From the way we see it, all married couples that enter into marriage have 3 choices before them. (1) We can have a dysfunctional marriage (which we will give you links to below to help you if you find yourself in this place). But for the rest of this Insight we want to focus on our other two choices. (2) We can have an ordinary marriage. Or (3) we can build together an extraordinary marriage.
If we choose number 2 then we’ll settle for what the dictionary calls a marriage “of no special quality or interest; commonplace; unexceptional; plain or undistinguished.” If, on the other hand we work to make our marriage into an extraordinary one, it will “go beyond what is usual, regular, customary, noteworthy, and remarkable.”
Cindy and I started Marriage Missions International 17 years ago with the mission in mind of helping couples to REVEAL AND REFLECT THE HEART OF CHRIST WITHIN MARRIAGE. We believe that is what God wants from all of us so we can indeed have extraordinary marriages. Sadly, most marriages that we see in today’s world fall short of that goal. Couples settle for less than what God would have for them. But at the very least, we can reach for more of what God has for us, and that is our challenge to you.
The Extraordinary Marriage
So, what does it take to take our marriage from ordinary to extraordinary? Our friends Tom and Debi Walter of The Romantic Vineyard give this insight:
“What makes an extraordinary marriage is one where each spouse gives of themselves 100 per cent with a willingness to lay their lives down for the other. Difficult? Oh, yes! Especially during arguments where you KNOW you’re right. Possible? Only by the grace of God at work in both hearts.”
For most couples, dare I say, all couples, this doesn’t come naturally. It certainly hasn’t for me. And Cindy says that it hasn’t come naturally for her either. But it’s something we reach for, and by doing so, we stand amazed at how wonderful marriage can be.
By God’s grace we keep striving to make our marriage extraordinary, rather than just settling for ordinary. It’s something Cindy and I strive to do in marriage partnership together as we look to God to point us in the right direction. And by doing so, we stand amazed at how wonderful marriage can be. If you aren’t there, we pray that for you.
The following is a list that defines an extraordinary marriage. This list comes from Dustin Riechmann from the Engaged Marriage Blog Spot.
This is the Extraordinary Marriage:
• “It’s sacramental, Christ-centered and fully embracing of the Holy Trinity (it IS a Holy Trinity).
• “It serves as a vivid example of God’s love for His people.”
• The extraordinary marriage “takes two people and joins them together with the capacity to do more good than the sum of the individuals.
• “It lets two ordinary people combine their love of one another so powerfully that an entirely new person can be created by God, through them.”
• Additionally, “it’s based on a spirit of trust, open communication and deep mutual respect.
• It includes a lot of problems, difficulties, tough times and hurt feelings. But forgiveness and commitment overcome all obstacles.
• “It doesn’t ‘settle’ for the mediocrity and weakness that our culture says a ‘normal’ marriage should be.
• “An Extraordinary Marriage doesn’t quit.”
If you’re like me you will agree that all of the above are what we want to emulate in marriage. But there always seems to be the, “But I’m not sure I can do this.” I learned over the years that in and of my own strength I couldn’t do these things. Then I learned that it’s okay that “I” can’t do these because when I surrendered my “inabilities” to God He was able to build in me and show me how to do what I needed to in order to be the hero to Cindy. It’s applying the “I can do all things through Christ” principle.
Ordinary People CAN Grow an Extraordinary Marriage
It’s like what pastor Chip Ingram says in his post titled, “God’s Looking for Ordinary People to Do Extraordinary Things” he writes:
“The issue isn’t that God’s power isn’t available to us or we aren’t smart enough or good enough. The issue is summed up in this verse:
“‘For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His…’ (2 Chronicles 16:9 NASB)
“God is looking to birth and fulfill great dreams in ordinary people who are completely committed to Him. He’s looking for people who believe in Him and believe that He is willing.
“Pursuing God’s great dreams for our lives begins when we have the courage and the faith to say to God, ‘I want to dream a great dream because you’re the kind of God who wants that for me.’
“If you long to be great in God’s eyes and make a spiritual impact in His Kingdom, my hope is that you would believe that God wants to use you!”
And then we must look to God and APPLY what He leads us to do. We won’t try to kid you… you won’t be able to build an extraordinary marriage over night. Cindy and I have been married for nearly forty-six years and we learn something new every day. We haven’t “arrived” in all we can do. But our marriage is already extraordinary, and as we keep applying what God teaches us, it just keeps getting better. We pray that for you.
Looking to God from the Place We Find Ourselves
As we look to God He shows us how we can improve and never settle for something that is “of no special quality or interest; commonplace; unexceptional; plain or undistinguished.”
Instead God shows us how to build a marriage that will “go beyond what is usual, regular, or customary; noteworthy; remarkable.” But let me be clear, this isn’t so we would be glorified but that God would always get the credit. He alone deserves the honor and the glory for what others see in our marriage relationship. Without Him, our human depravity blocks their vision of what is “good.”
Our prayer for you is that you would make that choice today and depend on God because you know that He wants that for you and your marriage as well. We have so many articles and resources available to help you. Below there are a few of them to kick start your efforts.
For those of you who are in dysfunctional marriages, we encourage you to look around this web site for a starting place to get to a better place within your marriage, and your life. We realize that you can’t build an extraordinary marriage all by yourself. You can’t get it to even a place where you have an “ordinary marriage.” But wherever you find yourself, there may be additional help for you. Here are a few topics (among many): • SAVE MY MARRIAGE. And then there is: • ABUSE IN MARRIAGE.
It may be that you are you may be living with an Unbelieving Spouse. Or perhaps you are dealing with Infidelity, Depression, Mental Health or Physical Health Issues, etc. Please look through the topics we make available for you to read through. Pray, search, read, glean, and see what God says to you that can help you. We pray God ministers to your heart as you lean upon God in this way.
For those who are Looking to Build an Extraordinary Marriage:
Below are a few articles that can help. And then look for more of what God can show you as you pray, read, glean, and apply what you can:
This web site is filled with more that can help you and us. Look around; see where God leads you. With God’s help we CAN build an extraordinary marriage, to the glory of God, and to our delight!
“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
Steve and Cindy Wright
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Filed under: Grow Your Marriage