This is a part of a series about Godly divorce and marriage…
- Marriage, divorce and the law 26 October 2013
- Abraham, Sara and Hagar – a non-religious view 26 October 2013
- Godly divorce (Abraham and Hagar study) 26 October 2013
- Francis Frangipane: A Special Word to the Women of God 23 October 2013
- Speak words of life over her every day of your life – word 23 October 2013
- Divorce 21 October 2013
I feel led to share some insights that I have learned about marriage.
Please note: These are MY insights based on MY experiences and the things I have learned. These are NOT Gods words. You may see things COMPLETELY differently. Its ok for people to be different 🙂
I have been married once. The divorce was final in 2002. Ive been (pretty much) single ever since (except for a few months in 2009).
I knew after that marriage disaster that I had no idea about Gods plan for men and women. So I decided to find out!
First God led me to Christian counsellors, to deal with some of my own junk. Then God led me to a Christian Relationship Coach (Deborah).
Then much later I read a profound book by Dr Miles Munroe, a book called “The purpose and power of men” and the sequel of the same name but for women. Wow. Amazing books. I strongly recommend them.
Then, inspired by the Purpose book I dug deeply into scripture to find out what God says about men and women. I was very surprised to find out what scripture REALLY says… not just what religious people SAY that it says.
I have shared a lot of what I have learned in my Christian Men blog (http://christianmen.wordpress.com) but if I had only a short time to share just a few insights… it would be these…
1. Marriage is very very very important to God. It is hated by the enemy and he works hard at stopping Godly marriages, or he tries to bring together people who shouldnt be together. He will try to mismatch people, by joining someone who has a massive calling to someone who is physically attractive (meeting a need) but who does not have the faith and devotion to walk the same path. In this way he disables the first persons calling. Thats why the bible says we must be equally yoked.
2. We all need to feel love and we expect to feel love in a marriage. The book 5 Love Languages explains why one person can frantically love another, but the other never feels loved. We need to learn to love each other in the other persons love language. Hardness of heart may prevent one person from wanting to change in order to learn how to love his or her partner. Failure is then likely, because of hardness of heart.
3. Assuming you werent tricked or manipulated into marriage… then… if you chose someone and felt love, then what you need is inside your partner. We may not be aware of what we need… but what we need IS inside the one we chose. I learned this when I read about how we form an “imago” of the ideal person. We look for a combination of what we liked in our parents (eg financial stability) AND we also look for what we didnt get which we needed (eg physical safety). What you didnt get and you need is in the person you chose!
4. Keeping a soft heart is essential. But both people have to do that, not just one person. That would be an abusive relationship and that is NOT Gods plan for marriage. You cant save your partner. That person needs to be responsible for themselves and speak up for themselves and say what they need, or what they dont like, or whatever. Forgiveness is essential to having a soft heart. The bible says dont go to sleep angry. This is hard to do, but please work things out. Talk.
5. Together with your partner, focus on the calling that God gave you as a *couple*. Focus on the words that others prophesied over your marriage. Search the scriptures for Gods heart for your marriage. Declare His words over your marriage.
6. Although its not written in the bible, apparently ancient Jewish tradition says that the couple would come together initially every night after their wedding to restate their vows to each other. Then weekly for a while. Your vows… assuming they have not been broken… are sacred. What did you promise to that other person? What did they promise to you?
7. It is essential to realise that men and women are very different. We have to consciously choose to learn about each other. We have to adapt and compromise and learn new meanings for words that we thought we understood. For example: generally speaking she wants to make love, and he wants to have sex. So… he needs to learn how to make love, and she needs to learn how to have sex. It goes both ways.
8. Think back to when you fell in love with that person. What was it you did with them back then? Go do those things again now.
Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world and we are fallen people. We make mistakes. There should be forgiveness. We should know better. We should do the right thing. We should.
But sadly sometimes things dont go as planned.
For the past few weeks God has opened my eyes to women as I go about my day. I could see the dissapointment… what she thought life would be like, and now, what it is. The reason is the work of the enemy in our lives.
But it doesnt have to be like this. We can do it His way. Jesus Christ came to give us life and life abundantly!
If things do go wrong and for some reason it cannot be fixed, then try to live with integrity as you do what you think is the right thing. Be prayerful. Let trusted others speak into your life. Dont rush. Exhaust the alternatives.
When I went through my divorce I maintained right to the end that God can heal anything. It took 18 months and it almost killed me. Divorce is shockingly painful. And Im glad it is… because its a POWERFUL deterrent to doing that again.
I realised that one day I may be married again and I expected my future partner to quiz me about how I handled the breakup. She will want to know… did I cut and run, or did I stay and fight for it? She will want to know, because she wants to know how I will handle pressure if it happens to us.
Therefore, my advice is: do your very best and fight for your marriage. Then if it fails, which I hope it doesnt, but if it does you can sleep well knowing you tried.
God can heal anything
I gave this advice (to do your absolute best) to a woman several years ago. She bailed out three months later and her husband fought for the marriage. Now, two years later, he is doing well and walking with God and she is stuck in anger.
I have seen couples who pulled through but never managed to find love again… what an awful limbo existence… that isnt marriage, its religion. If you decide to stay together then do it on the explicit agreement that you will both learn how to love each other the right way and try to meet each others needs. Dont live in an awful limbo of religion where on your lips you claim to be married but in your heart you are single.
I have seen a couple who were in serious trouble with cheating etc and when I explained the love languages book, they pulled through and found happiness… for a while.
I once saw a couple where the man was unsure what he wanted. I told the lady to get on with her life, go be the best and most attractive lady that she can be and when she did that he saw the attractive lady he originally fell in love with and he came back. They were in love and happy again.
Everyone is different. Every relationship is different. The solutions are different.
In my search to find out how to do marriage right, I searched for couples who had grown old together. I interviewed them. (Im a very practical guy). I learned a few tips…
1. every couple goes through tough times and if you make it through, then you grow old together
2. everyone wants a divorce at some time, but if its only one of you that wants it then you will pull through. But if you both want it at the same time then its real trouble
I also picked up a few tips when I watched a few interviews with old couples who still love each other…
1. look after the other person every day… and they must do the same for you
2. listen to each other
3. be best friends
But. We must avoid religion. Marriage is not a jail.
Keep in mind the covenant that we made and what was made to us. It has to go both ways. If one person breaks the covenant then the other person is released. But first try and forgive and be reconciled and restored. God can heal anything.
Keep in mind what Gods plan is for your marriage. Marriage must have a Kingdom focus. What does God want to do through you guys? (Do you know?)
I cant end this without giving some more good advice from scripture… and there is SO much of it in there!
1. God designed men and women differently, each have different strengths and needs, and people (regardless of sex) also have different needs. Become aware of each others needs and try to help meet them. But remember this must go both ways.
2. Be faithful to one another, put the other person first… but this has to go both ways, otherwise you end up being a doormat
3. Generally speaking men need admiration and women need love according to Eph 5. He needs to learn what she thinks being loved entails. She needs to learn what he thinks admiration is. Then you do it for each other. Again, it cant be just one way.
4. Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy. Kindness. Generosity. Longsuffering. Again it must go both ways.
5. Be angry, but dont sin. Yes. The bible says its ok to be angry. But dont take it too far and let it become sin.
6. Christ MUST first be the head of the man, otherwise when a woman submits to him she could be in serious difficulty. Ladies, marry someone who has a walk with Christ that you admire so that you want to submit to him – in order to be a part of that walk.
7. Marriage is an example of Christ and His bride. If you want to understand how marriage works then spend time reading about how Jesus Christ has interacted with His bride. Think about how Jesus Christ interacts with you. Be honest. Dont be romantic about Christ and His bride, be real about it.
And lastly… may I remind you… feelings are where the enemy plays havoc. But faith is where God does His work. Get your faith sorted out first before doing anything. Yes feel your feelings, but walk by faith.
God bless you.
it’s about serving/loving the *other* person…
Yes… as long as they serve and love you too. Marriage goes both ways.
Its certainly not about being a doormat, giving and never receiving or being taken advatage of.
This is such a great post Mark, Thank you for sharing your experience…
May we all want to work on our marriages and have them Christ centered.
Marriage isn’t about us getting our own way, it’s about serving/loving the person.
This says it all: “1. look after the other person every day… and they must do the same for you
2. listen to each other
3. be best friends”
Eve was taken out of Adam. Apart they are not whole. Together they are whole.
Each has strengths and weaknesses. Together they make up the rounded whole.
Thats why we must be aware of our needs and also be aware of our partners needs.