Even if you are a Christian, love Jesus, and have the best intentions when it comes to marriage and relationships, it’s quite possible that you might make certain assumptions about marriage. IN FACT, the very fact that YOU have such great intentions is what can make you susceptible to these assumptions. So why does it matter to talk about this or write about it? Because assumptions will lead to frustration.
Make no mistake. Christ as an anchor in a marriage is the best thing a marriage can have. It’s like having an entity there to check each person and hold each person to higher standards than society can. It’s awesome when done right but we often forget that we still have work to do.
Some of these may be a bit shocking, but have an open mind and seek Godly counsel to help break this down further if you need to. You can also post questions and thoughts in the comments section below.
Ok. Here we go:
1) If you start right, it’ll stay right:
Yes…this is a myth. Starting right is critical but staying right is a day to day thing. Have you ever had or heard of a teacher who says on the first day of class that “Everyone has an A-grade but the work comes in maintaining that grade”? It’s just like that even in Godly marriages.
I have never met or heard of a couple get married and say “I can’t wait to get a divorce” or “I can’t wait to grow apart”. Have you? Probably not. Every couple that grows apart or gets divorced didn’t start looking forward to divorce.
Just because you started right… met at Bible study or on a mission’s trip, doesn’t guarantee marital success.
Find a married couple you can talk to, and ask them how quickly (and easily) a nice/normal day can turn into 48hrs of passive-aggressive toxicity and you’ll be shocked at what you hear if they really open up to you.
Now where does the Jesus factor come in? It comes in to play when in the midst of that toxicity, hurt or pain, Love can still find a way in.
2) The man is the head so the woman doesn’t need to be involved in critical decision making:
Men need to be especially careful about this. Just because a man is the head of the home does not mean a woman is somehow less intelligent or less capable of making great decisions and of leadership. If your marriage is going to work…if your wife is going to feel like she is not taken for granted, you need to create space for her to take the lead in some areas and some decisions. In fact, it will be highly beneficial for you.
This won’t make you less of a leader. It will simply make you a leader that is not threatened by his wife.
Ladies…this applies to you too. Don’t pick and choose when you are going to be an able life partner. Don’t get super-efficient and solution driven when it comes to doing the things in your “woman world” but when it comes to high stakes decisions or changes at home that needs all hands /minds on deck, you gladly claim the “Men are the leaders” clause. If you do this, you won’t be helping to alleviate the pressure on him….and when he sees that you are not interested, he will start making them without you.
3) If I’m too busy serving the Lord to be a good spouse, my spouse shouldn’t mind:
Yes he/she will…and so will God. God doesn’t give you a spouse as an experiment. You know…this is just one extra tool in your ministry…if you like it you can use it, if you don’t, you can put it to the side.
You want to know the other truth? Let me tell you. You see, sometimes it is simply easier to bury yourself in “work/ministry” than to work out what needs to be worked out in your life.
And this is not a male thing as many assume. There are many women who will bury themselves in cooking and cleaning and the popular one….THE KIDS, and play victim rather than face their own impatience, selfishness, tongue of fire, or defensive spirit.
4) My spiritual parents/leaders are just as important as my spouse:
Make no mistake. Spiritual leaders are very important. But not more important than your wife or husband.
Husbands…don’t just take orders even from well-intentioned spiritual leaders without considering your wife. As a husband, God gives you special authority and ability to manage the affairs of that home and He will hold YOU accountable for it. In fact:
Men: If you can’t make independent spiritual decisions for your home, you are not ready to be a husband. Fix that and do it now. The Bible asks us to leave our parents (BIOLOGICAL AND SPIRITUAL) and cleave to our wives.
Ladies: This is for you too. Many women fall into this trap. Especially those who had “spiritual parents” before marriage. It is sooo important to LEAVE AND CLEAVE. The moment the words of your “spiritual parent” constantly hold more weight than your husband’s, there is a problem.
Am I saying dump your spiritual parents? Of course not! Are you kidding? They are so important. What I AM saying, is that the NATURE of that relationship changes.
-If your spiritual parents are still telling you exactly what to do regardless of what your spouse says, there is a problem.
-If your spiritual parents are telling you to do things that constantly put you at odds with your spouse, there is a problem.
-They should be giving you advice that will bring you two together and both of you closer to God. They should be teaching you how to reduce so your spouse can increase.
4) My Christian spouse won’t hurt me:
As Tamar Braxton would say, “Lies you Tell!” Look. Just because someone is a Christian…just because someone cares deeply about you, doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t hurt you. Even when they have the best intentions, hurt is still very possible. The intensity, length and damage may be less because they are a Christian, but it doesn’t mean the relationship is hurt proof.
Actually….(clearing my throat)
The truth is that when two people care about each other, they usually DON’T INTEND to hurt each other and so that means when we hurt each other even in a Christian marriage, its mostly UNINTENTIONAL…and since its unintentional, the intensity of hurt is usually not determined by the causer…but by the receiver of the hurt!!! In other words, it is quite possible that we ourselves…not the instigator, are the causes of our pain simply by how we process this unintentional event of hurt.
If you have a spirit of offense for example, or if you carry unhealed pain, you will be hurt more often and with more intensity. Part of your prayer has to be that God should take away that spirit of offense.
5) I am a good person…so I can tolerate my spouse:
You have something else coming. First of all, the Bible makes it clear to us over and over again… in the falls of great people, and in explicit verses like Rom 3:10 that says “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one” and ones like Rom 3:23 that says “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”
You are not inherently good by God’s standards. None of us are….and marriage is going to prove it to you. If you think your goodness, patience, tolerance and whatever else is going to cut it to love another human being the way that their creator wants them to be loved, you are lying to yourself and you will be frustrated.
6) I love my husband and the Lord and so submitting to him should be easy
Did Peter not love Christ? Did Moses not love God? What about Judas? Or Jonah? They all loved God and yet at times…even critical times, they found it hard to submit to Him. Do you love God more than these people?
Submission and obedience does not come automatically with love. It SHOULD but it doesn’t. (Especially the way that we in this generation have been raised to see love). It is a separate ability that God needs to work in you as a woman today.
A note to Men: Submission isn’t always immediate even in a Godly marriage. It’s something that God has to build in your wife THROUGH YOUR EXAMPLE AS YOU SUBMIT TO GOD AND TO HER. #NUFFSAID #LeadByExample
7) I love my wife and the Lord so loving her like Christ loved the church should be easy:
Men…loving your wife is one thing…but God wants you to love her like Christ loved the church. MONUMENTAL difference. Loving your wife is easy…who wouldn’t love a woman that loves him? But to love her like Christ loves the church? When she does things that defies logic? When she says those words that pierce you in the heart, when she “suddenly remembers and claims the weaker vessel clause”. Praying for her when she has hurt you. Keeping cool when her attitude stinks…being a mediator for her with God even when she gets a Master’s degree in nagging? Even Moses couldn’t handle it. You know why?
BECAUSE IT TAKES THE SPIRT OF GOD
You know why this isn’t easy for many of us? Because:
8) We are both strong believers so it’s safe to assume we are on the same page about important issues:
This will get you and your spouse frustrated. OFTEN. Why? Because we are all at different levels of our faith development with God…because while we may believe the same things, we may VALUE them differently…because one person may have had personal revelation about something that the other person is yet to get…because we have different life experiences…because of a million other reasons.
NEVER assume that your mutual belief in God is a guarantee for effective communication. Christ provides a framework, but YOU have to communicate.
The bible doesn’t say “Can two walk together unless they are Christians”. It says “Can two walk together unless they AGREE” (Amos 3:3)
Don’t assume agreement…talk about it and clarify it. (I explain this thoroughly in my FREE eBOOK:
HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR VALUES ARE ALIGNED-A GUIDE TO AVOIDING RELATIONSHIP FRUSTRATION
9) I am bringing a lot to the table:
NO you are not. Let me share what I have learnt about a Godly marriage.
So either your patience is serving your spouse or it means nothing…either your intelligence is serving your spouse or it means nothing.
People talk about how they are “bringing something” to the table as if it were something to bargain with” whereas, Christ brought ALL of his Love/Glory/Blamelessness etc to the table and wasn’t even sure if anyone would recognize it.
10) We are both Christians…so forgiveness will always be easy:
Nothing could be farther from the truth. Not that a relationship with Christ shouldn’t make it easier, but forgiveness becomes hard for us because the very assumption that it should come easy, makes us take each other for granted.
We become less protective of the other persons emotions, needs, and heart. We hurt our spouse, mumble an “I am sorry” and then wonder why they aren’t “chippy-happy-go-lucky” right away. We forget that we are to be protectors of our spouse’s hearts. We forget that when they are in pain, our job is to heal.
Here is the scarier thing: Married people will tell you that when it comes to pain and hurt, marriage can produce both extremes. Meaning, when you get married, no one can make you happier than your spouse if they put some effort into it; but no one can hurt you like your spouse either. Why? Because your spouse has unprecedented access to you. That’s why they can make you so happy…and that’s why sometimes…even when they don’t mean to, they can hurt you deeply.
So yea…newsflash. Forgiveness in marriage is not automatic and is not always super easy…because when our spouses hurt us, it can go deeper than normal. That said, Christ as the center of a home …as the mediator of a home, makes it soooo much easier.
It is not the “status” of “Christian” that makes forgiveness easier in marriage. It is the remembrance of the fact that Christ gave all when we ourselves didn’t deserve it, that He loved us before we knew Him…and remembering that we must strive to be like Him that gives us the grace to forgive.
So how do we make it easier for forgiveness to flow in marriage? We heal the pain first, then fix the person. Sure our spouse may have been the cause of their own pain…sure they may have taken something out of context that we didn’t mean…sure they may be behaving negatively towards us when we don’t deserve…but our first job is to heal…THEN fix. That’s what Jesus did- in the storm…healing the sick and so many times. When people were in pain, He healed first. He solved first and then fixed them.
11) We love each other so sex will be frequent and fulfilling.
Here is the reality. Two people can love each other and still not be sexually fulfilled in marriage. Sexual fulfillment requires a deeper understanding of the sexual and emotional needs of each other, and that takes work. It will take opening up. It will take BOTH of you talking about your needs. It will take wives not assuming that men have sex all figured out and it will take men remembering that other things do for women what sex does for the man. It will take for the man not operating under pressure to “perform”. It will require wives transitioning from “shielding their bodies against men” to “feeling safe to enjoy and explore sex”. It will take wives not leaving the sexual pursuit to men and it will take men caring about what she gets out of it too.
All these don’t have to be issues in your marriage if you have realistic expectations and especially if you go through good Godly marital counseling, if you find married couples who are willing to be open with you, if you yourselves are willing to be open… and if you make sure you are not depending on the stamp of Christianity to do YOUR HOME WORK for you.