Marriage thriving? Marriage struggling? Marriage mediocre?
It might seem simplistic, but here are three questions that can transform your marriage:
Do you believe that there is a God?
Are you willing to apply the principles of God’s Word to your life?
Will you pray for the Spirit of God to strengthen you and your spouse?
I believe, regardless of your marital condition, that God can change your marriage.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” – Romans 15:13
Be Strong. Act Like Men.
The prophet Samuel listened carefully to God when Jesse brought out his sons. One by one, Jesse’s sons came before Samuel. And one by one, God said, “I have not chosen him.” Samuel could have easily decided that the oldest son was the best choice. After all, in those days, the oldest son was almost always chosen to receive the blessing. Or he could have chosen the strongest son because a King should be a strong leader. But Samuel did not choose the son that looked the best. He listened to God because God’s way is always the best way. Finally, Jesse brought in his son, David. He was the youngest of eight sons. He was probably a teenager.
He had the lowly job of taking care of the family’s sheep. When he entered, the Lord told Samuel, “Get up and anoint him. He is the one.” (1 Samuel 16:5) God had been looking at the hearts of these men. God said that David was a man after His own heart (1 Samuel 13:14). David loved and trusted the Lord.
Samuel obeyed the Lord. He poured oil over David to anoint him as the future King of Israel. He made the right choice because he depended on God’s wisdom.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” – Proverbs 3:5-6
Remember that you cannot trust in your own wisdom. In every decision you make, turn to God. You are not able to see all that God sees. His way is always the best way. Pray to Him, read His word, and listen to the Holy Spirit, and you will always know what to do. Let God be your guide as a husband.
Be Strong. Act Like Men.
God anointed Saul as King over His people, but Saul became proud and disobedient. When God wanted to replace Saul, He did not look for a new king the same way everyone else did. Instead, God looked at how a person really was on the inside. God saw that David was a man who loved and trusted Him.
The Lord gave His prophet, Samuel, an important job. The Lord sent him to the home of an Israelite man named Jesse. There, Samuel would anoint one of Jesse’s eight sons as the next King of Israel. Which son would Samuel choose? If Samuel were choosing by his own wisdom, it would be sort of like trying to choose the best gift just by looking at the size of the box and the color of the bow on top. But Samuel would not choose by his own wisdom. He would rely on God’s wisdom. He would listen to God’s voice.
“Do not consider how handsome or tall he is… I do not look at the things people look at. Man looks at how someone appears on the outside. But I look at what is in the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7
Which is more important to God? What is on the outside or on the inside? How does this relate to your role as a husband? What is in your heart and thoughts? Is it a show? Or is it genuine and sincere?
Be Strong. Act Like Men.
Marriage is like a fishing net. Each day fishermen use their nets to catch fish and sell them at the market.
One fisherman takes his fish from the net every day, but let’s debris from the ocean accumulate. Eventually so much debris is caught in the net that he can hardly cast it out of the boat, and when he does, it’s almost impossible to retrieve. Finally, in a fit of anger, he cuts the net loose and goes home without it. He’s unable to catch and sell fish again until he buys another net.
Another fisherman removes debris every time he retrieves the net with the fish he caught. Each time he casts his net, it’s clean and ready to catch more fish. As a result, he catches and sells enough fish to support himself and his family.
In this parable, the fish are emotional needs met in marriage and the debris are habits that cause unhappiness.
Bad marriages are like the first fisherman’s net. Selfish demands, disrespectful judgments, angry outbursts, independent behavior and dishonesty accumulate over time. The burden of the unhappiness they cause ruins a couple’s willingness and ability to meet each others emotional needs. Eventually the marriage supplies no benefits to either spouse…leading to emotional separation or divorce. Good marriages are like the second fisherman’s net. Debris is eliminated as soon as it appears, making it easy for each spouse to meet the others emotional needs.
I was getting caught up in the busyness of the the world this summer and wondering how to get everything done, and then I read this verse:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. — Romans 12:1-2
Enjoy the day!
“But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation” – 2 CORINTHIANS 1:6
What do you have that could be of benefit to others?
That’s the question you may ask yourself every time you go exploring through your attic or garage. You realize how much you tend to keep and accumulate, even when your need for these items has long subsided. Often the stuff you find crammed deep into your closets isn’t even worthy of charitable donation. It’s just junk, better thrown out with the garbage.
But when it comes to the junk in your own personal life—the mistakes you’ve made, the poor judgment you’ve exercised, the hurt you’ve caused each other—God may have a purpose for it even still. Over the years, I’ve challenged many couples to step forward as mentors. But they have their own reservations and excuses. Many feel they just aren’t qualified. They say they have nothing to share with younger adults. They don’t think they know the Bible well enough.
Many of them are simply haunted by their own mistakes—their own junk. They don’t realize that those mistakes may be among the most valuable tools they possess in teaching a younger couple about how to grow a marriage and family God’s way.
Everyone struggles with marriage and family issues. Everyone. That’s why the core curriculum for learning how to minister to other couples includes the textbook of true-life experience. Weakness and disappointment provide some of our best resources for sharing life messages with others. They provide both content and context to our instruction.
You see, it’s not junk if somebody else can use it. The only way it becomes a waste is if we’re afraid to admit we’ve still got it, if we’re unwilling to let God use our garbage for His glory.
It has been a busy summer. Graduations. Sports. Vacations. School starting back. I will confess….that my focus has not been on the Be Strong Act Like Men blog. I’ve been working on several new posts that you will see over the next several days. I am looking forward to getting back to writing.
Thanks for your patience!
Be Strong Act Like Men