I cannot imagine a marriage without God at the center because I know how much both I and my wife have turned to Him over the years to solve problems that we could not resolve between the two of us. There were even times when I had hard feelings toward my precious wife, but I knew in my heart that I was wrong and did not want to hold on to those feelings. Much of it was emotional baggage which I had carried from my childhood. If I were a more worldly man, I might have done the ignorant thing and focused my anger from my unresolved emotional wounds on my wife. But I desired above all things to do what was right in God's eyes. Unfortunately, sometimes you cannot make your heart do what your spirit tells you is right. There were many such times in which I turned to God and asked Him to change my heart and to heal me of my emotional wounds so that I could let go and forgive and renew my fellowship, friendship, and love with my wife, and He answered every single time. I probably wounded her many times, just as I imagined that she had wounded me. We just cannot get through this life and our most important relationships successfully without God.
Marriage cannot be a selfish endeavor. And it cannot be based on quid pro quo, focused only on what the other person “owes” you. In God’s perfect plan, people marry for the right reasons and are “equally yoked” at the beginning of the marriage, sharing a common spiritual state, worldview, life goals, and various interests. However, if you were not that compatible in the beginning, there is always hope with God. Moreover, with love and commitment to the marriage, you can both overcome most things. Remember that “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). If love is at the center and is the purpose in all things that you do within the marriage, you will find a way to work things out, especially if you seek God’s help when trials enter your marriage. Humility, submission, and even humor are essential in the marriage as well. We should be seeking to serve our spouses in love to keep our marriages sound. Unfortunately, too many of us seek selfish fulfillment of all our needs by the other, even needs that can only be fulfilled by God. We look to our spouse to make us happy, fulfill us, and give us peace in our hearts, but only a relationship with God can give us those things. When we lean on our spouses in this way, unfairly putting all of our hopes in this other person, essentially making them our god, we eventually end up dissatisfied and begin blaming our spouse for all of our problems. It is not surprising that such marriages lead to regular conflict an often end in divorce.
Another dysfunctional behavior which is prevalent in many of our marriages is the power struggle between husband and wife. In many marriages, the husband and wife are not equal partners, respecting and cherishing each other, helping each other, and bearing each other’s burdens. They don’t even seem to be on the same team as they should be, but rather, they are on competing teams, struggling over issues with children, money, etc. But this marital conflict has a genesis, a starting place where it can be controlled or even killed. So much of our behavior begins with our thinking. That is why we are admonished in 2 Corinthians 10:5, to bring “every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” When we allow ourselves to think of our spouse in negative terms and we dwell on those thoughts, it is not surprising that we end up dissatisfied with our spouse. It is sort of a “self-fulfilling prophesy” in which we view our spouse in the most negative light through the distorted lens of our sin-stained mind. We need God’s help to see truth, to see our spouses as they really are. Our spouses, just like us, are imperfect creatures, prone to sin, but possessing amazing capability in the Master’s Hands, being infinitely unique, a miracle of God’s creation. Furthermore, if you allowed God to lead you in your choice of a mate, then you probably also have a soul-mate, someone who is perfectly fit for you, an amazing gift from our loving God. We will finish on this tomorrow.
I pray that all your relationships will be blessed, and that you will be guided to opportunities to bless others by our Amazing, Loving God.