will stand firm.
This is the first in a three part series on Marriage and the Foundation Factor. For part 2 in this series, see “Marriage and the Foundation Factor: Commitment.”
Learn more about biblical principles for a happy marriage relationship in our “Marriage” section.