Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Marriage Tips for the First Decade: Take off the Mask (Mask #8)

Mask #8: Marriage issues should always stay private.

Scripture to consider: “Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 11:14, NASB)

The General Reality: It is important to understand that there really is no supporting Scripture that states that all issues in a marriage should be kept private from those outside the family structure nor is there Scripture to support that families should be wide open.  Before moving forward with this, it is also important to mention that there is supporting Scripture to say that the couple themselves should have no secrets from each other (Genesis 2:24).  To become one flesh is to be in complete unity with one another.  This diminishes all room for secrecy within the marriage covenant.  Looking from the family outward, many issues within a marriage are best kept private, but there are some benefits to sharing both marital problems and successes with others.

Married Couple

Based on observation, I find that there are many married couples that believe 100% privacy is completely necessary.  Others will share their life story to the point of exhaustion at the expense of the listener.  Many fall somewhere in between.  How can we achieve a healthy balance?  How can focusing on this balance potentially improve your marriage?  Here are just a few potential benefits that can be gained by sharing marital issues with others:
·         Accountability
·         Healthy friendships
·         Families working towards a common goal together
·         Fresh perspectives on achieving a healthier marriage
·         A shoulder to cry on when “the going gets tough” (a.k.a. “venting”)
·         A strong family support system
·         Lessons for others to learn from
·         United families can be a great resource for families in need
However, marriage issues should not be brought to just anyone.  If you are going to seek help, you should always seek help from either a professional or someone who already has a healthy marriage.  Notice that I didn’t say a “perfect” marriage because there is no such thing, no matter how much you think it might be true.  Ultimately, someone (preferably a Christian) who has been married for a while and has applied godly principles to their marriage would be the best person to seek counsel from. 
I would love to hear that you have sought the best Counselor that I know, Jesus Christ.  If you wish to do that, I recommend that you get down on your knees right now and ask Him to forgive your sins, thank Him for saving you, and ask Him to take over your life.  Ask Him to show you how your marriage should look and start letting Him answer you by reading His Word (the Bible).  There is no counselor in this world greater than He, I promise.  You will have to start down that journey to understand.
Marriage is without a doubt a difficult relationship to maintain.  It is hard with God’s help and even harder without God’s help.  We must not forget that our God created the concept of “relationships” and He did so for a reason.  God has revealed throughout Scripture that He is also relational.  He weeps for us, He rejoices with us, He feels our sorrow, He cheers for us, He supports us, He wants to hear about our problems, and He provides for us.  He experiences all of the things we seek in relationships with others. 
The marriage relationship is supposed to be the best human example of what God’s relationship is like with men.  When one family functions according to God’s design, the relational aspect of the family should extend beyond the walls of their home as well, with little effort.  Additionally, when a family decides to reach out, they should be accountable for what they do, able to establish healthy relationships, have support when needed, and learn from others’ mistakes and successes.  Sharing with others establishes a connection and opens the door to gaining good resources for a healthy marriage and a united effort to reach out to the world for God’s glory.

Conversation Starters

·         Have you ever shared your marriage experience with others?  How did it work out?

·         Can you think of a time where you went to God to fix your marriage and He did?

Things to Try

·         After asking Jesus to take over your life, begin praying every night or as much as you feel you can with your spouse.

·         Do you know anyone with a healthy Christian marriage? Try asking them about what a healthy marriage should look like.  You don’t even have to share anything about yours.  Just listen.

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