Wednesday, September 14, 2011

If it's broken, fix it.

A friend of mine recently contacted me seeking advice to share with a woman she knew who was having trouble in paradise.  My friend is not married, so she was wanted the perspective of someone who'd traveled down the road of marriage.

Here was the problem: Wife and husband were blessed two years ago with a child.  Child seems to be stealing mom's precious evenings with dad, and mom is feeling worn down, cranky and distant from her husband.

Here was what God has so abundantly given me in my seven years of marriage:
Sometimes it's best just to have a sit-down with your pastor because if only one partner sees the problem, it could be dangerous for their marriage, creating tension and resentment.

Voddie Baucham addressed the issue at our homeschooling conference, it's like an infectious disease in our country and homes. Many women (for any number of reasons) replace their relationship with their husbands with other things be it home, children or homeschooling (as he was talking about at the conference). We grow weary of putting our husband first after "the day we've had." But nothing is more important to kids than two parents in an enriching, loving and growing marriage ... the rest can wait, really.

Either way, pride and selfishness certainly can not have a place in seeking help. I think we've done a pretty poor job properly preparing people for the hardship of marriage, we pretend it's all roses and champagne, but it's tough even when it's going well. It's work, non-stop work, and it's very evident when you choose to stop working at it because everything in your life will suffer.

It's important to come to a place where it's not seeking someone to take your side but simply someone to say, "This is broken, and it needs fixed." The best marriage enrichment session will start with the question, "Why did you fall in love with your spouse?" You always have to go back to that question.

If anyone ever tells you, "Marriage is easy," they are flat out lying to your face or have never been married.  It's no wonder God asked us to make covenants (not merely commitments) to our spouse.  Those vows we took weren't just words, folks, they were a serious peak into what would lay ahead.  Gary Thomas' book Sacred Marriage suggests that the entire intention behind marriage to is sanctify us and draw us closer to God by putting us in a one-on-one relationship that would strip us of self and always put the other person first ... sounds about right considering God compares marriage to His own Son (the Bridegroom) and the Church (the Bride of Christ)! 

It's not easy, even when it is, and if we grow lazy in our diligence to serving/loving/respecting our spouse then our {emotional} love will fade, and we will have to work twice as hard to make life work resting solely on our {mental} covenant to our spouse.  Sometimes that {mental} covenant will sustain us through a rough season, but do not fool yourself into thinking your {emotional} love doesn't need kindled and kept.  God was specific when He designed us and when He designed marriage; you need both.

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