love your enemies

Marriage Triangle (Part 1)

upwithmarriage

Part 1 – The Myth We Discovered

There is a triangle paradigm used to depict the Christian marriage, aptly called a marriage triangle.  There’s many variations of it, but generally it looks like one of these:

marriage triangle 2

The premise is obvious:  The closer you get to God the closer your marriage will align to the perfection of God thereby bringing the two of you closer.

In theory this paradigm makes complete sense, but for real life practical application in marriage, it’s a miss and leaves us strandedBy glossing over our human brokenness – the truth of what we really are, with the illusion of perfection, it leads us more into a myth mindset than a paradigm that can help a marriage grow into the force it was meant to be.

This triangle image bolsters the idea of black and white in the marriage relationship and leaves us with a flavour of simplicity.  It doesn’t factor in the reality of any hurt, strife, offences, or conflicts that are inevitable, as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 7:28, “… Yet those who marry will have physical and earthly troubles, …

Perfection is a myth

MYTH:  Darrell and I are equal in our maturity and our backgrounds won’t make any difference.  It doesn’t matter what each of us has been through in childhood and life, we’ll ascend the triangle towards God at an equal rate of maturity.

Both spouses growing equally in their respective relationship to God, and naturally getting closer to each other.  Yes, if all things were equal.  If I grew up on Bliss Boulevard and if Darrell came from Paradise Place and if we were making our home on Utopia Avenue, this triangle is a statement of truth.  Correctly depicting 2 Christians in a marriage; as the marriage should be.upwithmarriageJAN

But here’s the problem:

  • Earth is not utopia and balanced maturity is hardly the reality of two sinners that are …
  • Bound together in such a close relational space that they may as well be called one person …
  • Living in the fallen world.

Sorry for the bummer of all those grim verses but if we are going to live in reality and not fairyland, we need to be honest with ourselves about who we really are.  Let’s face it, there’s a reason Jesus had to die for us.  Also, if when we get a little high on ourselves, there is nothing more effective than a good dose of reality to level the playing field of marriage.

Without exception all of us are different.  Nobody grows and matures at an equal level, in the same way or during the same time frame.  Each of us have come from different backgrounds, lived different lives and have experienced hurt in ways that differ from each other, so our wounds are unalike.  Our healing and maturity will be anything but identical, equal or symmetrical as we grow closer independently to God.

Conflict is not a myth

You can’t live in this world and not be wounded.  Somehow, some way … all people are hurting (Mk 2:17).  Hurting people hurt others.  But as we heal and grow … we do less damage to each other.

Wounds are the root of offence, discord and strife.

They reveal where we need to be healed in order to grow-up.

Ferreting out the wounds from beneath our self-made coping mechanisms so that we can heal and grow, takes time.  And on top of the wounds, there’s also variations in our genders, our basic personality differences, which are not so basic if you’ve spent any time reading some of the Meyers Briggs information.  Not to mention birth order factors that probably come into play.

We humans are fearfully and wonderfully created with all our amazing complexities.  The good we live in and do belongs to us and our spouses; and so does the darkness.  It’s not as simple as:  sliding up our respective sides of the triangle into happily ever after.  So, what’s the solution?  Reciprocity.

Part 2 – ReciprocityWhat can you give to The God that has everything?  Same triangle – alternate and active perspective.  Helping each other to heal so that we each can grow closer to God.

 

When all esle fails …

 

make it work

Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

1 Corinthians 13:7

I WILL:

  • cover you in protection while we figure this out
  • believe that God can be trusted with this
  • wait in full confidence and expectation from God
  • remain with you and not move on without you

The enemy wants you to devour your husband

– fight back with love.

 

 

I married the “wrong” person

Over at Marriage Gems, Lori has been writing an interesting series that started with her post, We all Married the Wrong Person.  I am really enjoying reading her perspective on this subject.

I touched briefly on this subject back in July in my post titled, Did I Marry the Wrong Guy.

Lori’s most recent posts got me to thinking about focus and phraseology, and the lament of those seeking to be free of ‘unhappy’ marriages — I married the wrong person.

Why is it phrased that the other person is the … wrong person.  Is it, perhaps because it shows the perspective of where the blame is sought to be directed.  This is a small observation and somewhat quizzical; yet, very telling.

I’ll use my own marriage as the example.  If Darrell and I are hitting that sweet spot in our marriage less and less as the years go by, I could naturally conclude, “I think I married the wrong person.”   By process of elimination that makes me the right person.

Merely semantics?   I’m not so sure.  Isn’t the spouse that is seeking to exit the marriage the one that finds the other spouse to be, the wrong one?  If a wife is so sure that her marriage isn’t working because her husband is the wrong one, (the one at fault) doesn’t that mean that her scrutiny finds him to be the one with the problems (aka – all the sin)?  While simultaneously viewing herself as problemless (aka – no sin, or very little).

I’m sure Captain Hook from Peter Pan would even find this to be, bad form.

And Hook is right.  It’s an unbalanced assessment.  It is because of a wife’s strength in an area that she can see the weakness of her husband.  What she’s actually doing is comparing weakness to strength.  In order for it to be fair, about whether a person is the wrong one or not, we need to compare weakness with weakness and strength to strength.  Then we will be able to see things a little more clearly; more fairly.

Equal comparison will force me to take my high powered precision focus and center it back where it belongs, on my own weaknesses.  This will help change the negative question that seeks to destroy my marriage, to a positive affirmation of empowerment:

From:  Did I marry the wrong person?

To:  Lord, help me to be the right person.

We must learn to regard people

less in light of what they do or omit to do;

and more in the light of what they suffer.

~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer ~

Boxes

What outlook do you have on your husband, where is your point of reference for him?

Do you see him as a:

 Brother

Neighbour

Another

The world

An enemy

Or

Is he ‘floated’ from box to box by your emotions, depending on his behaviour?

God has an answer for each of these box placements,

 interestingly He never mentions emotions or behaviours

An Enemy

But I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.

Matt 5:43

 

The World

 John 3:17

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge

(to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world,

 but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him.

One Another

Rom 12:16

Live in harmony with one another;

do not be haughty (snobbish, high-minded, exclusive),

but readily adjust yourself to [people, things] and give yourselves to humble tasks.

Never overestimate yourself or be wise in your own conceits.

Neighbour

Gal 5:14

For the whole Law [concerning human relationships]

is complied with in the one precept,

You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.

 Brother

1 John 3:16

By this we come to know

 (progressively to recognize, to perceive, to understand)

the [essential] love:

that He laid down His [own] life for us;

and we ought to lay [our] lives down for [those who are our] brothers [in Him].

I am  thankful that God doesn’t float me from box to box depending on my behaviour(s); but always keeps me in His ‘daughter’ box.

help us to do likewise for our husbands.