This Marriage Message is going to be a bit different from our “usual” ones we compose. Instead, we are going to share with you several quotes concerning marriage realities that come from a book that Jimmy Evans wrote, titled, Our Secret Paradise.
Some will be shorter quotes and others will be longer segments he has written. We pray that what is written below will minister to you —whether it’s for you or for someone else that you know that you will share with him or her. May the Holy Spirit —our “Wonderful Counselor” minister to us all!
Concerning Marriage Realities Jimmy Evans writes:
• “The fundamental reason for divorce isn’t money, sex or communication. It’s disappointment. It’s ‘I wanted something better –but I got you.’ Like C.S. Lewis’s Wormwood, the devil sits there whispering, ‘that’s exactly right. You picked door number 2! The person behind door number 3 would have been so much better. They wouldn’t have all these problems and hang ups.”
That is an interesting point to think about.
Here’s another one to prayerfully consider:
• “In the first three years of our marriage, Karen and I were both swamped by disappointment. For me, those early years were pretty much God bursting one unrealistic expectation and false assumption after another.
“Most of us bring multiple layers of false expectations to our wedding day. We carry into our relationships Hollywood-painted fantasies of bliss and dreams of living happily ever after. When those expectations invariably prove to be fiction, we often find ourselves standing knee-deep in the shattered remnants of our dreams. Perhaps you’ve stood in that lonely, desolate spot.
“This vulnerable moment is often the cue the devil has been waiting for to come in and tell us that we’ve made a mistake. The enemy tells us we’ve married the wrong person or that our true soul mate was the one behind door number 3. He’ll whisper that we have to get out of this relationship. Or the thought is conveyed that we’ll be trapped in misery for the rest of our life!
“This is why it is so crucial for us to understand that in order to be married successfully, we must approach the relationship with the right set of expectations. When we do, our chances for success increase enormously. If we don’t, we may not be destined to fail, but we will certainly be destined for disappointment.”
Additional Marriage Realities to Consider:
• “The way into health is to do the opposite of our natural tendencies. No matter how much effort we put into making the courtship, wedding and honeymoon just right, we are all going to wake up one day and see some things in our mate that we never expected to find. These needs and deficiencies can be shocking. When that stunning revelation comes, our natural tendency will be to stay perpetually alarmed over the deficiencies of our spouse. At the same time, we are totally preoccupied with our own hurts.”
But that isn’t the way to heal our marriage. Jimmy goes on to write:
“We can begin the healing process the first day we get married. All we have to do is refuse to accuse and attack each other from the outset. Instead, we need to look at our spouse’s problems and say, ‘you know something, I see that you’re damaged, but God has given me the privilege of loving you into health and wholeness!”
• “There are two basic marriage realities that we must confront. First, we all have hurts from our past, quirks in our personalities, and ignorance concerning the opposite sex. We’re all ailing and damaged. There are no exceptions. Second, when we enter into it properly, marriage is a healing journey.”
• “When we find someone that we think could be a good prospect, we suddenly turn into the greatest salesperson in the world! We think that the right way to win the attention and commitment of a potential mate is by showing off all of our good points. We minimize the bad ones, and —at all costs —hide the worst ones.
“Then we glamorize the wedding ceremony as if it were something out of a fairy tale. After all, if the ceremony is beautiful enough, it will neutralize any post-honeymoon problems, right? Wrong!” Is this really good preparation for marriage? For that matter, is it good preparation for any type of meaningful relationship?”
Among the Marriage Realities that We Must Face, Here’s an Important One:
• “Marriage is a complex and important relationship that encompasses every area of life. Yet despite this fact, most couples get married with little or no preparation. They expect to succeed without ever having read a book on marriage or having attended a seminar —without ever having sought out any information at all. They give their marriage far less preparation than they would give any other life-changing event. I suspect most married people spend more hours on computer training than they do on developing their marriage and family skills.”
“This is not to say that most people totally dismiss the possibility that their future spouses will have needs and issues that they will need to be fixed or healed. But instead of preparing for their part in that healing process, they expect the ‘magic’ of the wedding to fix whatever is wrong. And that’s a prescription for disappointment.”
Prayerfully Consider this Point:
• “Without exception, the husbands and wives who discover paradise in their marriages are the ones who have a willingness to be healers to their spouses and who allow their spouses to be healers to them. They are the ones who discover that they have been given in marriage to each other as part of the healing process that all people need.”
I wish we could share more, but perhaps you can learn more by going to Jimmy’s web site at Marriagetoday.com. Also, two videos we feature this week, with Jimmy Evans are, Fig Leaf Conspiracy and A Real Marriage.
In Closing, Concerning Marriage Realities:
We’d like to share one additional quote on marriage because it seems appropriate. It’s something that my husband Steve and I have found to be true. It’s written by Bill and Lynn Hybels (from their book, Fit to be Tied):
“Marriage can be wonderful. It can be deeply satisfying and mutually fulfilling. But if it becomes that, it is because both partners have paid a very high price over many years to make it that way. They will have died to selfishness a thousand times. They will have had countless difficult conversations. These spouses will have endured sleepless nights and strained days. They will have prayed hundreds of prayers for wisdom and patience and courage and understanding. They will have said, ‘I’m sorry’ too many times to remember. And they will have been stretched to the breaking point often enough to have learned that, unless Christ is at the center of both their lives, the odds for achieving marital satisfaction are very, very low.”
Whether you have a spouse who will live this type of commitment in marriage with you or not, we encourage you to “be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2).
May the love of God inspire you,
Cindy and Steve Wright
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