Who is with me? Marriage is hard right? Sometimes it would just be easier to throw in the towel and give up, pack it in, try some other avenue to do life. Many people have thought of ending their marriages over this past year. I have watched many marriages this year of friends and acquaintances become dysfunctional, disintegrate and even end in divorce. I have met with many of them and one of the saddest things I see is when two people give up on each other. But you can choose differently. Build your marriage on the foundation of Jesus.
Marriage is not a casual agreement it is a life altering covenant…
“Love…It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.“ 1 Corinthians 13:7
I just celebrated my 19th wedding anniversary yesterday. The last nineteen years haven’t been all bliss. 14 moves, college degrees, masters degrees while working, paying off student loans, losing loved ones, 3 major job changes, 3 children, 3 dogs, countless diapers, parenting struggles and some sleepless nights. Those are just a few highlights, but through it all there is one person who has loved me. My marriage isn’t perfect and we’ve had to navigate ALL of the below dysfunctions. My hope is that you will take these and address these with your spouse. Have a conversation. If you aren’t married yet, buyer beware! Know what is in front of you and proceed carefully.
What is Wrong With Marriages?
1. Unwise Choices – “Love always protects” – Before you make ANY major decision regarding anything, you must make the decision TOGETHER. Buying something? Going somewhere? Starting something? Flirting? Let me give you a word that will protect the covenant of your marriage perhaps more than anything else, COMMUNICATION. Communication protects. Everything you do and say affects your spouse now. You can’t live with just yourself in mind but you must live for the well being of the other person putting THEM FIRST. Selfish people are late, don’t communicate and think they have the “right” to certain things. Have a big decision coming? Find a couple who has been there and done that and ASK. PROTECT your marriage.
2. Unconfessed Sin – “Love always trusts” – My wife and I have disagreed about almost everything: Money, division of labor, parenting styles, sex, communication, what to watch on TV, how often to clean the floors, EVERYTHING. But I always trust when I come to her and say, “I am sorry,” she will forgive. Some of you may be saying, wow, he must be miserable. On the contrary, my wife is LOYAL and to have someone I can trust to confess my sins with is a true gift. This is STILL working itself out. You will spend the rest of your life hurting the person you love the most. Confess it, deal with it and then find out how to STOP doing things that hurt your spouse and START doing things that help. TRUST your sins with each other.
3. Unrealistic Expectations – “Love always hopes” – This is huge! The person you married is a person, they are human. Don’t make them a God and don’t make them an idol. DO NOT worship the ground they walk on, but love and respect them as a child of God. They MUST not rule you, but must complement and comfort you. The person you marry isn’t designed to “meet your every need.” They are a companion who will walk with you in sickness and in health. You celebrate with each other through the highs and you hold on to each other through the lows. Expect to work, expect it to be difficult, but also, expect to have wins together. HOPE with each other. Laugh, love, and live in harmony with one another. One of my favorite things to do for Summer is to pursue her. This means that I am constantly trying to find out what she likes. A realistic marriage starts with a humble, sober view of yourself and your own expectations.
4. Unraveled Commitment – “Love always perseveres” – Sometimes it happens, someone breaks the marriage one flesh covenant. For whatever reason someone cheats outside the marriage and one or both use it as a license to divorce. I don’t claim to understand this, I don’t want this for you but when the other person cheats, it doesn’t mean you have to give up. Dare to dream about your future together and the pain of the present will slowly disappear. It baffles me how we invite the Holy Spirit to be a part of the marriage covenant and then when things get tough, we give up on the same Spirit that brought us together. Maybe your marriage story is the same of the story of Christ whom we crucified, cheated on and put to death. but yet he takes us back as his bride. We are a CHEATING BRIDE, but he persevered. Persevere through the pain.
This is NOT an article to judge or jeer at but is one to hopefully make you contemplate your vows and the clarity with which you live. There is no formula for marriage, but yet a constant adjustment of how to live and love your spouse. One last encouragement… “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus.” Romans 15:6
This Sunday at 217church December 21st – #Jesus is…COMING KING – Dare to Dream about the Future
Josh is the lead pastor at 217church, a multi-site, contemporary church in Mercer County NJ. 217church is a family with small groups in New Jersey and Pennsylvania that meets Sundays in the Hamilton AMC24 Theater 9:30 & 11am and Starplex Cinemas in East Windsor, NJ at 10:15. Our new East Windsor Campus meets every Sunday. If you are looking for a church in East Windsor NJ, Lawrenceville NJ, Ewing NJ, Robbinsville NJ, Hightstown NJ, Hamilton NJ, Mercer County, Middlesex County or Bucks County, PA, don’t miss our weekend services. Visit www.217church.com for more information.