Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Marriage Tips for the First Decade: Take off the Mask (Mask #5)
Mask #5: Marriage should come easy and if it doesn’t, perhaps you made the wrong choice of partner. You must be compatible enough, find “the one,” or find “your soul-mate” to truly be happy and have a successful marriage.
Scripture to consider: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24, NASB)
The General Reality: This topic can be difficult to discuss, especially with those who are not married, but may be considering marriage in the near future, or perhaps even with the newlyweds. With all the Hollywood movies, TV commercials, magazine articles, and various other advertisements that glamorize the true reality of marriage, it is no surprise that we are often taken by surprise when we suddenly realize that this union just isn’t what we originally expected it to be. This usually takes place within the first few years of marriage. This is the time where all of the most annoying things that your spouse does suddenly come into the lime light. You realize that the pretty face they put on for during your dates may not look as pretty when they are sick or waking up early in the morning. You may realize that they do not manage their finances correctly, they like to leave their dirty clothes laying around, they are unorganized, wishy-washy, have tons of bad habits, or just don’t have the same goals in mind for the future, just to name a few. Maybe your in-laws drive you crazy because they have a hard time excepting you or the decisions you make for your new family. You just can’t be sure that there won’t be any surprises because there are always surprises.
God created marriage between a man and a woman to mirror the relationship between God and mankind. Building a relationship with God takes a lifetime and we are always struggling with it, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer…you know the rest. Why would anyone expect our marriages to be any different? In a world cursed by sin, there is a guarantee on your life that says there will be conflict in all relationships to some degree, even in your relationship with God because we are always in a spiritual battle, between good and evil, between our own desires and God’s will for our lives. We cannot seem to fully submit to God, not matter how hard we try. Therefore, it is no surprise that we cannot submit to our spouse in the way that we are commanded to, in order to emulate that relationship that we were supposed to have with God.
Because of the constant spiritual battle we face, marriage will never be easy. We are selfish by nature and we often crave the opportunity to exalt ourselves. However, we were created to put others before ourselves (see Forms of Respect). We are commanded to put our spouse before ourselves. Upon stating your vows, you signed a contract with God stating that you would put your spouse above yourself. You are held accountable for that by God. You are expected to honor that commitment. Knowing this, do you still feel that finding “the one” or you “soul-mate” is the only true key to marriage happiness? Do you really think that marriage is conditionally based on how well your spouse contributes to the marriage success? Marriage is about learning to selflessly love another person and putting yourself behind you. I am not going to lie. The days ahead will be challenging to say the least. I promise that challenges will arise that you did not expect. The question is will you choose to wake up the next morning, look your spouse in the eye, and tell them that you love them more today than you did yesterday, despite their inadequacies? Wouldn’t you want someone to love you that much? Jesus does love you that much and He wants you to love your spouse that much too! If you can learn to love like that, you will not only find happiness, but an unconquerable marriage, even in the face of the most horrible trials.
· What are your future goals and how might they differ from your spouse’s future goals?
· What types of challenges have you encountered with your spouse and how have they impacted the overall view of your marriage?
· Intentionally pick a topic or two that frustrates you about your spouse and discuss it together. Be prepared for anything and try to be open to their suggestions. Be sure to take off the mask and be honest. Warning: This can be extremely challenging for some.
· The next time your spouse makes you angry or you feel that urge to speak out against them, hug them, kiss them, and tell them that you love them instead. Follow it up with an act of kindness.
· The Book of Genesis defines how God sees marriage. Take the time to read Genesis 2.
· Pray for your spouse daily.