truth

Adversity in Marriage

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You know those memes you see on Facebook, the ones that make you feel kind of old, “If you know what this is click like and share.”  This one was a wringer washing machine, in the catalogue, it was advertised to make laundry easier.  I showed it to my oldest daughter, saying, “I remember helping my Grandmother do laundry with this!  It took about two hours to do one load.”

washers

Two hours doesn’t sound very fast, but compared to the washboard – the wringer washer was a gigantic leap forward for domestic work.  Wash day was just that, a whole day.  It took a whole day’s worth of work and cut it to less than half, by removing the hardest part.

Now we complain about so much laundry.  We (me) have the audacity to actually complain about a task that is 95% automated – are you kidding me?!  Just the other day I let out a tsssk as I walked passed the load(S) waiting to be washed.  And I know for a fact other women feel the same about ‘never-ending’ laundry.

ADVERSITY reveals the true me (and you)

No wonder we can’t handle any real problems in life and relationships with grace for others and dignity for ourselves.

  • “It’s too hard, God would never want me to go through THAT.”
  • “I don’t like this, it doesn’t make me happy.”
  • “Why should I have to do that?”
  • “God is a God of justice.  It’s not fair if I have to experience THIS.”

As we resist with each statement (which sound suspiciously like complaining), we get weaker and less able to actually conquer whatever situation we are in.  The more we focus on just ourselves and the difficulty of the task, the more impossible the circumstance becomes.  We lose sight of the big picture and our place in it.  Forgetting that it was God Who chose us, and what role He placed us in.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren (Rom 8:28-29)

The word adversity captures a wide range of circumstances – from a minor inconvenience to a catastrophe. Whatever the size or discomfort of the difficulty, it does the same thing – it pushes us against the barrier of our comfort zones, thins our skin and forces out a response.

ADVERSITY had revealed the complainer in me

Had I really complained about the laundry as I was climbing the stairs?  Yes.  Something so small and benign.  I hadn’t seen that in myself and it caught me off guard.  I don’t think God views any complaining as small or inconsequential.  Complaining used to be a big problem for me – not so much anymore.  But apparently, there was still a sliver there that needed to be exposed and removed before it spread further.  The virus of sin is like that.

How could I conquer evil with good and be strengthened with gratitude, if I couldn’t even see past a few puny piles of laundry to the blessing of fully automated equipment?  Don’t get me wrong, I know dirty clothes aren’t evil – but the complaining part is.

Nor let us try the Lord, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the serpents.  Nor grumble, as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. (1 Cor 10:9-10)

Complaining is a fruit of wrong focus – it proves to myself that I’m making it all about me when there is so much to be grateful for:

  • the fact that I do have a fully automated washing machine (and dryer), instead of having to use a wringer washer or a washboard, or go to the laundromat.
  • that my husband has bought the best set.
  • speaking of him, he’s healthy and has a fantastic job.
  • the blessing of all my kids and that they are healthy.
  • that we all have an abundance of clothes!

I could go on and on, but you get what I mean.  When I set my focus on the benefits, gratitude will naturally grow instead of self-pity.

ADVERSITY will help or hinder

I think we can all agree:  People have no control over others and no power to change them.  It’s a good thing, for a couple of reasons.

(1) When you accept how little control you have over circumstances, and the people involved in them, your faith grows—you become a different person.  The more you trust God, the more you mature.  Yes, there’s characteristics we don’t care for in people, behaviours and habits that create adversity in our relationships – conflict with our husbands, but, you’ve got to ask yourself:

Do I really want someone else to have the power to change me?

(2) Because that’s the deal.  If I get the power to change my husband – then he gets just as much power to change me.  My answer would be, no – I only want God to have that power, He’s the only one that can see my heart (and Darrell’s) from a complete perspective. (Psalm 139:16)

SOUL-utions:

KNOW:  I say this lots and I’ll say it again:  We’re going to have trials, turmoil and hurt in our marriages, we’ve got to accept it – we’re told, plainly.  We all have our fair share, God hasn’t picked out some for more hardship or troubles than anyone else.  Beloved, do not be amazed and bewildered at the fiery ordeal which is taking place to test your quality, as though something strange (unusual and alien to you and your position) were befalling you. (1 Peter 4:12)

ACCEPT:  Be open to what God shows you about own heart when you’re in trials; not what you see in your husband’s heart. God already knows the both of you, He wants you to see your own.  But the Lord said to Samuel, Look not on his appearance or at the height of his stature, for I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.   (1 Sam 16:7)

LET GO:  We hinder ourselves by focusing on the things in our husbands that we want to change.  The most helpful thing we can do is to let go of this perceived power.  A wife affects real change in marriage through influence, not control.  In like manner, you married women, be submissive to your own husbands [subordinate yourselves as being secondary to and dependent on them, and adapt yourselves to them], so that even if any do not obey the Word [of God], they may be won over not by discussion but by the [godly] lives of their wives. (1 Peter 3:1)

 

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EQUALITY IS IRRELEVANT

compare together2There is no equality in marriage because the roles are so unalike. You cannot compare things that contrast to each other. The directives God gives to each of them vary so much that you can’t even set them side-by-side to get a modicum of measurement to gauge equality! Not to mention the biology which, even at a cellular level, is completely contrasted.
Do we compare the cardiologist and brain surgeon? The College of Physicians and Surgeons holds them both 100% responsible in their respective roles. But they are never compared to each other in importance of their roles for the sake of equality in the medical field!
There is equality in the levels of responsibility. Just like each doctor is 100% responsible to the College of Physicians and Surgeons, so it is with God and marriage. He holds a woman 100% responsible for being a wife, and He holds a man 100% responsible for being a husband.
There is very little else in our world that we seek to equalize. We don’t compare a Thorough Bred and a Draft Horse, or a Scooter and Sport Bike, so it seems unfitting to seek equality within the roles of marriage.

 

 

Marriage Triangle (Part 1)

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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.

 

My mouth, my marriage ~ Wed Nov 20/13

power of prayer

Father in heaven thank You for the gift of marriage.  I pray that my husband’s wisdom and strength will be increased, according to Your plans, through me for Your glory and his benefit.

Help me to build into our marriage and clearly see where the enemy is leading me to destroy the foundation of our family.  Let there be confidence in my husband that brings security so that he understands he can count on me to always defend his reputation and protect him from situations in which our enemy seeks to devour him.

Show me where I have worked against this security for our marriage in the past and begin reconstructing my discernment.  Thank You for lovingly sticking with me while I grow up in You and for making me stronger through the practical experience in my marriage.  Lord, thank You for the trust You’ve shown me by placing this son of Yours in my hands as my husband.  Show me the wisdom from Your Word so I can handle him wisely.

 

My mouth, my marriage ~ Wed Nov 6/13

power of prayer

~ 1 Cor 13 adapted for times of struggling in marriage ~

Lord, with Your love in me I will be able to endure anything.  Your love will demonstrate itself as patient and kind towards my husband.  Because of Your love Lord I will not be jealous or prideful.  I will not behave rudely or unmannerly with my thoughts, words or actions towards Your son when he fails, but be a support, I will act becomingly of You so You will be proud.

If I really have Your love in me God, I will not insist on my own rights or my own way, because Jesus showed us Your love is not self-seeking.  I refuse to be touchy, fretful or resentful in our marriage and will pay no attention to any wrong that I suffer.  I know that with You as my avenger I will be able to rejoice because truth will always prevail.

Thank You Jesus for proving how God’s love bears up under anything and everything that comes in marriage.  With the infusing strength and power of the Holy Spirit, I can believe the best in my husband.  I can endure without weakening because with Your love in me God, my hope is fadeless in all circumstances.  You LORD, will never fail.  AMEN

 

AAA dying to self

My mouth, my marriage ~ Wed Oct 23/13

power of prayer

 

LORD, we expect Your power and providence in our marriages.  Increase our faith through trials so that we can witness, not only Your strong hand in each of our lives, but also the miracle of a healed marriage.

We can see how important unity is to You by Your expression of peace and goodwill in sending Your only Son.  Help us to do likewise and work towards unity through this same peace and goodwill.  Reveal to us when we’ve not demonstrated Your peace in our marriages and lead us in Your everlasting way.

Thank you for demonstrating what is right to do.  Help us in choosing to obey You especially when it’s impossible, so we will have clean consciences.  Let us not be affected by fretfulness and complaining but instead make our marriages strong from hope in You, our God of the impossible!  AMEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

AAA dying to self

My mouth, my marriage ~ Thur Oct 10/13

power of prayer

Thank You Lord for the privilege of sharing my life as a wife.  It’s an awesome responsibility to be joined to another human being, thank you for trusting me with one of Your sons.

You have given me a powerful sphere of influence with my husband, help me to resist the temptation of stumbling with my mouth in negative comments to others about him that the devil can use to hurt him and others.  Instead I will choose to see the best in his heart and in trust come boldly to You like David did, so that You will call me a woman after Your own heart.  With You guarding my mouth there will be no polluting language or worthless talk that comes out of it, but only speech that gives light.

I cast onto You Lord any thoughts that will lead me to abuse my husband in speech, so You can train my thoughts and make my words a positive force in Your hands for our marriage.

 

A - dying to self