Marriage is not an endurance test; it is God’s greatest empowerment strategy for a human being to become even more than they can be alone. Mark 10:7 tells us that for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
The marriage union means that the two become one spiritually straight away, but the flesh has to BECOME unified, and that is where the work is. But even though marriage is work, it can still be fun, exciting and rewarding.
Getting some fundamental understanding in place will take the stress out of the “becoming” and help you to walk in step with each other more easily.
Before you are married, your most significant relationships are with your family, but once you marry, you transfer your loyalty to your husband or wife.
That means that your wife should not have to fight off her inlaws! Men, it is your privilege to do that on her behalf! Without this there will be no mutual trust and it will be impossible to grow together to become one flesh.
In order for marriage to work, the woman must understand that she will have to relinquish her fierce independence and bring her strengths and creativity to the mission that her husband is on in life. That is what “submission” literally means: to come under the mission of another. That implies that the man should be going somewhere! It’s impossible to come under the mission of a man who has no direction and no sense of purpose, and is therefore going nowhere! A man who has to tell his wife to submit, is usually not giving her anything to move forward with.
Ladies, before you say, “I do”make sure that you will be happy to respect and follow the man you have chosen, or your marriage will be one long competition for the leading spot.
Husbands, as well as being responsible for taking the family somewhere, understand that you will have to lay down your life by letting go of that innate selfishness – that tendency to want to control everything, and have it exactly how you like it. It won’t work if everything is about the convenience of the man, and the wife becomes his servant. In marriage the man commit himself to loving and cherishing her, and making her feel like a queen.
The worse thing you can do when you are unhappy with something your spouse is doing, is to start confiding in another member of the opposite sex. Before you know it, he or she will be saying to you, “If I was married to you…” and you will have a situation on your hands! If you are unhappy with something, talking things through; being willing to value and yield to the needs of the other is going to be vital. If you feel you can’t do that because you are unsure if he or she will exploit your vulnerability, what does that say about the choice you made in picking that individual to share your life with! If that is where things are at for you, maybe it is time to re-evaluate your relationship and re-commit to being one another’s best friend and place of safety.
A healthy mature relationship is built on mutual respect. Respect means willingness to compromise, listening without invalidating, valuing your mate’s opinion, appreciating each other and being genuinely happy when the other succeeds.
Mature relationship are not built on offsetting weaknesses but rather on shared strengths. If you find that you are constantly required to prop the other up, or that you are the only one who “understands” him or her, the chances are you will be drained after a year or two.
While being supportive is a sign of a healthy relationship, sacrificing all your individual needs doesn’t actually strengthen the relationship. Mutually supporting each other’s personal growth on the other hand always strengthens it.
Don’t let yourself act possessively to try and exploit or control the one you say you love. Genuine love thrives on setting the one you love free to make their own choices. There is nothing that will build your marriage more successfully than a daily decision to choose each other freely and to reaffirm that decision in thought, word and action.
Remember, the true reward in life, this side of Heaven, is WHO you spend it with. Choose wisely and go for it!