I was pleasantly surprised at your wisdom last week. You’re old enough to see the world around you with a view that astounds you. When you were little we tried to protect you from harsh, hurtful things. But as you grew it became important to expose you so that you may understand that life is not as carefree as a child sees it, but it has a load of complexities… which can be surmountable if you are wise and practice making good choices.
You’ve seen marriage problems lately. And the pain that it inflicts on those who care so deeply for the couple. It’s hurt you to see those you care about hurt. From listening to you, it seems to have sent your head spinning a bit. I suppose it does for everyone who “doesn’t see it coming.” And usually, with “nice Christian families,” we don’t see it coming….
But, what amazed me were your questions.
You asked, “How could it get to this point?”
I honestly don’t know, yet I definitely do. We are selfish creatures. We put our needs/wants at the forefront of a good majority of our daily decisions. And then we demand that our spouse act otherwise.
It’s the “What about Mmmmeeee?” syndrome!
Most of us have that mentality, if were honest, and it takes a focused person to realize, in order to have a successful/happy marriage, the focus needs to be on serving and blessing your spouse rather than looking for them to bless you.
Your next question was what took me by surprise…..
You asked, “What can I do so that my marriage doesn’t get to that point?”
Wow. I’m amazed you asked. We talked about a marriage where the husband serves his wife and inspires the wife to do the same. I told you of an example of a marriage where the husband serves, loves, and adores his wife and how Christ-like the husband is; yet the wife doesn’t exactly respond in like fashion. You wisely commented that the husband isn’t Christ-like if he isn’t calling his wife to account on her selfishness. So, there is a balance. A good marriage is one that involves all facets of ministry; serving, spurring one another to be better, loving confrontation, and lots of good times.
So, back to your question. How do you avoid your marriage leading to the path of divorce or unhappiness?
I have some ideas… (all from a wife’s point of view of course!)
- Treat her like a lady. Every girl wants a strong hero! Even if they act like they don’t.
- Understand her “Love Language”. You remember “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman… They are vital in making your spouse feel loved. Speak her language and often.
- Encourage her to be with her friends that spur her on to be a better wife, mother, person. And be careful of friends that have marriage problems/divorce – for some reason there is an emotional/spiritual contagiousness about being with them (not all of them but the ones that are not valuing marriage like you do). Be smart, be aware. Find a new group of friends at church or somewhere else that she can enjoy if you see this happening. Women need friends… don’t be threatened by that. You will be smart to let her go with good friends… she will be a better wife when she comes home to you!
- Stay ahead of her. It’s a fight! Women act like they want to lead but it is truly no woman’s desire to lead a family/husband. They just want to get things done. So stay ahead of her – in discipline, decisions, tasks, spiritual growth. It can be a challenge but certainly the payoffs are great!
- Care about the state of your marriage. Many men/women don’t watch what is happening. Be proactive. If you find yourself in a “troubled time,” and you will, care about how to restore your relationship and grow. Many give up. They say “it’s just not worth it.” That’s a lie.
You have a saying, “What brought you together is what will hold you together.” And it makes me think of the “thing” that drew me to your father. He listened and cared. He was my friend. Women need friends. And you have an opportunity to be your wife’s very best friend for a lifetime. Remember in the tough times, you are on the same side. The world around you will try to weaken your bond but a well watered garden grows beautifully…so will your marriage.
Remember to pray together. Pray with her, and for her, often. You have a God who cares intimately about the two of you and your future. He will listen, guide and lead you as you two humble yourselves and submit yourselves to him.
You will make a great husband!