More couples than not seem to approach marriage with FANTASY EYESIGHT. They believe that their love is so unique and different from other couples that their love will just continue to grow deeper as time goes on. They might even acknowledge that they will encounter “bumps” along the road of life. But they believe that “at least they will be able to ride over them together, rather than alone” after they marry. They don’t realize that growing a good marriage takes hard work.
YEP! We’ve been there and believed that one too! And what a slippery slope of fantasy we found we had embraced, after we woke up to reality! We then tried to figure out what to do to save our marriage, before it died from the fall! We thank God that He led us to be “STUBBORNLY MARRIED.” That has helped us so we could survive and build our marriage into a good one. But it hasn’t come easily (and still doesn’t at times). A good marriage takes hard work!
Maintenance is Required
Lets face it, whatever you don’t maintain usually falls apart! That’s true in marriage, just as it is in other areas of life. Try filling your car with gas one time. And then keep driving it “from this day forward” without doing anything else to maintain it. See how far you go. Try fixing up your house and then let it go. Then see how great a place it is to live in over the next 50 years or so. How about letting your garden grow itself without putting in any work to maintain it? How well do you think it would do without putting in some work to help it to grow?
Try feeding and clothing your children in the beginning of their lives, say a year or two. And then let them fend for themselves after that while you sit around and watch TV and “do your own thing.” See how well they do with that maintenance record! Would they thrive? No. So why do any of us think it will work if we apply the same principle to marriage? If you ignore it, it will break down, crumble, starve and eventually collapse. It will also injure you and many others in the process.
Marriage is an explorative journey. It’s one where a man and woman live in sacred partnership for a lifetime. They are to help each other become all God created them to be —both as individuals and as a couple. They are also supposed to be united in purpose by God, as a “cord of three strands.” When we don’t realize that mission or we ignore the hard work it takes to live this out, we fall short of having a marriage like the Bridegroom and Bride of Christ —united, as God would have us!
Sacred Union of Marriage
Marriage is a sacred union, a journey, and a mission that isn’t to be entered into by those who want to cling to selfism. A good marriage requires individuals who will do the hard work it takes to unite the in partnership “from this day forward.”
“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?” (Amos 3:3) In marriage, we are to agree together with God to walk united in His purpose. We won’t always think alike, but we can work to think TOGETHER.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend [or spouse] can help him up… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (See: Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.) If you are fighting against each other, today is the day to join hands for a NEW BEGINNING, united together with God.
We’re told in God’s Word:
“’Haven’t you read,’ [Jesus] replied, ‘that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.’” (Matthew 19:4-7)
Please understand that you can separate each other in your attitudes as well as physically.
If this is what you are doing, ask God to show you HOW to join together —despite the problems you are now experiencing. The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” And so do a lot of marriages! Pray for a new vision. Pray for eyes that help you to see each other and your marriage as God sees each of you and your marriage. God can make all things new, and that includes resurrecting dead feelings, restoring sight to the emotionally blind, and healing the emotionally sick. God can create that which is “good” out of nothing. If He created the heavens and the earth, He certainly is capable of doing His creation work within each of you.
If you married someone you shouldn’t have or you have been disobedient as God’s child in how you have conducted yourself in your marriage, then look to God. His grace is amazing! He can “make your paths straight” if you “trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean no on your own understanding” and “in all your ways acknowledge Him.” (See: Proverbs 3:5-6.) He is there for all who seek Him —all who are eager to learn His ways.
God’s Word tells us:
“The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.” (Psalm 145:13-19)
Put in the Hard Work That is Needed
Become STUBBORNLY MARRIED —be tenacious in staying together. Pray together (if your spouse will participate… if not, pray alone). Ask God for wisdom in learning what you need to overcome the relationship obstacles before you in your marriage.
Marriage is a vehicle you take on your journey with God through your life this side of heaven. Please do what you can to maintain that vehicle so it is in the best condition that is possible.
And as you do that, not only will the journey be more fulfilling for you, you may find others who will want to know your God better as they are curious about “how you do it” —how you live your life in this way. You will be “communicating the gospel with and without words” in how you live your life as a living testimony within your marriage —pointing them to the empowerment one can experience through a personal and on-going relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
We hope you will —to make it your goal to “reveal the heart of Christ” within your marriage. In doing so, we are confident that more will seek Him and come to know Him in a personal way!
Cindy and Steve Wright
More from Marriage Missions
Filed under: Marriage Messages
One response to “Marriage Is Hard Work – MM #61”
I’ve loved your emails for the past 5 yrs! This week’s made me think of the phrase “explosive marriage” if you ever want to use it. I can’t remember if it was Charlie Shedd or someone else (I think I may have read it in one of Norman Wright’s early books on communication) who made the analogy to 2 rivers coming together where there is turbulence then gentle flowing downstream.
We are in our mid 70’s and I keep thinking we’re having so much fun just in the simple day to day living together that’s it’s too bad we didn’t start out here! Much growth had to take places, though, but we really learned through our crises and with God in the equation keep working on the relationship.