Marriage, Even When…(Day 4)
When we get married we don’t really know what we are getting ourselves into. It’s like any big life choice. When we accept a new job, buy a house, select a major, select a career, or even when we pay big bucks for a vacation, we are excited and anticipate good things but we don’t know 100% what we are signing up for.
Luckily all those other instances I mentioned are easily changed. Marriage should not be so easily changed. A vacation only lasts a short time. A job or even a career can be readily changed with some effort. But a marriage is a covenant.
“But Jesus told them, “He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.” And He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. Also, if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
Jesus speaks about the commitment of marriage and how God is the one who put us together in marriage.
“In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church since we are members of His body. For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
Ending a marriage should be hard, painful, difficult, and really impossible. Of course, it happens way too often. But looking at Ephesians 5:28-31 and other scripture we see that when a man and women are married as husband and wife, they become one flesh. It would be impossible for you to divide your flesh into two and survive. Similarly, and as often is the case, it should be very painful to divorce.
I’m by no means an expert in psychology, counseling, or even in marriage. I have only been married once and we’ve been through some challenging times. We’ve been married going on 17 years and I would say that it’s better now than it’s ever been. The difficult times we’ve endured have made us better for each other, less selfish, more understanding, more gracious, more loving, quicker to forgive, and in many ways, more like Christ. But I’d say many marriages end in divorce because it’s less enjoyable than what was expected. So I want to visit more about enjoying marriage.
What not to do: Don’t listen to Satan’s lies. Don’t give up. Don’t be a baby. Don’t act like a selfish infant. Don’t react. Don’t sin in anger. And again, don’t listen to lies.
Some things to do: Slow down. Breath. Have fun. Listen to the truth. Believe the truth. Act on the truth.
Here is some truth:
“A man who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”
NOTE: That didn’t say, “A man who finds another wife finds a good thing…or a better wife or a younger wife or a different wife or a less annoying wife, etc. The truth is a wife is a good thing! Keep that in your head and believe it no matter what your deceitful heart tells you or what Satan tells you.
“Marriage must be respected by all, and the marriage bed kept undefiled because God will judge immoral people and adulterers.”
“A husband should fulfill his marital responsibility to his wife, and likewise a wife to her husband.”
It says, “should”. That means that yes you should and so should your spouse. But it doesn’t mean they HAVE TO! It says they should. It’s a good idea.
“Do not deprive one another sexually — except when you agree for a time, to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again; otherwise, Satan may tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
So now we are getting to the fun stuff and that’s mainly what I want to talk about today. So let’s list stuff to do to make marriage FUN.
Have sex. God made sex fun and it is fun and you might have to be intentional about making it fun. Don’t be selfish. Be considerate, loving, and do some stuff that is fun not just for you only but for them too.
That carries over to other stuff. Let’s say your wife doesn’t like camping but you want to go camping. If she doesn’t want to go camping in a tent and sleep outside, compromise and go to a cabin in the woods, rent or buy a camper, or see if she might want to go glamping and find a fancy campsite with the glamour. It might be the other way around where the husband doesn’t like the outdoors but the wife and children do. Step up and do something the other person enjoys.
Basically, do fun stuff together. Compromise and find some common ground.
Maybe you hate canoeing because you don’t like to chance of flipping. Maybe go rafting! It is much harder to flip a raft.
Let’s say you like to bicycle but your spouse hates that. Maybe get a recumbent, get an electric bike, or get a tandem bike, or maybe just a bike that’s easier to use and more comfortable and go slower and don’t leave your spouse a mile behind you when you both go out for an enjoyable ride together.
You may have to really think ahead and use some enormous amount of intentionality and preparation, but it’s worth it.
You like to fish but your spouse doesn’t. Find a friend to fish with or maybe find a comfortable day when you can both go out and your spouse can read on the canoe or boat while you fish.
You like it 65 degrees and your spouse likes it 72 degrees. Let them have the 72 degrees and get a fan to help keep you cool.
You like the beach but your spouse likes the mountains or skiing. This one is hard but find some middle ground. But for sure go on vacations together. If you hate the beach but enjoy fishing or golfing, then go to the beach but while you are there, go on at least one morning or afternoon of fishing or golfing so you can enjoy the trip more. Maybe your spouse goes with you or maybe not but either way you both find enjoyment and are there TOGETHER HAVING FUN. If you spend a short time apart you can look forward to dinner together that evening where you can catch up on what happened while you were apart for a bit.
Don’t get stuck and believe lies. Be free, have fun, and enjoy life together.
This can be really hard and you will likely have times you will endure, but it’s better to stay committed and have fun and follow God’s Truth and instructions and wisdom. Your spouse is part of you. You are ONE flesh. Your wife is a good thing!
I hope you will Intend to Live and make your marriage FUN. If you aren’t having fun in your marriage, go to a counselor. Go to a counselor together if that’s helpful or if it’s not, go to a counselor on your own and talk to them about how you feel and maybe they can help you process things and point out where you are being selfish and how you can be more considerate. Preferably go to a Christian counselor.
Ask your spouse about going on a date night or a weekend trip that is solely for them. Whatever they want to do, you’ll be up for making it happen. If they want to go to a spa and you hate massages, still, go and do it FOR THEM. Find a way to compromise if you need to BUT don’t do anything for yourself. Choose to serve them and enjoy making them happy for the entire experience
Have fun, talk, and take time to enjoy each other more.
Intend to Live
Prayer: God help me to love my spouse better! Please show me where I am selfish and where I need to improve. Help me to be a better helper for my spouse. Would you please help us have more fun together? Please help me to listen more and talk less. Please help me slow down, breathe, and understand them more. Mainly, today please help me and us start enjoying our marriage more than ever before and enjoy spending more and more time together. Reveal to me more shared interests and help me do more fun things with them to make them happy. I realize that we are not the same person and that we have different interests. That’s some added flavor and experience for my life. Help us to find hobbies, vacations, dates, exercise, and other activities to enjoy together. In your name and for Your glory, Amen.