I was given a copy of 7 Secrets to an Awesome Marriage for this post. All opinions are my own.
This is one of the hardest posts I have ever written and yet, I know I must. Funny thing is, it's a book review, of which I do many, yet I've struggled with the words and the timing is amazing. I'm not sure amazing good or amazing bad. I guess that depends on how you look at it. You see, we are walking with friends as they embark on the journey of divorce. Walking with……. because that is what Jesus did. He walked with people, even when they weren't making the best decisions.
Divorce is more common than credit card debt in the United States. Too many people are walking into marriages with arms full and hearts empty, with too many expectations and too little understanding of what it takes to make a marriage work.
As I searched for words to write that express how I felt God reminded me, I'm called to bring his Truth to women. His truth does not change, ever.
This may sting a little…….
Unless you’re being emotionally, physically, sexually or mentally abused divorce is not the answer. Destruction of a covenant made before God would contradict God’s very nature.
I’m sorry, I know that hurts but I have to speak the truth even if it costs me followers and subscribers, or friends and family.
What I just said is truth but, we live in a fallen world and the reality is, many good people choose divorce. Many godly Christians choose divorce.
I have seen the devastation of divorce on a tender heart. I don't speak in condemnation or judgment. I do not know your story.
If you're divorced it doesn’t matter why, I love you anyway. I love you because divorce is no greater a sin than swearing or kicking the dog. I love you because I'm called to love.
I hate that we’ve been duped into jumping into marriages like we commit to a cell phone plan because hey, a two-year contract isn’t really that long. That isn’t how it’s meant to be.
Here me, divorce is not the unpardonable sin. You're not going to hell because you got divorced. That isn't my point. My point is we have been sold a bill of goods. It says divorce is the only way to fix the mistake of marriage.
I hate that, not you.
…But They Aren’t “The One” For Me
Gary Thomas wrote an interesting and timely post as I was writing this one. It stopped me in my tracks.
We think God has “the one” lined up for us but nowhere in scripture does it tell us there is “the one” waiting for us, go find them.
There are many quality individuals worthy of being our spouse, God gives us free will to choose who we want to marry. This is where a wife or husband list comes in handy. This is where seeking wise counsel comes into play and where courting becomes a wiser decision that casual dating.
When you marry and the honeymoon is over, you realize he isn’t your knight in shining armor and she isn’t the damsel in distress, what do you do?
Call it quits? Search for someone else? Walk away from the covenant you made with God? Or do you settle in, defeated but content to just get through the rest of your life with your spouse while living two separate lives?
None of the above.
The devil wants nothing more than your marriage broken and dysfunctional. He’ll go great lengths to make you believe that your marriage was a mistake and that it can’t be fixed. He’ll sneak in making you think that you are destined to a life of cohabitation with no hope of change or that freedom is just around the bend. He’ll even convince you that the next one will be different.
God aside, statics show that those who marry multiple times have a higher divorce rate. Why? If the grass is greener why are so many second and third and fourth marriages failing? Are we making the same mistakes over again with a different ring at a different address?What if the problem isn’t a problem but rather the reality of two imperfect people with imperfect families trying to build a life together?
What if every marriage is the same and the game changer is understanding that a marriage involves three, not two?
Seven or Eight years ago, I began to believe many lies about marriage. I could not see how I could go on the rest of my life the way I was (lie). I wanted more (lie), I wanted better (lie), I deserved it (lie). I had done nothing wrong (lie) to deserve being emotionally neglected. He needed to change (lie) so our marriage to thrive (lie). If he didn’t, there was no more I could do (lie) and it was going to end and end badly (lie.)
I quickly found myself with a choice to make: stay or leave. Give up on the marriage I said would be my one and only, blame him for the mistakes (after all his first marriage didn’t work, why should this one). Or, I could stay and press in even though it was hard, I was starving and it didn’t seem like change was possible.
Then one day, my pastor and soon to be dear friend asked me point blank – “Are you going to divorce him?” She didn’t judge, she didn’t devalue my feelings she asked a simple question. The question rang in my ears for hours after I left her front porch swing. This thought process seemed to go against everything I knew to be true and right.
Sometimes I don’t feel like we are twelve years into our marriage. Some days I feel like we’re still newlyweds trying to figure each other out. I forget some of the things we’ve been through and the roots we’ve grown. But this I know –a marriage will never be perfect, but at the end of the day, we made this choice before God and only God can hold together two imperfect people in a union meant to represent Christ and His Bride (the Church).
Secrets To An Awesome Marriage
Define an awesome marriage. Go ahead, take a few moments to think about what “awesome marriage” means to you.
Some common answers are:
- He meets my needs
- He understands me
- He shows me love
- She respects me
- She honors me
- She wants to be with me
- He makes me feel special
- He does stuff with me
- She helps me
Me, me, me. It’s all about me. No, not really. Even “we” statements have a root of selfishness to them “We do things together” “We share things” “ We talk more” many of these aren’t rooted in a desire to yada (know) your spouse but a selfish desire to be known and to have your needs met.
An awesome marriage isn’t defined by how great you feel about your spouse each morning. It’s defined by how well you are sharpening each other, serving each other and meeting each others needs. The beautiful paradox of a godly marriage is that each spouse seeks to meet the other’s needs and in doing so the needs of both individuals are met. Because of the grace of God.
There's a book out soon called Seven Secrets to an Awesome Marriage. It's a must read for your marriage. Author Kim Kimberling shares from his experiences in the counseling room and in his own marriage providing insight into seven key areas that we must not take for granted in our marriages.
What if an awesome marriage is really a marriage…….
- Free of baggage from the past
- Filled with healthy expectations
- Where God is first and your spouse is second
- Where you worship together, pray together and serve God together
- Where you fight well, speak wisely and don’t hold a grudge
- Where you truly know your spouse and they know you
What if that is an awesome marriage?
A cord of three strands is not easily broken. ~ Ecclesiastes 4:12
Man, woman, God – this is what makes a marriage work. An awesome marriage is not a perfect marriage. An awesome marriage is a living example of Christ and the church; sacrificial giving, yada intimacy; two becoming one.
I enjoyed reading Seven Secrets to an Awesome Marriage and I recommend it to anyone starting out their married life or even the seasoned veterans looking to strengthen what they’ve got. Kim does not paint his marriage in a perfect light but shares many storms he and his wife Nancy have been through.
The Seven Secrets are broken down to one word each – a clear cut, easy to remember word whose meaning will change the way you do marriage.
God created you and God created marriage. Who better to run to when you need marriage advice, a shoulder to cry on or arms to carry you then the One who knows marriage better than anyone else?
In every secret in this book you’ll find God standing behind the words, waiting for you to realize that the secret to an awesome marriage is not really a secret at all, its Truth you’ve never recognized.