As I sit to write today, my heart is burdened for marriage.
You see, if I was the enemy, I would totally go at marriage. And truth. And I see that the enemy of our souls is doing just that.
Many of us, myself included, had just the most marvelous thoughts of what married life would be like. For me, I truly believed that every night, my husband-to-be and I would wear evening clothes and dance at home before dinner. I really thought he would always say the perfect thing and speak my same language of love (quality time). In my mind, it was more like Jonathan and Jennifer on Hart to Hart.
Well, my friends, that just doesn't happen in real life, not to me and not to anyone. I don't recall ever dancing in our house before dinner in evening wear since I've married (though my sweet husband will take me dancing from time to time). And we do dance as a family just for fun sometimes...
I'm not saying that there are no good marriages. I know plenty of good marriages, including mine. But there is no perfect marriage.
The point is, the Bible tells us plainly that it's not a sin to marry, but that those who marry will have problems. Don't believe me? Look it up! I Corininthians 7:28, NIV, says, "But if you do marry, you have not sinned....But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this." This is not a verse I've heard at weddings, and in fact, though I grew up in the church, I didn't recall this verse until I watched Dr. Emerson Eggrichs Love and Respect DVD series (cannot recommend this enough!).
So, are you married and struggling? That's ok! Hang in there together! There is NO perfect marriage this side of heaven. We are practicing for the real deal, and when life gets messy, stay focused on your objectives! The grass is not always greener on the other side; many times it isn't even grass but a mirage! (This does not apply to an abusive relationship, by the way. Talk to a trusted friend, advisor, pastor or physician if you are unsure if you are in an abusive relationship).
I have actually seen several patients who have married several times. What is most interesting to me is that many times, they will choose the same type of spouse, repeating the process over and over, often even returning to a previous spouse--sometimes more than once.
Ok, so we all know that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew, which is a very complicated language from what I can tell. Each letter has 3 meanings: a number, a picture and a word. I learned this mind-blowing tidbit in Mark Biltz' book Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs (which was really about many other things besides just the Blood Moons).
Anyway, the Hebrew word for man and the Hebrew word for woman have a common denominator: fire. "When a man and a woman get married and become husband and wife, we see the extra letters are what each brings into the marriage. The man brings the letter (yod), and the woman brings the letter (hey), and together forms God's name: This tells us that if God is not in our marriages, all we have is fire, and we consume each other....only when God is in their midst can the couple thrive without consuming one another."
So, marriage is not so much about finding the perfect spouse. It is about becoming who you are intended to be, fulfilling your purpose and seeking God.
So my friends, hang in there! Be encouraged today!
1. Pray for your spouse. Not for him to change, but for your thoughts and feelings about him to change. Not for what is important for you, but for things that are important for him.
2. Remember why you fell in love in the first place and talk about those qualities that initially attracted you to your spouse. Yes, get googly-eyed over each other again. Whatever it takes!
3. Seek ways to fill your lover's love tank: here's a hint from The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.
a. If your hubby does things for you like wash the car, dishes, etc, chances are good that he will respond to your acts of service toward him (laundry, laying things out, keeping the house tidy).
b. If he buys you things to tell you he loves you, it's likely he will respond to gifts you give him.
c. If he is always touching you, he will likely respond to your touch.
d. If he tells you he loves you with words of encouragement, he will likely respond to your affirmative words.
e. And if he is always trying to just spend some quality time with you, it is likely that he will respond to you spending quality time with him.
When his love tank is full, chances are good that he will fill yours as well...just sayin'.
4. Assess with whom and on what you are spending time, money and effort. Are these people friends or foes of your marriage? Meaning do they build you up, encourage you, choosing not to pick sides? Are there repeated arguments or hurt feelings because of any of these people or how either of you is spending time, money or effort? (The foes cannot remain as they are...)
5. Be accountable. Whether it's a pastor, a therapist, another couple you know, a couple at church that you think has a good foundation, get some accountability. Sometimes, just having what I call a dance coach can help a lot, as you and your honey have been doing the same dance repeatedly. You will likely need a dance coach to identify the problem(s), communicate them in a way each can understand and teach you a new way to do this that gets better results with less pain.
6. Keep your feelings in check. Don't believe everything you feel as your feelings can, and often will, lie to you. Make sure you are spending time in the Word and with God daily so you can recognize Truth from lies.
The Marriage Prayer by John Waller (best marriage song I've ever heard!)
https://youtu.be/ZAAvPDgKf30 Broken Together by Casting Crowns
https://youtu.be/ECGZz5ScfL8 Restore by Chris August
Holding Hands by Steve Green
I Found Love by Bebe Winans
(The ones without links are because these are unofficial videos.)
© 2018 Jen Wisdom-Schepers, MD. All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer: Jen Wisdom-Schepers, MD is licensed to practice medicine in the State of Tennessee. While Jen Wisdom-Schepers, MD may provide remote coaching and information products that are available outside Tennessee, such are not intended to be and may not be used for treatment purposes. Any information made available by Dr. Schepers on this website or through remote services outside of Tennessee are expressly and exclusively for education. If as a result of exposure to these resources, you are driven to seek psychotherapy, you are encouraged to do so promptly and locally.