This spring, Charlotte and I spent our Wednesday evenings with seven wonderful couples who have been married between five and ten years. We were very impressed with them. Each week, we came together to learn more about marriage, as well as what it means to be a parent. About half of our classes were spent interviewing couples who had been married for at least 20 years. Each one of these couples allowed us to ask questions about their own experiences with marriage and being a parent
One reality that we tried to stress throughout this class:
Our behavior as married people cannot be disconnected from our relationship with
There are people who pray, read their Bible, and never miss an assembly, yet they do not see a connection between these practices and how they treat their spouse.
Self-centeredness. “It’s all about me.” You know the attitude. If we are planning to go to a restaurant, there is one main issue. Is this a place I like?
Little consideration for their spouse’s feelings. Being thoughtless with words and actions.
Deception. Not being honest about where they are spending their money. Not being honest about whom they are talking to on Facebook. Not being honest about their thinking and feelings.
Rudeness. Speaking to a spouse in a way you would speak to no one else.
Here is a person who is “deeply
spiritual” but ignores his wife. There is nothing spiritual about such behavior. In some cases there is a real disconnect. Some people do not even see that there is an inconsistency with this. Some people do not comprehend what it means to live as a Christ-follower so that the marriage/family are impacted.
There are some serious implications for a person who follows Jesus and is in a family. The question that I must grapple with is not, “Am I happy in this marriage/family?” Nor is it, “Are all my needs being met here?” The questions that I begin with are questions like:
• Are the ways and teachings of Jesus impacting how I function in this family?
• As a husband/wife, am I living in obedience to Jesus’ teachings? Am I being intentional about obeying his teachings?
• In what ways am I coming to know Christ or getting closer to Christ because of what is happening in my family?
Some of us view our marriages like a can of Coke. Put your hand around the can. If feels cold. You anticipate the taste. You know that when you pop the top you will hear the fizz. Finally, you open it. You hear the fizz and you enjoy the cold drink. You drink it all and look for a place to throw the can away. One day, you see another can of coke. You are so thirsty. Again, this can is cold. You pop the top and hear the fizz.
Is that what marriage was meant to be? Are we to be a people who just look for the next cold can that promises some fizz? Or do we know that marriage is more than fizz. Fizz is nice. Yet, marriage is much more than fizz.
All around us are people who flaunt the possibility of fizz. Again and again, men and women are seduced by this possibility. It could be that a woman is attracted to this possibility because she is being ignored and neglected by her husband. It could be that a man is attracted to another woman because he attracted to the possibility of fizz.
Marriage is more than what I can get out of it in any given moment.
People who are maturing in Christ learn that fizz is only a foretaste of real joy. There is a real joy that can be experienced in marriage that is born after years of loving one another in the ordinary moments of life. Raising children. Struggling through difficult times. Looking out for one another through fun times and not so fun times.
In what ways do we sometimes allow marriage to become disconnected from our relationship with Jesus?