Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Sustaining a Solid Marriage

I have been thinking a lot lately about what I champion and what is really important to me. What am I passionate about? What inspires me and drives me? These are questions that I think we should all think about if we want to live an intentional life. When we figure out the answers then we know what kind of story we are living out. And I don't know about you...but I want to live a story worth telling.

 I think that finding these answers takes a lot of reflection and self-discovery. It takes simplifying and clarifying your life. But it also takes a ton of growth. If we don't push and expand ourselves, we remain stagnant. It sounds oversimplified, but I know of too many people living stagnant, uninspired lives with too little purpose driving them. It's never too early and it's never too late.  I do say this often, but we are called to so much more than going through the motions and dragging through the day-to-day grind!

So today and ongoing I will be sharing some of my "pillars" and things I hold myself accountable to what's important to me in life and to hopefully inspire someone else to do the same. We are made to live with purpose and passion... and that's what we will start diving into in this little corner of the www today. Note: this post includes affiliate links. For you, this means that purchasing an item through my specific link supports Look Upon the Light. A commission may be earned at no cost to you. See my full disclosure here.

That said...what is the first pillar I champion? Solid Marriage.

Marriages that are healthy, biblical, strong, flourishing, thriving, thrilling, holy, and prospering.

Why is this a big deal to me? 

Did you know that born-again Christians have the same likelihood of divorce as do non-Christians? On top of that, 33% of Christians who marry will divorce. That source is here (and it's old, so I'm sure the numbers are higher) and you can read the rest of the statistics to see why this is such a pressing matter. It is obvious that the enemy is waging war on the family unit. Out of 8 marriages in my immediate-ish family, there was only one unbroken one, but it ended in death...and I'm not even sure how healthy it was. I don't mean anything offensive by that to my people, but I say it to point out that it ends with me. I haven't been left a legacy of strong, godly marriage, but that's okay. I just have to shift that paradigm in my life. Do work. Sow effort. Determine to tell a different story. So praise God that my husband and I are intentional about this and work as a team in creating a new legacy for, hopefully, generations to come.

I recently read a book about children of divorce, and I honestly think that the trauma it leaves in its wake is so taboo that the suffering is more than we will ever know. I have read that it leads to a generation that is at higher risk for chaotic relationships, STD's, and confusion about life's purpose. This is not okay! In that same book, the author actually says that studies show that children do better in unhappy homes than in split homes. Kind of chilling, huh? Also, the author writes: "Divorce is not something we simply get over. It is a life-altering fracture in our families, and we continue to deal with the repercussions of that break for the rest of our lives...[it] can be like a death that never stops."

I say ALL of that to say...divorce is a real problem, especially in the Church...where it should be the strongest and the healthiest! This is a pillar that must be lived out both on the offense and defense. These days there are too many GOOD and FREE resources to have a lot of excuses. It's not like it used to be where your only option is to go to "therapy" and good luck getting your spouse there. Seriously, the resources are endless: books, podcasts, YouTube videos/sermons, webinars, conferences, retreats, classes, apps, etc. Obviously, I know there are always exceptions and it hurts me for people who find themselves in situations they never meant or wanted to be in, but I think that at the root of almost every broken relationship, someone is not getting some kind of need met. In marriage, we have a responsibility to meet each other's needs first and foremost. Do that, and keep your priorities in order of God, spouse, children (if applicable), and others. Even when it's hard. Even when it sucks. Even when you're confused. Even when you have regrets. Even when it feels like you're alone and it's one-sided.

I've said this before, but the more you work on being who your spouse needs then you will be surprised just how much they are who you need. It's the irony of marriage: the more selfless you are, the more your needs are met. THIS is how you beat the tragic statistics! Every day should include thoughts and actions on how I can better honor my man and our marriage. We really just have to continually serve each other.

Marriage is never easy. Ours is amazing and we have curated the most incredible life together but it took a few years to hit our stride and figure out what the heck we were doing...I was very naive of what it meant and took to be a wife in the beginning...and it does take a lot of work and investment. Don't get me started on how my man has the patience of Job. He is the epitome of strength of steadiness and security...and I'm just really grateful for that and try to not take it for granted. He is my home + my adventure. He calms me + drives me wild. He accepts me fully + pushes me to a higher level. Really, I adore him more than I can express. Just know that we didn't get to this place passively.

Some of the very basic things we do (it doesn't have to be complicated!) are try to eat meals at the table after praying together, go to bed at the same time, and spend quality time together sans phones, and pray for our marriage in general. Since I mentioned going to bed, let's just say...the Church has made "sex" some taboo cuss word...but guess what? It's holy. Yes, I am serious. It has definitely been the victim of perversion in our culture, but it was created as a way to glorify our Creator (within the confines of marriage covenant), and it's one of the ways you have to keep each other's needs met. This does not apply to your fiancĂ© or your boyfriend or your girlfriend...but I digress. Pleasing your spouse sexually is a responsibility. It's not an option, and yes I went there.

I want to see more godly marriages! The bottom line is this: marriage is so much more than just a's a covenant between two people and the Lord. It's holy. It's sacred. And it's time for us to live like it. We have to take our commitments more seriously!! This is way past Dating 101. I am no expert and I am no counselor. But I am a wife, and I take that calling so very seriously. It's an honor and a that's why I am so passionate about it. There are several books I like to recommend to everyone about marriage (no matter the relationship status), so I'll share those below. I also have a private Facebook group that I manage for ladies about being a godly and healthy wife. Reach out to me if you would like to join. :)

Right now I'm in the middle of a Bible study on biblical womanhood, and I am learning so much about gender roles and how intentional God was when He created Adam and Eve. His plans and purposes are beyond any capacity that we could dream up for ourselves. Ultimately I am being reminded of the purpose of marriage. Marriage between a husband and wife is symbolic of the covenant between Christ and the Church. This isn't a theology lesson, so I won't go too deep here, but I think you could easily study this topic every day for the rest of your life and never exhaust its depths. It's so rich! 

There's an entire spectrum of marital statuses these days maybe starting with intolerable, legally existent, separated, unhealthy, miserable, etc. Somewhere in the middle you might find tolerant, comfortable, status quo, "okay", functional. But what should be our aim? Everything I listed above! 

Healthy. Biblical. Strong. Flourishing. Thriving. Thrilling. Holy. Prospering.

This is what we are made for! This is how it should and could be! There is an active spiritual battle to deprive us of these qualities in our marriages. So we can't be passive or silent anymore. Times are critical, and it's time to fight back! Be aggressive. Fight, protect, and defend your marriage as if your life depends on it. Get on your knees in prayer for it.

Some critical components for a strong relationship include healthy boundaries, effective communication, quality time (phones and devices are depriving us of this), efficient home management, solid teamwork, aggressive elimination of sin, vulnerable transparency, and intentionality. None of this is simple, but like I said, the resources are endless. We need to hold this special relationship to a way higher standard.

We reap what we sow, so what are we sowing into our marriages?

All of the information I've shared is just a small glimpse of why this is important to me. And truthfully, a biblically strong marriage has so many more facets and attributes than any blog post could ever cover. I've just shared some thoughts to get us thinking and to promote the importance of it. There's SO much more I could say about this topic...and I'm no professional. I just clearly feel very strongly about it, and it's a topic I frequently pursue in my own personal development. I certainly don't think our marriage would be where it is if not for the Holy Spirit, but I do think that He expects/equips/empowers us to WORK FOR IT. It doesn't come easily, and that's just keeping it real. Nothing worth having does. But the beautiful thing is the outcomes it brings. Marriages this side of Heaven will never be perfect...they are only a symbol of ultimate and best love story, but one day we will sit at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, and all will be right forever and ever...amen. I am just saying that how we choose to live today, especially in our marriages, makes an eternal difference.

I plan to share more soon some information and resources for wives in particular. I am not the best wife ever by any means and have a long way to go but it's something that I stay cognizant of and strive to work toward. I love learning from women farther along in this journey as well as passing down what I learn to those behind me. That is biblical. I am so thankful for mentors in my life and those who set a solid example for me and others to learn from. So I think it's important that, as wives, we equip and encourage each other in the journey. We are all in this together!! 

Be encouraged today. 

Do something special for your spouse today.

Fight for your marriage today. 


Recommending Reading on Marriage:

The Mingling of Souls by Matt Chandler

You and Me Forever by Francis Chan

The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller

Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

Marriage on the Rock by Jimmy Evans


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