Having a Good Marriage
Having a good or even great marriage is no easy task. These days most seem content to have a tolerable marriage. Marriages by my observation seem to me anything but passionate and thriving. Sadly, this is not God’s design or desire for us and yet we settle and sink slowly into mediocrity.
So what do we do about it? Where do we start? The easy one word answer is PRAYER! Asking God for what you cannot create in your own strength.
I do want to warn you about the dangers of praying for a great marriage. About 3 months ago I started praying for something to change in my relationship with my wife. Honestly, nothing was that “off track” or out of whack but after 12 years both of us just felt like we needed something – maybe even a “tune up.” Wow, how things have changed (how I have changed – ouch it’s painful).
By no means do I want to lead you to believe that my wife and I have a perfect or even great marriage. What we do have a is solid marriage that is healthier today then 6 months ago. Although at times it feels more like work then worship, we still greatly love and appreciate each other through it all.
Passions at War
James 4:1-3 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.
What is the cause of a bad marriage? I mean, didn’t we all get married with intentions of living happy, healthy and fruitful lives with each other? How quickly we get off track. We must first understand that it is “normal” to get off track, however it is not “normal” to settle for less then healthy relationships. God tells us through James that we have these passions at war within us. These passions keep us self-centered and from pursuing God’s best.
For example a passion my look like this: Anytime I expect my spouse to fulfill a need (physical/sexual, emotional or spiritual) I am setting myself, and my spouse, up for failure and disappointment. The truth is that since the fall of mankind we are bent on having and getting our way and what we desire. To be truly happy and healthy in marriage is counter instinctual to our fallen nature. Having a good marriage has to involve setting aside self and our need to be right and “happy.” It also involves accepting that I am in charge of my happy; not my spouse.
Gary Thomas in his book called Sacred Marriage asks a great question, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” Once we have a handle on the facts that 1.) God desires to use our marriage to make us more like Him and that 2.) by nature we are and our passions are at war with each other- then we can begin the process of asking God for a healthy and strong marriage.
You Ask Not!
John 11:22 “But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.”
Matthew 21:22 “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
James 4:2b “…You do not have, because you do not ask.”
God eagerly wants to give us a healthy and happy marriage but we have to submit to his leadership and ask for his help. God doesn’t commands us to do something without his help and power. Trying to fix your marriage, or your life in general, without asking for God to move will prove to be an exhausting exercise.
When is the last time you, or you and your spouse, talked to God about your marriage? Somehow we assume that if we are thinking about it, or even complaining to our friends about it, then that must be enough. We have to do our part in seeking him.
What do you want? Do you want to have a good marriage? Start by asking God and continue to ask until your good marriage becomes reality. You will be amazed at the ways God will begin to transform your relationship with your spouse as well as you.