Monday, July 20, 2009

Marriage

Over the next several weeks, my church is focusing on marriage. The pastor will be discussing marriage during the service, and we will be learning the 5 Love Languages during Sunday School to strengthen our marriages. It seems that the "till death do us part" line in the marriage ceremonies doesn't necessasarily mean "till death do us part" to a lot of people now a days.

I told my husband when he married me (at the time neither of us were Christians) that his only way out was death. Of course I followed that by telling him that it may not be a natural death on his part but death was still the only way out! On a serious note, it seems like a lot of marriages today are struggling, and I can definitely understand why. Our world has become one in which we are taught to expect instant gratification and that we deserve to be happy, even if it makes someone else miserable. Our world is destroying our ability to communicate with others.

We can instantly download movies we want to see, we can grab a bite to eat without getting out of our car, we can pay our bills without so much as talking to a single person or leaving our house, customer service is automated - no person to speak to, we text rather than talk, we email rather than call, and we sit in front of the television rather than look each other in the eye and discuss how each others day was.

We are stressed out, and looking for someone to blame it on or to fix it. Families live beyond their means so that their children can wear designer clothes or have the newest game system. Both parents work in an effort to pay the huge mortgage for the house that is to big in a neighborhood that is to expensive so that they can "look" wealthy. Few adults pay off their credit card bill monthly, and many charge until they can't charge anymore and then declare bankruptcy. Husbands and wives argue about how the money is being spent, how much is being spent, and why the bills aren't being paid. Next thing you know both are working overtime trying to catch up and couldn't tell you what is going on in each other's lives much less the lives of their children. I know this because I was there once.

We bought a house before we could really afford it, we spent to much on credit cards, my husband began to worry about money and gripe about household expenses. I spent more out of spite, he became more angry and started to work longer hours and we grew apart. Our marriage became really rocky and at times we both were counting down the days and looking for a way out. My happily ever after prince wasn't making me happily ever after.

Did you know that God actually talks about this in the Bible? I sure didn't. I had become a "brawling woman" looking for an argument, blaming our unhappiness on my husband. If only he made more money, if only we had more stuff. Proverbs 21:9 says, "It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house". Isn't that the truth!

Currently my husband and I live in a three bedroom home with 4 children. Sometimes it is cramped and often there really isn't anywhere to be "alone" in the house. My kids don't have the newest game systems and couldn't tell you what designer was in style right now. But, we are happy. I am no longer a "brawling woman". We eat dinner together with the tv off every night and both my husband and I know who our children are hanging out with, what concerns them and each other, and what is going on in each others lives. He is able to be home every evening before dinner and we spend time with each other. Our credit card has been paid off and we live within our means. Sometimes that means going without. We don't have cable TV, but can still watch some of our favorite shows on Hulu. I won't be getting a new laptop any time soon, but I can still use the old desktop to accomplish many tasks.

Now, I don't know where you are in your marriage right now. You may be happier than you ever have. If not, I hope to share a few insights from the Bible over the next several weeks that will give you some things to ponder about your marriage. Today's thought to ponder is are you a "brawling woman"? When your husband comes home do you greet him with a smiling face and a willingness to listen to him, or are you waiting, ready to tell him all the things that went wrong for you? Am I saying your shouldn't share your hurts or concerns with your husband? Certainly not, but you should take the time to make him feel loved and appreciated. God created marriage for us to become "one" with each other. That means that when you argue or disrespect your husband, you are disrespecting and arguing with yourself in a manner of speaking.

Are you going to have disagreements? Most definitely. It is how you choose to handle them that makes all the difference. Rather than fighting with him, work with him to come up with a solutions. Be honest about your feelings, but do so without blame. Your husband is your partner, not your enemy.

Proverbs 21:19 says, "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman". Could your marriage be better? If so, examine yourself first and see if perhaps you are a "contentious and angry woman," or a "brawling woman". If you aren't sure, then perhaps you are and you need to make some changes in how you relate to your husband. Think about it.

Love,

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