We all do it more than we realize; we make assumptions about people based upon their position. For example, we subconsciously think if you’re a Pastor, you don’t struggle with your walk with Christ. Or if you’re a millionaire, you’ve never struggled with making money, or if you’re a doctor, you always know exactly how to treat your sick kids, and you never worry about them. I know I thought the same thing about people who spoke on marriage at huge marriage conventions. I would think “well, it’s easy for them to tell me how to have a good marriage, because they live in some kind of dream world with no problems. I dare them to try to have a sex life with my 3 little kids in an 800 square foot home!”
When I started mission:husband, I think it was more for my own therapy than anything else. A place where I could post what I had learned the hard way in this whole marriage thing. I wanted to keep it an honest, no holes bared, down to earth, “marriage blog for normal husbands”. I don’t have a “Dr.” in front of my name, I didn’t go to any kind of counseling school. I just wanted to create a place where Christian husbands could learn how to be better Christian husbands, and do so in a “real” environment. But despite my best efforts, people somehow have the idea that Val and I have this “dream marriage” in which we never argue, always have great sex, never get annoyed with each other, never yell at the kids, always have date nights 3 times (at least) a week at a 5 star restaurant that we travel to in our own private plane, and last but not least, walk on water like Peter. Yeah, sure we do. What’s that saying about having some ocean front property to sell you in Ohio?
Let me give some insight on things we struggle with. We argue about money, we sometimes bicker over dumb little things that don’t matter, we have a hard time finding time for each other without the kids, we struggle with making a good sex life a priority, there are times we feel like we don’t know how to parent the kids effectively, we have a hard time hearing each other through our “pink or blue ears”, we struggle to find time to spend with our aging parents, while still maintaining some sort of family time. Is any of this sounding strangely “normal” to you? Yeah, thought so. Sorry ruin your imaginary picture of us. The point I’m trying to get across is this:
Just because we may blog about marriage, doesn’t mean we have any kind of “secret powder” that we put in with our shampoo each day and “POOF!” our marriage is no work at all!
It takes HARD WORK. It takes DEDICATION to making your marriage “better than average”. It takes two people willing to lay aside self, and serve the other person – even when they don’t deserve it. It takes both of you deciding that your marriage is going to come first – over the kids, over the parents, over the job, over everything else but your relationship with the Lord. It takes PRAYER together to get you through the hard times like miscarriage and broken promises. It takes an undying determination to stand up against attacks to your marriage like porn, erotica, flirting with coworkers, allowing yourself to talk negatively about your spouse in front of other people when they’re not around, or allowing your anger to take over, or not stopping to think before you speak. It takes the willingness to STUDY and LEARN your spouse – what makes them tick, what turns them on, what turns them off, what makes them smile, what makes them cry, what things their insecure about, or need to you support them in. It takes understanding that they are HUMAN, and when they MESS UP, loving them anyways. It takes Grace to forgive, even when everything in you is screaming “I don’t want to forgive you!”. It takes dedication from both of you to keeping your sexual relationship strong, even when “life” gets in the way, or it doesn’t “just happen” anymore.
I don’t know about you, but when I signed up for this whole marriage thing, I was – let’s say – “naive” about what it takes to keep a marriage running strong (understatement of the year). I found out pretty quickly that it takes more that two people simply being “in love”, and then everybody lives happily ever after.
So, your marriage has a lot of problems? Join the club! It’s where you go from there that is going to make the difference. You either choose to both roll up your sleeves and get to work, or you decide it’s too hard, call it quits, and be just as unhappy with another person five years later. There’s no “easy button” on this one, but let me tell you from experience, the reward of your hard work – knowing that one person that God gave you better than anyone else, and getting to wake up next to them for the rest of your life – is so worth the initial “pain” involved in working together to make the relationship work. Don’t give up on your marriage! Sure it’s hard or it may even feel hopeless right now, but my God is a BIG GOD, and He can do AMAZING things! Ask Him to help you both, as you commit to making your marriage a priority, starting to rebuild brick by brick, the trust that may have been lost, or together finding the joy of dating one another again, just like you did when you fell in love. No matter how “hopeless” your marriage may be right now, don’t buy into the lie that says “you’d be better off just starting over with another person, he/she just isn’t the right person for you”. As somebody once said, “you can run away from your problems, but when you stop running, you’ll notice your problems are still right there with you”. So, are you ready to get to work? Here are a few scriptures aimed at husbands that we can start working on:
He (husband) is to love her. “Husbands, love your wives, just as also Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her… In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies… each one of you is to love his wife as himself…” (Ephesians 5:25, 28, 33).
He is to be committed to her. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31).
He is to be considerate of her. “Husbands, in the same way, live with your wives with understanding of their weaker nature yet showing them honor as co-heirs of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).