Good morning friends! I pray your week and weekend went well. Last week I shared some encouragement for marriages and the importance of having God as an active member of our marriage. Well, today I will continue talking about marriage and relationships, and hope to bring in some practical views towards and expectations of our marriage and spouse.
Let’s top up our coffees and get right into it…
Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
John 15:4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
John 16:33b [Jesus said] “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
1 John 4:4-5 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them.
When you see God as an active participant in your marriage, you are forced to view things in a very different way than the world views this union. In many cases, we view our spouse as the light of our life at first, the one we are devoted to and can’t imagine spending our life with anyone else. We are in love. We get married and enjoy a wonderful time in the ‘honeymoon’ stage. Our spouse is the one who cares for us, brings us joy, fulfills our life.
Unfortunately, as the honeymoon stage ends and the reality, routine, and stress of life’s responsibilities begin to settle in, we can begin to become complacent with the routine and humdrum of life that the responsibilities of adult living require. In the world, it is so easy to entertain the idea that your spouse is the reason for your turmoil, stress, and unhappiness, and in our sinfulness we listen to these lies of satan. It is at this point that the whole marriage union can begin to unravel if just left to your own devices and those of your spouse. This is especially where understanding God’s role in the institution of marriage makes all the difference. Only with God in your marriage, can spouses have realistic expectations of each other.
To begin with, God created marriage; the joining together of one man and one woman in order to procreate and to be helpmates for one another. In this union, although very intimate, God still must be seen as the ultimate source of your joy, success, thanksgiving, etc., not your spouse. Remember, both you and your spouse are sinners and have limitations. When you acknowledge the reality of these limitations, you are able to be realistic about what you expect from your spouse and what (s)he can provide. In most cases, spouses are doing the best they can, but if you do not have realistic expectations of them, you can become very disillusioned and disappointed.
Also, it is very important to remember that all God’s commands towards your neighbour hold true towards your spouse. Therefore, as we love our neighbour as ourselves, we should view our spouse as our closest neighbour, even when the seat gets left up or the lid is not put on the toothpaste, or (insert annoyance here), but especially when more serious conflicts arise. It is so easy to blow up, say unkind words in anger and frustration to our spouse, when we would never say such things to others. These actions are never beneficial in resolving the conflict. Although it is of utmost importance to communicate your feelings, it must be done respectfully. One challenge I give you is that you make an agreement that in the midst of an argument, neither of you swear or call each other names. Abiding by this boundary eliminates a lot of hurt feelings and shows ongoing respect for each other. Then lift the issue to the Lord and trust that He is the one capable of guiding the outcome of discrepancies and arguments.
Ultimately, it is so easy to have of your spouse, or perhaps your spouse has of you, the expectations that belong only to God. God is your joy, not your spouse; God is your resolve, not your spouse. When we place Godly responsibilities and abilities onto our spouse, great disappointments arise as spouses are disillusioned as the other spouse will never be able to live up to such expectations. However, when you acknowledge God in His rightful place in your marriage, you begin to see your spouse as a blessing from God, and able to lift his/her needs up to the Lord.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, thank-you for the gift of marriage. Thank-you for my spouse. Thank-you for loving each of us, despite our sinfulness. Please forgive me my sinful actions or thoughts I have within this precious relationship, as I sin first to You, then to my husband/wife. Be with my spouse, help him/her to turn to You, guide him/her in his/her day to be whom you have called him/her to be. Help him/her in his/her weaknesses and help me to be whom you need me to be for him/her. All this I ask through Christ’s atoning blood. AMEN!
Reflection: Take a step back and reflect upon the greatest challenges/weaknesses that you have, whether in your relationship with your spouse/partner or in relationships in general. Lift your weaknesses up to the Lord, asking for God to guide you in strengthening your attributes that need to be stronger, and helping turn from the things that are stumbling blocks for you. Then reflect upon the greatest challenges/weakness of your spouse. Lift him/her and his/her weaknesses up to the Lord praying for the same resolve for him/her.