Thursday, February 13, 2014

Is a Happy Marriage Possible?

So many of my friends have commented about the ongoing relationship I share with my husband Steve going over 16 years of marriage now but having dated and been friends for almost 19 years. Often times we can see the condition of our own marriage through the eyes of others, especially non believers. Often times we can think things are going along perfectly but when looked at through someone else's eyes the picture is completely different.

While sitting in church last night, the question was raised to husbands what would happen if you were asked to write a list of the things your wife loves the most, what makes her happy. How accurate do you think you'd be?

Then he asked, what if we asked your wife to grade your paper, how well do you think you'd be then?

Most men when challenged probably think they have a pretty good understanding to what makes their wife happy. In fact, it was overheard in a conversation some time ago, that if you want to make your wife happy, agree with her. Let her always be right.

I would have to disagree.

Wives don't want to be right, at least not all the time, and definitely when we are not right. That would be lying right?

So how can you truly find a way to make your marriage last not just exist?

I believe the first step is where our foundations are being built. If your marriage isn't founded on Jesus Christ, good luck in the odds of that working out for you both.

I'd take my chances with God over anything else anyone could ever promise me, including my own husband. You know why?

"Because with God ALL things are possible to those who believe." ~ Mark 9:23. (  Not just some things, ALL things. Who better to keep things together than the Creator who designed and blesses marriages!

God is the one who designed marriage to work and thus the one who will keep it together as long as we are willing to do our part. We can't sit back and expect it to grow without work. It takes a joint effort too, not just one person while the other sits back and enjoys the benefits.

God's Word pretty much helps us understand the work involved and He's pretty clear on what each of us needs to do to make it last.

1. "Husbands are to love their wives like Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such things [that she might be holy and faultless] Even so husbands should love their wives as [being in a sense] their own bodies. He who loves his own wives loves himself. For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and carefully protects and cherishes it, as Christ does the church." ~ (Ephesians 5:25-29 Amplified)

What does this mean? Willing to do whatever it takes to ensure success and growth, even willing to die for her if necessary. It means putting her needs ahead of yours. There is no selfish motives within and he's not working to please her just so he can get brownie points either. It is the unconditional sacrifice of doing, expecting NOTHING in return. If we expect our efforts to be noticed, then our motives are wrong and selfish. Not honoring God in the process. Husbands are asked to go first, because according to God's law they are the leaders of their house, their wives are much more likely to follow suit if they set the example. Again without expecting ANYTHING in return for their efforts. Their hearts have to line up with God's.

2. "Wives are submit to their husbands. (Ephesians 5:33b) "and let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly.]". Amplified Bible.

There's that word submit. Some husbands interpret that to mean to be slave like and that is NOT what the Bible means. It means if the husband is being the spiritual leader in the house, loving his wife like is explained above, what wife wouldn't want to be lead to do things in the same way for her husband? Wives were never meant to be treated like doormats to walked on, stepped on and mistreated. They were meant to be cherished, nurtured and protected as well as loved.

Once these guidelines are willing to be filled by both the husband and wife, establishing a solid Christ foundation as their base, then the marriage will be on solid ground. But the minute one of us falls to the way side, the balance shifts. Think of it like a triangle with God being at the top of the triangle and the husband and wife and the bottom two corners. The more that each work towards their own relationship with God, the closer they each come to one another as they move up the triangle towards God. When one or both falls away from God, they fall further away from one another.

If you are struggling in your own marriage, these might be a great time to examine where you find either yourself or your spouse in relation to that triangle. Are you moving towards God or away from God, if so is it any wonder why the marriage is less than happy or problems are creeping in, conflicts are happening?

The solution is simple. Move back towards your right relationship with God.

There is a reason our marriage has stood the test of time. We both have committed our lives personally and together with God being our center. Without God, we will struggle like everyone else. We may even wonder if marriage is worth it, worth trying to hold on to in this rapidly disposable world where if you don't like things, change them.

I caution you if that is where you find yourself now. GOD CAN change anything and ANYONE, if you are willing to do YOUR part. God can restore marriages! He can restore right relationships! He can work in your life if you are willing to commit your relationship and marriage to God. Even if you are the only one willing, I've seen God restore marriages on the brink of divorce and even bring them back after divorce. But it takes faith and strength to walk the walk.

If you need prayer in this area, or want to talk, please send me an email and I'd be happy to pray for you in any way. I believe marriages can be better than all the fairy tales we've ever read about because I serve a God that created them. 

Oh and just in case your wondering, Yes! That is my official wedding picture from February 9, 1998! I love my husband more now that I did that day and I can't wait to spend an eternity with Jesus and him!


David C Brown said...

I lke the reference, "heirs together of the grace of life", 1 Peter 3: 7.
Enjoying 36 happy years so far!

Sharon said...

My husband and I have been married almost 9 years. And yes, a happy marriage is possible. But, only if the Lord is the other partner in the equation. And if each of the spouses is willing to love the other with the power of God's love within them.

Hope you two had a wonderful Valentine's Day!


Andie said...

Very well said! I am in my second marriage due to my former husband's infidelity and abuse. Mark and I have an amazing marriage, one in which we started out friends first. Having a friendship makes the tough times easier.