“Fear is the path to the darkside. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” -Master Yoda
If you read my biography, you discover pretty quickly that I am a big Star Wars fan! Why? I’ve thought often about this question and I can think of three answers. First, Star Wars connects me to my childhood. Secondly, Star Wars does a wonderful job showing that good is not achieved without struggle. Lastly, Star Wars provides heroes in an age when our society is confused about who is good and who is bad. (I digress.) As the opening of Stars Wars: The Last Jedi nears, I desire to share a few lessons about marriage that a couple can possibly gleam from Stars Wars (and Holy Scripture, of course).
An Ancient (True) Tale
A powerful scene takes place in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Characters Rey and Finn are introduced to Han Solo and Chewbacca on the Millennium Falcon. As Han Solo prepares to ditch Rey and Finn, they inform Han that they are on a mission to return BB-8 to the Resistance because BB-8 holds a map to Jedi Luke Skywalker. After hearing their mission and no-doubt being stirred by memories of his past, Han Solo tells Rey, "It is true. All of it. The Force. The Jedi. It's all true."
Up to that point, Rey and Finn had been wrestling the meaning of the map, Luke Skywalker, and their journey to return the map to the Resistance. Han Solo's words begin the process of helping Rey and Finn understand that their journey was part of a ancient tale that was still being written; a tale of good vs evil, light vs dark, the good guys vs the bad guys.
A similar scene takes place in Acts 2. After the Holy Spirit falls upon the first church, many are left asking, "What does this mean?" Peter responds with a passionate testimony that ends with these words, "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah." In essence, Peter could have responded, "It is true. All of it. Jesus' life. His death. His resurrection. It's all true."
I believe all married couples are like Rey and Finn; they must wrestle with the truth that they’re part of an ancient tale that is still being written; a tale of good vs evil, but more specifically of eternal life versus eternal death, of the Messiah versus The Accuser. Marriages shaped by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ purposely work to identify ways their marriages can share the Light of the Gospel. Such sharing could be through volunteering at a church, caring for a young college student, or even adopting a child or being foster parents. Regardless of the “how,” Christ-like marriages recognize they are part of an ancient tale that implores them to share the Light of Christ to a dark world. Don’t coast through marriage! Identify ways your marriage can make a tangible difference for the Light Side of Christ.
What If Your Marriage Turns to the Dark Side?
“Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” -Master Yoda
I believe Yoda was partly correct. Marriages that have symptoms of fear, anger, and hate are on the path to the marital Dark Side. However, I would slightly amend Yoda’s wise words to say that “fear leads to anxiety, anxiety leads to mistrust, and mistrust leads to an inability to connect, and not connecting leads to the Dark Side.” Proverbs says, “Above all else, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life” and Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” How’s your heart regarding your marriage? Is it full of fear, anger, or hate? Are you anxious in your marriage, not feeling accepted or loved? Do you trust your spouse? Do you feel as if you and your spouse are miles apart relationally?
If you answered yes to any of the questions above, it’s time to get help. And, help might not be an Old Jedi Warrior on Dagobah, but it very well could be a marriage therapist or pastoral counselor or even an older, wiser couple to seek out for help and wisdom. Please don’t allow your marriage to be seduced by the Dark Side because you and your spouse are too stubborn to reach out for help. The fate of the galaxy is in your hands! We all need an Obi Wan Kenobi, a Yoda, or Leia Organa Solo (metaphorically speaking) to help our marriages when we are seduced by fear, anger, hate, mistrust, and disconnection.
Again, our marriages are part of a much larger, ancient tale that is still being written. As you navigate the light and dark, may the force, er, I mean may the Grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and the love of the Father be with you!
Paul is the husband to Tara, father to Natalie and Isaac, has an average jump shot, and enjoys running. His secret wish is to one day become a Jedi Knight. Paul holds a doctorate in marriage and family counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and currently serves as senior pastor of Harrodsburg Baptist Church. Paul desires to help young couples navigate the early crucibles of marriage, especially when one or both of the spouses are engaged in vocational ministry.