Type in the above series title, search the internet and you will find many articles that lament that marriage is not what it’s cracked up to be, but you will be hard pressed to find one that agrees that marriage is more than they ever thought it could be. How sad is that, but for many married couples, the honeymoon is over and a strong sense of unfulfilling reality has taken root. The person they dated bears very little resemblance to the person they married. What now?
Well, here is the deal. They married someone with the expectation that their new marriage partner would make their life wonderful, glamorous, and totally fulfilling, (add another half dozen adjectives) but so far it hasn’t happened. The disappointments are real and the questions are many, questions such as, ” What happened to the person I dated?” “Did I marry the wrong person? and even worse, “Is divorce the answer?” If you have entertained such thoughts, or even if you are still dealing with these kind of thoughts, you are not alone, but there is a reason that God’s Word reminds us, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood” (Eph. 6:12). Most Christians lose their battles and marriages because they try and correct what they perceive as wrong in the flesh. It won’t work because the flesh is incapable of correcting flesh. The battle must be won in the Spirit and with the Word. Without question, the reasons for a troubled marriage can appear to be multiple, complicated and complex, but in reality it is twofold and simple. Let’s take a look at a couple of truths and see what our Counselor Dr. Jesus has to say. For starters:
# 1- Jesus is the only one who can bring fulfillment to any marriage.
# 2- Most husbands and wives love themselves more than the person they married.
Granted, there are many different scenarios that can be added to any given situation, but going forward, let’s continue to stay locked into the two statements already presented. Next, let’s change this from they to you, from impersonal to personal. Now, let’s move forward with an open heart and receive God’s prescription for marital healing and fulfillment.
# 1. When Jesus becomes the most important person in your life, you will begin seeing your marriage partner as He sees them. Jesus sees all of their flaws and all of their negatives just as you do, but He doesn’t dwell on their negatives, He dwells on their positives. Taking the Jesus approach will allow the Holy Spirit to do what you can’t do and the results will be amazing! When the reality finally sinks in that you can not change your mate great progress is being made. You can be a tremendous influence, but you can’t change them. The only person you can change is yourself, and you cnly do that with the help of the Holy Spirit.
#2- Stop and reflect on the marriage vows you took before God, family, and friends, but most especially, the person you married.. Most likely, your pastor read words from 1 Cor. 13, famously known in Christian circles as the Love Chapter. You probably heard him say and perhaps even repeated after him that love is not irritable and keeps no record of being wronged. You made a vow that you would be patient and kind and keep no record of being wronged, but the real truth is that most husbands ands wives keep a running record of their partner’s wrongs. Vows made in the flesh are never easy to keep, but the task becomes much easier when the love of Christ begins to take preeminence in you. That will never happen by trying to keep a set of rules and regulations. It happens by spending time in His Word and prayer and allowing God to change you from the inside out. As your heart is softened and cleansed, an absolutely amazing thing will begin taking place. Your mates faults and bad habits will no longer have the power to trigger your negative emotions. In fact, their short comings become the very reason that you love them all the more. As a serendipity, you will also discover that your mate feels the same way about you. Let’s get real! What does it matter if the top is left off the toothpaste, or clothes are left in the floor, etc.? If it truly bothers you then put the cap back on the toothpaste and put their clothes up off the floor. Opposites attract for a reason and remember, “Love covers a multitude of sins” ( 1 Peter 4:8).
Here is what does matter, the Law of sowing and reaping. Like it or not, every word spoken and every deed done in the flesh is subject to the Law of Sowing and Reaping. “As we sow we shall also reap” (Gal. 6:7). When we sow Christ like love unconditional love will be returned. When we sow forgiveness, we will walk free of condemnation. When we sow grace instead of Law our marriage will abound in happiness and joy! When we sow mercy, peace and laughter will fill our home. When we begin doing things God’s way we will find ourselves madly in love with the person we married. They will constantly be in our thoughts, our heart, our mind and our soul and in the same way, you will be in theirs. Christ has paid the price to make sure that your live a blessed and joyous marriage. Don’t delay, it is time to cash in on the finished work of Christ. Stop living your life in the flesh! Begin speaking what you desire and not what you see. Apply the Word to every situation and having done all, STAND! Sooner than you could imagine, your “Marriage Will Be More Than It Is Cracked UP To Be!”
Next Friday, we will conclude our marriage series with “Maxing Your Marriage!” If this series has been helpful to you, invite others to our website who may be going through marriage difficulties or just as importantly, those who already enjoy great marriages. Questions and prayer request are always welcome. We believe in miracles! In Christ, Don & Penny Griffin