The illustration in this blog is a bit comical, but it’s also too often true. It’s the sad place where many spouses find themselves in their marriage commitment. They end up looking in all the wrong places for the solutions they need to get past certain issues that are destroying their relationship. They lose the art of turning TO each other, talking it out, as God would have us. OR it may be that they never learned that important skill in the first place. That would take an added dose of commitment.
Before we marry, we can never imagine that we’d get to this kind of place. I’m talking about the place where we lose the “skill” of talking to each other to settle our differences in ways that leads to a peaceable relationship. We’re so caught up in LOVE and what it means to us at that point in time. Subsequently, we just let our “love” go its natural course. We believe it will just flow into something even more beautiful than it is at the beginning.
That’s what happened to my husband Steve and me. We thought our love was so true, so unlike that of our parents and others, that it would only get better after marriage. But we were wrong… so, so wrong.
Life, and all its busyness eventually found a way to smush in between us when we weren’t paying attention. And since we weren’t doing anything pro-active to grow our love, it gradually dissipated. We didn’t even realize it, until it almost seemed like it was too late. It was kind of like slowly letting air out of a balloon until it’s totally deflated. Eventually, we were just two roommates looking at each other thinking, “Who are you? I’m not even sure I like you, let alone love you.”
A Close Call
We came close to divorcing at that point. That’s something we NEVER thought would happen to us —NOT Steve and Cindy, the “great love story.” Thank God (literally) we finally woke up and started working together to make our marriage a good one. Amazingly, it’s a great one —quite a turn around. And we’re still working on it 44+ years into it. We don’t ever want to take tomorrow for granted, as if it will “naturally” be ours. We don’t want to lose the love we have for each other again. It’s too good to lose.
So how do married couples get to the point of not talking to each other as marital partners for life? What happens is that life has a way of slipping in between us. It ends up separating us in more ways than we ever could imagine possible. That seems to be the “natural course” of things, especially in today’s world. There are so many things and people grabbing and tugging at us for our attention.
Please don’t be so naive to think that this could never happen to you. You have to put actions into place to continue to grow your love. We came close to divorcing and I’d sure hate to have that happen to you. This is something that is preventable. We are now active in growing our marriage, even after 44 plus years. It’s important to never stop growing.
Hopefully, you will be smart enough to be pro-actively intentional about NOT letting that happen in your marriage. Don’t fall prey to the tyranny of the urgent. Don’t fall into the rut of “familiarity” where you take each other for granted and neglect putting the effort into continually growing your love. It won’t happen without being aware of the dangers of neglecting this commitment, and putting the effort into making sure it’s happening.
As Dr Steve Stephens says,
“It’s a sad state of affairs when we take better care of our cars and houses than we do our marriages. We change the oil, fill the tank, and periodically tune up our cars. We change light bulbs, wash windows, paint walls, unplug toilets, and re-roof our houses. But what do we do to maintain our marriage? The truth is: more damage is done than repairs are made. How important is your marriage?”
Please don’t allow yourself to get to the place of marital drift. Don’t stop making the effort to grow your relationship. But if you DO find yourselves stuck in a negative place in your marriage, do something about it. Go to a counselor or someone else who is safe for your marital relationship to help you get “unstuck.” It’s at that point that it’s important to do what it takes to learn what you need to so you CAN talk to each other in healing ways.
First, try to talk to your spouse and THEN reach out, if trying to talk together just isn’t working. Just don’t get stuck too long. The longer you get stuck, the harder it is to pull yourselves up onto a better road in your marital journey together.
When we marry, we enter into a sacred commitment. It’s a covenant relationship with the person we are marrying and with God. Too many couples don’t realize that, or forget it. They get so caught up in living life, and swallowing the shallow teachings of “commitment” as this world defines it that they forget the vows that were exchanged on our wedding day.
I was inspired by something that Bob Gass wrote in his devotional thought in “The Word for You Today”, October 24, 2014. He made the point:
“In the Old Testament times friends entered into a covenant by exchanging a shoe and a sword. The shoe meant, ‘I’ll go to wherever you are and I’ll stand with you.’ The sword meant, ‘I’ll fight for you and lay down my life for you.’ The question is: Are you willing to become that kind of friend?”
The question is, are you willing to become that kind of spouse?
I was thinking about this point. My husband Steve and I have worked with a number of couples before they marry in giving them pre-marital counseling. If they can’t commit to exchanging a shoe symbolizing that they will stand and go wherever their spouse goes, then they shouldn’t marry. It should be a team decision between a husband and wife to be that fully committed to walking together in partnership.
And if they can’t commit to exchanging a sword (especially the “sword of truth” —the Bible), then they shouldn’t enter into the covenant of marriage. They should be not only Bible-believing Christians, but also Bible-LIVING followers of Christ.
To Help You
Here is a link to an article posted on this web site, which give a few scriptures you should live by:
Please know that the principles for loving each other are the principles for living, as laid out for us throughout the Bible. God, whose very name means LOVE, can teach us how to love each other. But we have to take advantage of what the Lord makes available to us. If we don’t we are prone to forget how we REALLY should live together in our marriage. We see that happening all around us. The scripture comes to mind, as we’re told in James 1:22-24:
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.“
Are you committed to do that? Are you willing to live out your marriage relationship, to symbolically exchange a shoe and the Sword (of Truth) with each other? Will you make God your binding partner so you are a “cord of three strands” as we’re told in the Bible? Are you willing to enter into the sacred covenant of marriage, being proactive and intentional in growing your marriage so it reveals and reflects the heart of Christ within your marriage?
But keep in mind that this isn’t just a once for all type of commitment. It’s a day-by-day commitment to live and grow together as a couple as God ordains. If you and your marriage partner will commit to this on your wedding day, or “from this day forward” (if you’re already married), your marriage will be truly blessed. God will take you on a wild ride. It’s one that you will never be sorry for, one that will be wonderful for both of you, and your family. And it will be an inspiration to those who witness your God-kissed love.
Cindy Wright of Marriage Missions International wrote this blog.