The God-Centered Marriage: great resource for struggling Christian marriages.
Strong marriages have become a taboo subject in even Christian circles. We are expected to tout the line that marriage is messy and hard and we are so flawed that we’re destined to hurt each other.
As a mom with kids who are entering the marriage sphere of life, I find this rhetoric disheartening. Yet I do know that even among Christians, the divorce rate is apparently the same as the non-believing world.
This distresses me because it means that we’re not living as we should in our homes. Yes, it takes two to make a marriage work, but still, among professing believers, Christ’s plan for the family should work, right?
Have we absorbed the cultures values and stopped practicing the principles in our Guidebook for Life?
Titus 2 ministry is all about encouraging younger women to love their husbands and children–to be family oriented at heart.
But so often we have couples who live under the same roof content with indifference, dad going off to work, mom pouring her life into her children. They’re so frustrated by their lack of unity and conflict in communication that they keep it to a bare minimum. In fact, anything the husband and wife talk about with each other could just as easily be said to the mail man, the grocer, or neighbor.
“How was your day?” “Good.”
“Will you be home for dinner?” “Yes, by 6 o’clock.”
“Do we have any plans for the weekend?” “I have to go to XYZ.”
Separate lives, same roof. Zero intimacy. They aren’t one in mind, heart, or purpose.
I wonder if this one-ness failure stems from the constant barrage of messages to be your own person. Autonomy is in–dependence on anyone is out.
Life becomes a succession of conflict and reaction, conflict and reaction–instead of realizing that though we may annoy each other occasionally, the Christian modus operandi is to meet every offense with a godly reaction: kindness, tender-hearted, forgiving. It becomes a boxing match when offense is met with natural reaction day after day. We have to be proactive in our approach to our own Christian walk. We decide BEFOREHAND how we will respond to difficulty. If we just give tit for tat, railing for railing, sarcasm for sarcasm, we can’t say that we are truly living out a God honoring marriage, can we?
When intimacy, connection and companionship fail the two are no longer “one.” Well they are in God’s eyes, but not in each other’s. One-ness means I put you first because you are part of me. Our independent pursuits end at marriage and we take on the joint pursuit of life, ministry, purpose, passion. My preference takes a back set to yours and vice versa. In love, preferring one another.
I’ve had women cry and tell me that their husband talks at them not to them. They husband never “prefers” them–they seem to believe they are over them intellectually and insightfully, telling them how to think and reason properly. They truly believe they have better ideas, instead of trying to listen to understand their wife. I’ve had women tell me that their husband doesn’t need them. He only comes around for s*x. I think it’s obvious and goes without saying, but you can’t glorify God if you don’t love your wife.
I’ve seen women pour into their kids lives and give every last scrap of time and energy to their kids, neglecting their husband. They try so hard to be a good mom that they fail to be a good wife…which makes it impossible to be a good mom. Your kids need to see the gospel playing out in your home: dad sacrificially loving mom, and mom respecting and following dad, both preferring one another and trying to outdo one another in kindness.
If you are struggling with marriage, I highly recommend the God Centered Marriage Series–a free, excellent mini-conference you can listen to online. (Don’t miss the PDF conference notes with each message and at the bottom of the page.) Think of it as an investment in your spouse. If you are a Christian person frustrated in your current crazy cycle of no communication, autonomy, and misunderstandings, take the time to listen and grow. It’s done by Stuart Scott, author of From Pride to Humility.
*I have to say this every time I write about marriage because this is the internet, but if you are in an abusive marriage, seek help and get out of any potentially dangerous situation. Also, the conference is from the Christian worldview. If you are not a Christian, you won’t be interested in this conference.