17 Dec 2009
Marriage – It requires work, prayer, patience, time. Most importantly marriage requires love and respect.
Let’s face it most of us don’t have a clue about what it takes to have a successful marriage which is evident by the divorce rate including my own. However, there is a big difference between having a marriage that failed in divorce for which you have attempted to learn from as well as stand for by praying for restoration and those who divorce only to remarry which statistics show second and third marriages have a higher divorce rate than first marriages. Meaning very few are willing to learn how to be in a successful marriage.
I vow to not to be a part of that cycle. I married one man and will stand for restoration of that relationship til death, as I promised to him as well as to God.
So what does it take to have a successful marriage?
Love and respect. Really, this concept holds true for any relationship but especially in marriage.
Let’s look at Ephesians 5:22-33 NIV
Wives and Husbands
22Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing[a] her by the washing with water through the word, 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— 30for we are members of his body. 31“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[b] 32This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
How can we go past what the Bible says about how to relate to our spouse? How can good Christian men and women, who committed themselves in marriage to the man or women they love get so messed up? Simple, we live in a broken world and are not focused on Christ.
Without a total and complete focus on our Creator Jesus Christ, on a daily basis women fall very short of properly respecting their husband and men fall very short of properly loving their wife.
We are too selfish. We are too self centered. It isn’t the fault of the husband and it isn’t the fault of the wife. It is the fault of both. Now I don’t want to get into how one spouse cheated or emotionally disconnected while the other spouse was faithful and trying. The bottom line is, if you are two people living in one house each of you have some portion of responsibility of the success and/or failure of the marriage, period.
So what do you do to fix what is broken, or make better what you have?
First, Pray! Without prayer, individually and together as a couple you are setting yourselves up for a problem if not failure. Asking Jesus Christ into your marriage on a daily basis is a must. Are there some successful marriage that don’t have Christ as the foundation? Well, I believe there marriages that continue to exist without Christ, but doubt they are successful, meaning are they are filled with love & respect for each other and treat each other as such? Without Christ there is something missing.
Second, marriage takes work, you must first commit to work on the relationship together. One person can’t keep the marriage a float, it takes two. Work isn’t just physical labor of maintaining the household such as taking out the trash, mowing the lawn or doing the laundry. Work includes a conscience effort to make quality time with your spouse. Open communication is part of work. Can you share anything with your spouse without fear of being ridiculed or having them “roll their eyes” at you? You must have total trust in that person to do that. Trust is built on open, transparent communication and actions.
You must be able to know that your spouse is trustworthy. Be open and honest with each other. As noted above, there may be some marriages that survive without Christ as a foundation but many times in those marriages there is a level of deception. Once spouse is hiding something from the other. Maybe it is a financial issue, maybe they are talking to a person of the opposite sex or surfing undesirable sites on the internet. Bottom line if there is deception in a marriage there is a level of dis-trust and that is like an infection that festers for a lifetime.
This circles us right back around to Love & Respect. With Christ as your foundation, and daily prayer there will be a natural desire to show Love & Respect to your spouse which will make it easier to work on the relationship and in turn create an environment of total transparency and openness.
I know that is what God intends for us in a marriage a relationship, it should be a little heaven on earth.
On a closing note, I highly recommend the book “Love & Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs as it goes into detail about how to truly love and respect your spouse. It is a wonderful read for both men and women and something that can be done together to bring you both closer together.