Managing Your Marriage

lifw_tight_ropeOuch! That’s a tough title to follow-up with!  However, having been married now for almost 23 years, I have found that without managing my marriage and all of the complexities involved it can become a very difficult place to be.

This morning I would like to focus primarily on one word. Self.  This is the natural default of the nature of the human race.  On one hand it can lead to a healthy care for yourself. Taking the time you need to be healthy spiritually and physically as well as emotionally.  However, our culture has once again taken a healthy attribute of self-care and driven it to the point of perversion, selfishness.

Take a look at Ephesians 5:28–29 (NKJV)
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.  

In this verse we find that both self-care and selflessness are mentioned in the same breath.  The Lord is giving a context explaining that it is normal and natural to take care of yourself.  And then he drops the curtain and we see that caring for our wives, or by extension our husbands is the same as caring for ourselves.  Remember this, you are no longer two people but are ONE.  Care for each other.  Consider your spouse your inner voice.  Respect his or her thoughts and opinions.  Take care to take care of him or her. Your spouse is the most important person in your life hands down (I hate to even need to qualify that this does NOT mean to ACCEPT abuse from your spouse).  A healthy relationship requires that you care for your spouse as much as you do for yourself.

As a man, this concept can sometimes be foreign in a masculine church culture that expects the wife to wait hand and foot on her husband and often considers women to be below men in the pecking order or in intelligence or even spirituality.  This is not God’s plan nor is it God’s way.  I know that there are ministers that will read this and read into it things that I haven’t said, however, you may not verbalize the above statement but actions speak louder than words.  Gentlemen we need to break free from an unhealthy culture and recognize women as equal in the eyes of God (take a look at the epistles of Peter and just who was the last at the cross and first at the tomb and what gender was wise enough to anoint Christ for his burial while the men argued).  I understand that we each have different roles to play in the church and family, but that recognition needs to be reinforced with a healthy respect for one another!  This paragraph needed to be written because so much harm has been done in the name of religion and the Bible.  Our authority as men comes from Jesus and we ought to learn to act like it!  Read the verses again JUST AS THE LORD DOES THE CHURCH

As to managing your marriage, this is the point. It’s not all about you.  Personally, I can be very forgetful of this fact.  Even though when I was praying for a mate, I asked the Lord to give me someone who needed me, so that I could be there for her I still forget that it’s not all about me.

This selflessness goes for financial decisions, school and church and spiritual decisions, and sexual decisions as well.  Do you respect and seek to nourish your husband or wife in all of these areas?  I’m a stickler for beating the men up in this area, but the wife must also see that she reverence her husband, while the church culture today has often relegated women to the back of the bus so to speak the society has been doing the same to men.

If we would stop making everything about us, and recognize the value of one another, we might just find that managing our marriages would become more of a joy and less of a burden.  Men, include your wife.  I don’t mean burden her, but include her in you life, work and ministry.  She is a part of YOU. This may go against some of your training, and I don’t mean that you breach confidentiality, but she should be a part of what God is doing in your heart and soul.

Concerning work apart from ministry, remember,  your spouse may not enjoy the specifics of what you do, but he or she deserves to be included in your business in some manner.  Everyone is different, learn the rhythms of your husband or wife and what he or she can handle and how much he or she may want to be involved.

When you were married you declared before the enemy that you were becoming ONE… you shouted from the spiritual rooftops that you were doing a God-thing and the enemy took notice.  Don’t let him win.  Learn to lead and follow from the Lord.  He is amazing HE DID BOTH.  He was and is the authority in marriage and ministry and yet He also humbled himself to His Father and to the power of the Spirit while in this world doing ministry.  In Him we find both how to lead and how to follow.

God bless!