Marriage, God, and Magic Formulas

Everywhere I go we talk about marriage lately.

I’m reading 3 “wife” books right now.

The pastor is preaching Ephesians.

I’m married. My husband’s married. Most of my friend’s are married…

See? It’s an epidemic!

I’ve been itching to sit down and write about it all! But feeling a little too young because February will mark only my fourth year of marriage…

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My hope in writing this is that any other young women who reads this can be encouraged and challenged. None of these thoughts come from my own experiences, but what I am hearing from people and authors I respect.

First, two of my favorite quotes from You and Me Forever:

“Being in battle together is what keeps us from being at war with each other.”
(Francis Chan)

“Regardless of how satisfying your marriage is or isn’t, the real issue is how satisfied you are with God. Whether your marriage is full of joy or pain, God’s glory is at stake. Do you need to shift your focus on Him? There are many, many Christians caught up in their own personal satisfaction, giving no thought to the way in which their lives show a deep satisfaction in God. Where is the willingness to forego a feeling of happiness for the sake of God’s glory? No, we are clawing for our rights, and forgetting there is something far more immense and cosmic going on.”
(Lisa Chan)

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Some marriage books teach this method:

“If I do this (seemingly selfless act) then my husband will be compelled to (some sort of act I selfishly desired).”

How selfish. Deceitful and manipulative really.

And… Am I REALLY surprised that I was often disappointed when I tried this? Not because of any flaw of my husbands. But because I did everything for the wrong reasons. Why should he think that I was expecting to be owed some gift, or a sort of groveling gratitude, for a sacrifice that appeared to be (and should have been) made out of love?

Did I deserve any reward?

He often acts purely out of love for me, without expecting anything in return. Nor do I often think myself indebted to him for his loving me so well.

Talk about a double standard!

My latest reading talks about trying to focus on bettering our marriage in God’s eyes. Learning to be married as He designed it. Not as the world deems good. Trying not to compare our marriage to others, because no one knows how a perfect Holy marriage should look any better than God.

My relationship with Christ should be the basis of everything.

If I fall deeper in love with Christ … I will become better equipped to love my husband.

As I work at being more Christlike in sacrificing and becoming selfless … that should naturally over flow into my relationship with my husband. (and consequently with parenting and every other relationship I have.)

That’s all.  I like it so much more than the “marriage formulas” I have tried before.

 

Focusing our everything on God, helps all else fall into place. There is definitely good advice to be had from books and those further along than us, but I’m learning to remember my relationship with God takes precedence.

Ignore the old formula: 1. God 2. Spouse 3. Kids 4. All else

Instead I’m learning that the happiest marriage will come from two people who focus on God ALONE. Separately, as well as together, both parties trying to be the best they can be as HE created them. Doing everything possible with every ounce of their life to bring glory to Him…

And everything else should follow suit! Because that’s how HE designed it….

1. GOD

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2. Anything else.

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