Now by this title you are probably thinking that I’m about to announce a three day seminar for married couples. That’s logical, but you would be wrong! I’m thinking about marriage training that takes place in the marriage relationship as husband and wife do life together. The more I think about it, the more complicated it gets!
Think about it with me. If you say something or do something and your spouse bites your head off and hands it back to you on a platter, do you think maybe you should learn from the experience? That’s potential training. If you behave a certain way in public or in front of company and your spouse gives you the silent treatment for three to seven days (the duration is dependent on the gravity of your offense). Do you get a clue that maybe you should avoid that behavior in the future; unless of course you enjoy the silent treatment. Do we ever ask a question or make a statement in an attempt to manipulate our spouse into changing their mind about something? Or how about this one? Have you ever used your children or family member or friend to say something to your spouse hoping to bring a change of mind?
Now what about the other side of the coin? How do you feel when your spouse thanks you or praises you or honors you or encourages you or truly acts as your loving partner? How do you feel inside when your spouse brings unexpected gifts or maybe asks you for a date? What if your spouse truly honors your birthday, anniversary and other special occasions? What if your spouse truly honors you as a child of the Most High God? What about an ‘atta boy’, a compliment, a pat on the back? Does that not prompt desire for more of the same? Do we not learn from feel good moments how to perform? That is training, isn’t it?
As a husband and wife do life together, think about the multitude of times that circumstances present themselves that require us to come together and evaluate reason, consider and determine what right course to take? How do we handle ourselves as a couple? Is one or both self-centered always wanting their own way? Do we lie, cheat and manipulate each other to get our way? When times get difficult do we argue and fight, bringing dishonor and disrespect into the relationship? It is sad how many times this can escalate into emotional and even physical abuse! You see, we train each other as we live together by our words, our actions, our body language with a look, and even by separation! All this negative stuff rooted in each person’s attempt to get their love needs met!
Sadly, using the negative never produces good fruit. The negative always separates and divides us. Self-centeredness separates and divides us! Dishonor and disrespect separates and divides us! Manipulation separates and divides us! Anger, fear and shame separate and divide us! Lying, cheating and stealing separate and divide us! Addictions separate and divide us! Adultery separates and divides us! Now I know you can probably continue this list because you have life experience, so I’ll move on.
Stop and think with me again. What are we trying to accomplish in life? What are our priorities, our goals, our heart’s desires? Here is the bottom line for every human being. Without the power of Heaven in all its various forms working in our lives, mankind runs amuck! Most of us are doing our own thing completely unaware and/or uncaring that Father God has a purpose and destiny for each and every one of us! All the good fruit, the positive fruit, the delicious fruit, the powerful fruit, the life-changing fruit comes from Him! In our own strength we train each other hoping to find love, acceptance, happiness, safety and live with honor and respect, yet current statistics show that over 50% of marriages fail and that includes the church!
We know firsthand the misery people are living with in their marriage relationships. The disappointment, the hurt, the betrayal, and the fear of the future are common maladies. So many are sick and tired of being sick and tired! It seems the trials and struggles never end! Well, as my wife, Gerri, says, “what’s in the well comes up in the bucket!” What we are made of becomes evident sooner or later! The divorce rate indicates that many of us have not discovered the new life in Christ we are supposed to enjoy after we are born again.
It is amazing how many Christians have come to us for help because of their unhappiness, their pain, their anger, and their fear only to find they are living in sin and wonder why their life is so difficult! Therefore, their flesh is dominant instead of their spirit and satan has a field day with their mind and emotions because sin gives him access!
Every human being lives with the burden of love hunger! A driving force within us given by Father, Himself, as a gift of love to draw us to Him to receive the ultimate love experience He designed for humanity! Sadly, in our flesh and worldliness we search for love and happiness and life satisfaction in wrong places embracing worldly substitutes that never satisfy, but increase our disappointment and sense of failure and hopelessness!
You might say, “That is not true of my marriage because we are very happy and satisfied with our life.” OK, good. I’m happy for you because there are not many in your club. I’m happy for you if your happiness and love experience together are rooted in your personal, intimate conversational relationship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If not, you are missing out on the ultimate love experience available to you if you are a born again child of God. Human love alone can never generate the supernatural, powerful, life-changing experience that Father’s love can bring when we become an intimate part of Him!
So if you thing about the old saying ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’? How do we measure up to that? Do we treat our spouse and others with love, honor and respect, or do we allow our unhealed parts to dictate otherwise and bring defilement to the relationship? Also, remember Galatians 6:7 that says “whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap!” That’s a promise. We will get back what we give to others whether good or bad, positive or negative! So what kind of training do we want to receive in our marriage relationship? Do we want the good stuff or the bad stuff? It should be an easy decision, shouldn’t it? OK, so we want the good and positive type of training, right? If so, then it requires us to give the good and positive if we are to receive the good and positive! End of story!
One last thought…change is not change until its change! Saying we have changed, doesn’t mean we have actually changed. Time usually reveals the truth and we are proven to have changed or we are caught once again by our sin nature! For most of us, change requires intervention. Change requires learning. Change requires healing. Change requires repentance and forgiveness. Change requires love, honor and respect and someone to walk arm and arm with us as we embrace our healing journey and pursue intimacy with God! He has everything we need to bring Heaven to earth in our marriage relationship! That kind of change is over the top and beyond our greatest expectations! He’s available. Are you?