I listened to a pastor preach a sermon several weeks ago and he posed this question. What do you want the last day of your marriage to look like? When I heard this I thought that was quite a morbid question....then as I pondered more I realized how amazing that question really was. How do I want my marriage to end?
It is the farthest thing from our mind when you propose. You don't think....what will the last day be like as we enter into this exciting time of our lives? On our wedding day we say words like “till death do us part” and “for better or for worse”, but do we do we think past the surface to when the marriage ends what will be the state of it?
Will it be long and pleasurable
Full of years of happiness and joy together
Looking back in retrospect satisfied with how it was navigated Love that is deep and intimate
Two lives that worked in communion with Christ and each other
Filled with brokenness
Pain and despair
Broken promises and destroyed trust
Loss of hope and a soul tattered
Children’s hearts torn between two parents
Think about our culture and how it focuses so much on creating the perfect wedding day.
Millions of dollars are spent each year trying to create that perfect day. So much thought is put into the experience of 4-6 hours. It is a special day, but what happens the next day, week, months and years. How much time is spent in preparation for those.....I would venture to say not as much time or money is spent in preparation.
After those 4-6 hours of planned bliss is when our lives and hearts become tested to the covenant and commitment put forth on the wedding day. Life begins and reality will creep back in slowly. It can be real messy bringing two lives into one marriage. Each person brings “stuff”into the marriage. I can speak from my marriage openly and honestly.
We each brought our pasts (good and bad) into this marriage.
We both have some great qualities that God has truly blessed us with, but those aren't what almost destroyed our marriage. I brought some deep struggles that affected our intimacy and oneness. I had an addiction to pornography and lust. I brought a need to feel worthy and perform for others approval. These issues coupled together don’t make a recipe for a marriage that is characterized by serving one another. God calls us to lay down ourselves for one another. Putting aside our own selfishness to serve the partner in the marriage.
Sharing life together.
Intimacy that is authentic and giving.
Hearts and desires that are focused on God's best
Don’t these all sound like fairy tale ideals when you look at our culture today.
We are taught that we are to:
Be all we can be.
Have it our way
Look out for number one
And so on with the “self centered” ideals
We are staring at a battle against the culture.
It is all about making yourself feel good in whatever way you feel at that moment. I won't even get into the culture of sex, lust and promiscuity. This is what fuels our culture right now!
So....put all these things together and the last day of millions of marriages happen in despair each day. God designed it to be so much more! I want different. I want the fullness that God promises.
How do you get that?
“Define the ending and live backwards”
Decide how you want your marriage to end and live backwards with all of the decisions based upon that premise. I desire to have a Christ centered, intimate relationship with my wife. I want our last days to be ones without regret of what we should have done differently. I want to spend as much time with my “best friend”. I desire to serve this woman and build her up to where she is radiant....not beat down.
In order to get that ending.......my life is lived each day by decisions to achieve that ending. I fight for our marriage by staying focused on Christ.
I have to check my motives and intentions each day
I MUST TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE (We live in a lust controlled culture) I try and serve others to squash my pride
LOVE as Christ LOVED
Sounds easy when as I write it down.....it gets messy as you try to live it out. Life is hard at times! Writing it down is the first step though. Then share with your spouse.
Goals need to be shared so they can become a reality. If you have an accountability group share this with them. The more people that can "spur you on towards love and good deeds"Hebrews 10:24.....the better. We are not called to stand alone in this fight. God wants to give us community to survive and thrive within. One of the greatest tools of the enemy is the lie that we are alone. That no one else struggles with your sin issue.....Wrong....bring it into the the light....expose this lie and gain God's power and grace with others!
How do you want to your last day of marriage to look? Will you take time to write them down? Will you share with someone else who can encourage you? Will you take the first step to fight for God's best in your marriage?
Maybe you already have...Keep pushing in!
Maybe you're ready to throw in the towel.....don't.....give God one more chance and room to work!
Andrea and I would love to share our story and hearts with you. More importantly we would love to listen to your story and where you are right now. We believe that no marriage is too far from Gods restoration.