Everyone who is married is writing a marriage story. Have you ever thought about that? It’s true; it’s one that you live, and others read (whether you have ever realized it or not).
Haven’t you ever been with a couple and thought to yourself, “I would love to have a marriage like theirs?” It’s a joy and privilege to be with them. Or perhaps you’ve thought, “I would never want to have a marriage like theirs.” Sometimes you want to just walk away and wipe the dust off your feet.
Yes, we’ve experienced and thought those same things. That’s because all around us couples are living out their personal marriage stories and everyone is reading them and is affected by them—either negatively or positively.
But aren’t we doing the same thing in the ways we live out our love stories?
The Marriage Story
Vance K. Jackson clarifies it this way:
“Whether you’re still dating or have been married for decades, you are in a story. In particular, you’re in your marriage story. That may seem like a strange idea. But our lives are, in fact, a ‘text.’ God is referred to as the author of your life.
‘And you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.‘ (Acts 3:15 ESV)
Paul refers to life as a ‘letter…written on our hearts.‘
‘You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.‘ (2 Corinthians 3:2-3 ESV) (From “Building a Strong Marriage”)
But there’s question we want you to consider. “Is your letter—your marriage story, a good read or one that pushes others away?”
In a past marriage blog, we told of two couples who didn’t realize their marriages were on display. One marriage inspired and warmed the hearts of others. The other marriage tarnished the views of others causing them to question why anyone would want to get married or live like that.
How we hope, if you are married or are marrying, you’re working (for the rest of your life together) on having a marriage like the first couple, which is loving and healthy to its core. There’s no doubt that this is God’s will and mission for you and for us.
Sad Marriage Story
Sadly, tragically, many aren’t taking this mission seriously enough. Several years ago, a comment was posted on the Marriage Missions web site that tore at our hearts. We can only imagine how much this breaks God’s heart. Here’s a portion of what he wrote:
“From what I have seen (and heard from religious and non-religious marriage therapists) throughout my career as a Solicitor in AUSTRALIA, religious couples from all faiths still hold the HIGHEST rate of divorce in this country. I had 150 cases last year. And at least 112 of them were religiously based divorces.
“…My profession doesn’t lie. And none of you are immune to the divorce statistics for this country. Question that and ask yourself ‘why is it Christians and Catholics are 10 times more likely to get divorced than someone who is agnostic and atheist?'”
This is a powerful question we should all take to heart! It should never have to be raised if we, as “followers of Christ” truly understood what God wants from us. Our marriages should be ones that God can use to draw others to Himself. But too many spouses are prostituting this sacred responsibility.
Grievous Marriage Story Situations
While we don’t agree with what this person gave as the reason and the answer (we’re not even going to go into it here), we do agree that this is indeed a grievous situation.
One reason this happens is because those who are just “religious” —who don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, are walking upon a shifting sand foundation. (See: Matthew 7:24-27.) They create God within their minds into the image they believe He should be like, even if it doesn’t fit with who He really is. And as a result, they behave in ways that THEY see fit. They ignore what God says. Thus, their marriage relationship is built upon shifting sand because the Rock of Jesus Christ is not the foundation of their marriage relationship.
And then there are those who DO have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, who just don’t get it. They don’t fully comprehend the sacred vow they gave. And they don’t take their marriage relationship as seriously as they should. They don’t comprehend the negative marriage story they are living every day both behind closed doors as well as out in public. This affects them and it affects everyone they encounter.
Good Marriage Story Situations
Thankfully, there are some who do “get it.” Thank you, Lord! We are SO grateful to witness this! And we pray more and more spouses will make changes, so they also reveal and reflect the heart of Christ in every aspect of their lives—ESPECIALLY in their marriages. Marriage is a living testimony of Christ’s love for the church. So those who enter into this covenant need to take it seriously. God does! And so should we!
So, what “marriage story” are you living and writing for your spouse and others to read? As we said before, we’re all writing a marriage story; so, what is yours?
Your Personal Marriage Story
It’s one thing to “fall” into love and start out with loving momentum and great goals. But it’s another to keep that marriage love story alive, positive, and vital. It’s “easy to become sidetracked by things that have nothing to do with loving each other.” We’ve been there in the past and have lived out that toxic existence in our own marriage. And we continually pray we never allow ourselves to fall into that trap again. We also pray we can inspire and help others to stay out of, or get out of that trap, as well.
May this be a wake-up call to everyone for how easily love can slip away! Because it can! Look around; you can see this happening everywhere throughout the world.
Concerning this issue, Norman Wright wrote the following in his book, “One Marriage Under God” concerning the marriage story we are living out and writing. He also points to the Guidebook.
“As changes occur in your lives, it is your challenge as a married couple to use the Bible to draw yourselves closer together rather than allow them to tear you apart. Throughout your married life you will suffer losses—some small, some large, some even devastating. You may have to endure miscarriages, stillbirths, job or career losses, illnesses, accidents, and any other of literally hundreds of setbacks. How you respond to each will affect your marriage relationship. It will also affect the story your marriage tells.”
That’s so true!
Jill Savage brings out an additional important point about this issue concerning marriage. She challenges spouses to, “Keep the health of your marriage relationship a priority.” Those simple words are true, but most of us know that they aren’t easy to live out day in and day out, month after month, year after year.
To do so, Jill wrote:
“We have to keep evaluating and changing our strategies for keeping our marriage a priority. As our life changes and our children grow older, we have to adjust. Investing in our marriage is hard work. It takes time, effort, and tenacity. Too often we want to say, ‘This just isn’t worth it.’ However, it’s ALWAYS worth it.”
Yes, it’s worth it to our children and it’s worth it to those around us who witness our love! We need more marriage heroes to live out God’s principles no matter what life throws at us. Life continually changes but our mission should always be to find ways to show God’s love in and through us.
As you are writing your marriage story, here’s something America’s Family Coaches suggest, and we totally agree (that is if you want to write a marriage story that makes a positive difference):
“At some point you must draw a line in the sand. In so many words, proclaim to God and to each other, ‘We are committed to building a Christian marriage and family. Divorce is not an option. We will have nothing of the world’s approach to marriage. We are committed to keep our love fresh, new, and growing—for the sake of our marriage, for the sake of our children, and for the cause of Jesus Christ. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.’ In the way you talk to each other—today and every day, you affirm the fact that you would choose each other all over again. You say to each other, by words and actions, ‘You are my one and only.'”
Yes! Yes! Yes! We also agree with something Mike and Debbie Breaux wrote in their article, The Real Thing.
“Jesus said in essence, ‘you want to know what life is about? Let me boil it down to two simple things: Love God; love people.’ That’s what marriage is about.
“In fact, the apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 14: ‘Let love be your highest goal.‘ He writes again in Galatians 5:6, ‘The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.‘ If that’s the only thing that matters, then we want to spend our life learning to love God and each other.”
May this be our everyday mission! May we love each other well! And may we continue to grow our love story into one that reveals and reflects the love of Christ in every way!
Cindy and 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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