Wow! Here I am again entering the blogging world. Does anyone still blog? I guess so, since I still get email notices of some of my friends’ blogs. OK, why not? I’m wondering what it is I have to share with the world on my blog?? If we have Facebook accounts and pages, why do we blog anymore? I guess maybe because not everyone has a facebook account, or checks it that regularly? So, for now, I will believe that this blog is viable and is a space in the world that I can spout my thoughts, rants and musings freely.
Tomorrow, Melissa and I were scheduled to speak at a marriage conference here in Lira, Uganda. Unfortunately, Melissa has been attacked by what seems to be malaria. So since we are not going to be able to share in person, I believe I will share an excerpt of some of my thoughts on our topic, Marriage Maintenance. This may be a long read, (lots of thots) so just be forewarned. All Bible verses are from the New Living Translation.
Your marriage is worthy of taking time for maintenance!
Marriage starts out as a huge celebration. Everyone is excited for the newlywed couple and there is definitely an aroma of love in the air! Family and friends have joined in the celebrating and everyone is full of hope and dreams for the couple’s future together. Life is good.
But high hopes and dreams are not enough to make a marriage work and last forever. As divorce rates skyrocket worldwide, there must be something more that we need to keep our marriages strong and stop this divorce epidemic.
So, what is to blame for so many couples not going the distance? Is there one thing that we can nail it down to as a cause?
Is it — Not enough quality time together? Bitterness and resentment? Unmet sexual needs? A general lack of communication? Hmm…these are all very valid thoughts. I do believe that quality time, forgiveness, openness in intimacy and good communication is all very important. But, if we take a look at Scripture, we might see an idea of something that might lead us to the deeper issue at hand.
35 “One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap him with this question: 36 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”
Is it not true that nearly every marital problem can be traced back to one or both persons not abiding by one or both of these two laws? This is true in any relationship. When one person begins to focus on their own needs or wants rather than that of the other, problems arise. In marriage especially this is true. Marriage between two Christians, is supposed to be centered around the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of “me”.
What does that mean? It means that when there is stress or problems in a marriage it quite often can mean that someone feels like their own territory is under attack. It means that they are focused on protecting their own territory instead of God’s. It means that two sinners, saved by grace married one another, and that we are to be ministers of reconciliation
(Reconciliation: understanding, resolution, compromise, bringing together)
as believers not only to the world, but also in our marriage to our spouse and to our families. We are to have kingdom-centered marriages and families.
5 “Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.”
1 Corinthians 13:5
Are you experiencing problems with communication with your spouse? How often do you really listen to what they are saying instead of insisting that they listen to you?
17 “My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.“
Are you feeling bitterness and resentment growing toward your spouse? When was the last time you brought him or her before the Lord in prayer and truly thanked God for your relationship?
16“…Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results”
24 “Think of ways to encourage one another to outbursts of love and good deeds.”
When you follow a regular maintenance schedule with anything, you find that things fall apart less easily. So it is with relationships; you will realize that many of the issues you were having simply disappear, resulting in communications problems improving, anger and resentment are no longer a setback as forgiveness is more readily available, and you naturally want to spend more time together.
This will not take place overnight, however. There are other pressures that you may face together, such as finances, children, employment etc. But, when your relationship is solid, these things can be faced together, with God and there will be many victories.
12 “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Commit your relationship to God and make a conscious decision each day to put God and your spouse first. Then your marriage will be able to weather the storms. Be careful! You might actually have plenty of fun together along the way!
Maintaining your marriage is so vitally important! So how do we keep our marriage healthy? It takes work! Marriage is an ongoing, never ending project. We’ve got to follow a regular maintenance schedule to keep our marriages on track and here are some ideas on how to improve and maintain your marriage.
Set aside special couple time to spend alone together. This could include a time for worship or prayer together, or just cuddling up on the couch. The point is to make time to spend alone together each and every week. Give each other positive feedback on their part in the relationship. Praise one another’s efforts and discuss how your marriage is improving as well as what can be improved. Be positive!!
Here are some things you should be doing each and every day to keep your marriage healthy.
1) Honor your vows and respect the boundaries that you’ve set together for your marriage. Daily. You should always be on guard and ready to resist temptation and protect your marriage.
2) Make your spouse your priority. You should be doing your part daily to work on the agenda problems you’ve chosen. Your spouse and your marriage should come first, before all of your other commitments.
3) Make time for one another. Whether it’s an hour before bed or just time in fifteen minute spurts throughout the day, you need to make time to give each other your undivided attention.
4) Communicate. You should be talking with one another each day. Talk about your day. Ask questions. Make sure that you’re not always just talking about work, money, and the kids. Talk to one another like you would talk to your best friend. Hopefully, you are best friends! If an issue or problem comes up, discuss it. Don’t go to bed angry with one another. And be sure you say “I love you” every day.
5) Do something nice for your spouse. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. It could be doing a chore to lighten their load, a compliment, a love note, flowers or some other token of your affection. Be creative and change it up! It doesn’t matter what it is, just as long as you do something nice for their benefit.
6) Touch one another. Of course, you don’t have to make love every night, but you should both be satisfied with your sexual relationship. Talk about your needs and wants openly. Yes, it can be embarrassing, but it’s important! Also, be sure that sex isn’t the only physical expression of love between you. Make an effort to kiss every day. Give each other a hug or a pat on the back. Cuddle. Give your spouse a massage or a foot rub.
OK, so now you have some thoughts on what I think is necessary and more importantly, what God’s Word says about marriage. Thanks for making it this far! Feel free to comment with any thoughts, agree or disagree.