The Battles in Becoming

You fell madly in love with the person of your dreams, stood before God and man vowing to love, honor and cherish them for the rest of your life and then one day… reality sets in. You fight over money, he isn’t as attentive as before, she nags all the time, there is little time for intimacy and sometimes you just don’t like each other very much. What happened to your “happily ever after”? Quite frankly, there is no such thing. But shouldn’t it be different in a Christian marriage? Shouldn’t it always be filled with joy and happiness and be immune from the problems of the world? After 25 years of marriage I can honestly say, "Are you out of your mind?"

Christian marriages experience the same problems as any marriage. In fact, Christian divorce rates are no different than that of everyone else; about 1 in 3. This is because all marriages are comprised of two very imperfect people. But divorce is not what God desires for marriages, in His word He tells us that He hates it.

The source of problems we experience can be found in God's directive that two shall become one. We start with two of us and by marrying want to be one; but its in the becoming where things get problematic. Becoming one requires putting what's best for the marriage ahead of the wants and the needs of two. And let's face it; becoming one is counter-intuitive to our humanness. We all naturally want our desires met and as long as that happens there's no problem. It's when it doesn't we first encounter struggles. But God's word gives us tools to help us navigate the becoming. Let me share a few that have helped our marriage.

Be as nice to your spouse as you would be to your friends.
Ephesians 4:32 (NIV) says “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” With this verse at the heart of marriage, we can avoid many battles altogether.

Keep everything in perspective and seek to not be offended.
If it won’t matter in five years, let it go. Does the fact that he squeezes the toothpaste in the middle instead of from the bottom matter? Proverbs 19:11(NIV) says “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” If it continues to drive you crazy, buy separate toothpaste. Do whatever it takes to avoid unnecessary conflict.

Always, always remember why you married them in the first place.
Don’t get hung up on their imperfections. If you are honest, you have plenty of flaws too. Ephesians 4:2 (AMP) says “…bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another”.

Don’t say it just because you think it.
Sometimes the biggest blessing we can give our spouse is to keep our mouth shut. Remember Proverbs 10:19 (NIV) “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

Don’t be passive in your marriage.
Love is so much more than a feeling; it is an active choice. Colossians 3:14(NIV) tell us “And over all these virtues, put on love”. It takes action to get dressed, to put something on. Emotions are fickle. Even when you don't feel it, treat your spouse as if you love them.

• Invite God to be a full part of the marriage.
Pray with and for your spouse….not for them to change but for God to change you to be their perfect partner. Romans 12:12 (NIV) “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer.”

1 comment:

  1. Amen...
    Christian marriages do indeed face the same pitfalls as any other marriages.
    However, the response to these many pitfalls, obstacles, differences of two trying to become has a different prescription. Or at least they should. As believers applying the Godly principles that the scripture outlines should be the response. However, we are all human and often times our human side gets entwined in the matter and resolution cannot be achieved.
    In 1 Corinthians 13 the model of love if effectively applied by the believer can be the difference. Love is not about how we feel. It is patient, kind, longsuffering, slow to anger, does not boil over with jealousy, thinks the best of others, does not want to have its own way. How wonderful it would be if we could follow this plan. I imagine it would make for a lot less divorces and more marriages that are trusting God to make them "one" as God so desires. If we can just keep trusting God and trust his Word through the hard winter seasons of the marriage then we can reap the benefits of the joy that comes in the relationship during the spring and summer seasons.