Orchestra or band music can be so enjoyable and inspiring when it’s done well! And the same goes for marriage—when it’s lived out well. But those who make beautiful music must learn how to do it well. If they don’t, they can be like “clanging cymbals” that only sound like a lot of noise. It’s anything but enjoyable for anyone!
Yes, God can “play music even through dented and damaged instruments” (which gives hope to those of us who feel dented) but they must be fully yielded to His influence. It’s like following an orchestra leader. If not, that clanging cymbal thing comes into play. We can’t go off and do things our own way. That’s not how any of this works well.
Good orchestras and bands have to put a lot of work into it to make beautiful music together. It doesn’t just happen. Time, learning and also applying important skills, plus, pulling differences together are involved. None of us would ever question that (unless we’re totally naïve).
So, why do we think that we can “make beautiful music” together as a married couple without applying the same principle?
Is Marriage Like an Orchestra?
We’ve been married for over 51 years. And we can tell you oh so well that there have been times when we’ve made anything but beautiful music together. We’ve had our great times; but we’ve also had our dysfunctional “clanging cymbals” times too.
To get to better relationship places, we’ve had to learn (and apply) a lot of important harmonizing principles to our interactions with each other. And that hasn’t been easy! Thanks be to God though; we’ve kept at it. But it has taken a lot of tenacity, intentionality, and following the Lord’s guidance.
Thankfully, we’re both committed to marry our differences and build a good life together. We’ve done this not only for our sakes, but to glorify God above all. That is our eternal commitment. We each do what we are supposed to do as God orchestrates, and He makes it come out to something good and inspirational, as well.
The Orchestra of Marriage
On this note (pun intended—albeit a weird one), the following is something that Gary and Carrie Oliver said about marriage being like an orchestra. (Also note that the same principles can be applied to a musical band.)
“The real beauty of an orchestra comes as we learn to blend the music of our instruments in ways that create harmony. The beauty of a relationship shows when we learn to blend the music of two personalities to create relational harmony.
“God wants to use our differences to conform us to the image of His Son or, as Proverbs puts it, to ‘sharpen’ one another (27:17). What do you get when iron rubs against iron? Heat. Sparks fly. But if the pieces are rubbed in the right way, they inevitably sharpen each other and they become more useful.
Marriage can sharpen us
“Marriage is the most significant relationship that God will use to refine, shape, and sharpen us in the process of becoming more like Himself. This process of rubbing lives together day after day, month after month, year after year becomes God’s change agent. It’s His refining tool to make us better people. It rubs off the rough edges of our personalities, to help us understand our own emotions and when we can and can’t trust them, to give us understanding hearts, to teach us acceptance, to help us change.
“This change will occur if we choose to learn from each other. But if we remain rigid, we will thwart one of the great purposes of marriage. Churches are not destroyed by differences.
“Families are not destroyed by differences. And marriages are not destroyed by differences. They are destroyed by the immature, irresponsible, and unhealthy ways we choose to respond to those differences. They are destroyed by our inability or unwillingness to take them to God and allow Him to use them for His glory.” (From Gary and Carrie Oliver’s book, “Mad About Us”)
We realize that what they wrote is a lot to take in and figure out how to apply it to your marriage. But it’s profound enough that we hope you will reread it and figure out what your part is in your marriage that God would like to use to make something beautiful.
The Marital Orchestra Works on its Sour Notes
Keep in mind that an orchestra has it’s “together” working and playing times; but each musician also works on their own “sour note” issues individually, as well. This way when they come together to practice and play their music, they have worked out some of their sour notes ahead of time.
In a marriage this can include being kinder, gentler, more loving and respectful—to name a few. Just look in the Bible and you will know what you should work on as an individual. (We all have different issues that trigger us into acting out in ungodly, “sour note” actions. Just because our spouse does what he/she shouldn’t doesn’t mean that we are justified to do what is wrong. We must work on our own stuff, trusting God to help our spouse to work on theirs.)
The main goal is to find ways to bring harmony into our interactions with each other and glorify the Lord. So, we work on our own issues, but additionally:
“A couple must work together to synchronize their roles as wife and husband. As you strive together with love, you will find harmony. Without harmony, you will be like two cymbals clanging.” (Pat Strawbridge)
A Call to Action
So, here’s your call to action. Pray, asking the Lord what you are to work on to make you a better spouse. And ask God to show you how (and when) to approach your spouse so you can talk about how you can better harmonize your relationship. What can you work on together to improve your marital relationship?
Keep in mind:
“In a marriage, husbands and wives are on the same team [or in the same orchestra or musical band]. They are two people who have chosen to be joined together as one. Unity doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything or have all the same preferences, likes, and dislikes; instead, it means sticking together in spite of your differences. It’s a conscious decision to work together to reach consensus, compromising when necessary as you make decisions together, both big and small.” (Drs Les & Leslie Parrott)
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:14 NIV)
Cindy & Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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