Today, the rate of divorce continues to surprise us as we continue to believe that marriage should be a “till death do us part” kind of committment that is sacred, honourable and to be desired. We are shaken, and in awe of the many stories we hear of broken marriages, some of these marriages, we perceived to be rock solid and well on their way to celebrating their silver anniversary and more. Our children are growing up with a dim hope that they can be happily married to the same person for all their adult life. The world has changed, the family foundation and the sound moral values, that guarded marriage and the family, are now threatened by man’s wish to do as he pleases, without respect for an Almighty God. Marriages are falling as if gravity finally got a hold of them, sad but true.
But God! Despite the reality of the trend most visible in our Society, there are some marriages that make it and I mean their truly make it, not just survive but enjoy a healthy relationship that provides a sense of completeness and well-being and they do so by paying attention to the core principles (as God intended it) necessary for a successful marriage.
This blog is about inspiring others to fulfill their God-given-purpose. So, think with me, if it’s God’s intention for you to be together, then your purpose on this earth is better achieved together? Think!
If you believe this, then you will put the necessary energy and effort into making your relationship work. You will invest in your PURPOSE. It requires, communication, honesty, trust, empathy and compassion, forgiveness, loyalty, tenderness and romance,…whew! Yes, it takes effort, but effort that would pay-off allowing you to experience glorious marriage.
Glorious; my definition of “glorious” is “out of this world” and what I mean is that you can have such a quality relationship that others would wonder if it is real, simply because it is “out of this world”. It is the kind of marriage everybody dreams of but are not willing to work towards. Very few couples are willing to take the heat, to stick with it until victory arrives, to be patient enough to understand their spouse and humble enough to admit that they are wrong. We love running when the going gets tough and rough and ugly. If we keep running, if we keep looking for the exit door, we would never experience a glorious marriage. I choose the term “glorious” because I am speaking with the understanding that we are expected to grow in our marriages as God breaks the stubborn areas in our lives, melts us so that we can be easily handled and then moulds us into a beautiful golden vessel that he can be proud of. What he has done is create a glorious marriage for the world to see and believe that in Christ all things are possible.
Your dreams combined; your individual dreams shared.
Permit me to delve a bit deeper, looking at how we can link purpose to the marriage experience. If you count the number of persons walking the aisle you would see two, their features are different, one is male and the other female, and if you were to spend one minute with each of them, you would notice they are two completely different persons, different personalities, different interests, likes and dislikes. When a couple says “I do” they are beginning a journey as two different people, having different dreams, interests and appetites. Oh, let’s not forget the family background that is sometimes miles apart.
If God has brought us together, it means that as much as we think those dreams are different, we are actually compatible. I must admit that in some cases our dreams go against God’s plan for our lives and as such it creates problems, conflict and chaos and it becomes necessary to sacrifice that dream for a glorious marriage. This requires a serious thought process, lots of discussions together and prayer. However, if you both have a peace in pursuing your individual dreams you must be willing to be each other’s cheer leader. You got to spur each other to the finishing line. As we say in the Caribbean, “big up them up”, you got to “big up” each other. Do not allow jealousy to take over, instead do what you can to support and help your spouse; you would celebrate together when the desired goal is achieved. Such celebrations are typical of glorious marriages. Let me stick in a quick point here, we need to be careful about allowing traditional perceptions about “dreams” to bind us in a religious fix that stifles our talents and gifts. You were created by God, seek his guidance on how to use what he has given you, don’t stifle it to please anyone. God would show you what is pleasing to him.
Many times we allow fear to enter our hearts thinking that if our spouse excel he/she would outgrow us. Fear has no part in our marriages, try replacing your fear with involvement, become involved in your spouse’s journey while you are also pursuing your dreams. Blend your activities and tasks together for example, if your husband is meeting with a group of men to discuss ways to inspire younger men, you can choose that time to write, supposing that you are a young writer, trying to develop your writing skills; you can probably write an article about inspirational men. Or, maybe you can meet with the wives of these husbands and inspire them to better support their husbands. Look for the opportunities to blend your dreams together.
Here is a personal example, I think my husband is a fair speaker and has the potential of becoming a very good speaker and later an excellent one. When he speaks, I love taking notes, as he often shares deep provoking life changing truths. This then spills into my love for writing as a new blogger. His messages gives me food for thought and stirs up my passion to share with others, so, very easily, an article comes to life. His dream to become an excellent communicator and to motivate others and my dream to inspire the world through my writing is a perfect blend. Here is another example, my husband has a remarkable appetite for class and it is clear in his choice of clothing, I love designing and greatly admire is choices; “light bulb moment”, he fits in well with my passion to design, and inspire the world to dress purposefully.
I hope this got you thinking and has ignited even more interest in what I have to say; remember, it is all about purpose.
The negative twist to this is that sometimes our dreams are dangerously like oil and water, no amount of efforts to blend would work. All they create is conflict and chaos. Maybe they rob you from spending quality time with each other and even more so, with God. Your dreams should not sap the life out of your marriage but rather enrich it. Most importantly, if it goes against God’s instructions and his perfect plan for your life, you would need to give it up, even when it is hard to do.
Shared friends; shared experiences
I have a serious problem with people, whether male of female, who take particular care to be friends with our spouses and rudely ignore the existence of their husband or wife. In other words there is no interest in being friendly to them or in accepting their friendship. It is important that you both resolve, to manage your friendships, so that people you meet would know that you are one with your spouse, and not searching for any secret or special friendships. Secrets destroy healthy relationships. Someone’s interest in your husband or wife should extend to ensuring that their friendship offers spiritual encouragement that would build his/her marriage and his/her family; this is true and honest friendship. Today, social media makes it convenient for secret relationships to be pursued. Let me warn you however, everything comes to light and secrets on social media are not really secrets. Therefore be wise and use social media to inspire and build up others and make sure inclusion is practiced. Eg: If a friend enquire about your well being, you can say “God has been good to me and my family, I can’t complain”. This is one of my favourite answers :).
It is a pretty sight when your friends become your spouse’s friends and your spouse’s friends become your friends and together there is a wholesome friendship that seeks to build each other up. This brings me back to before marriage; I had some really cool friends, in fact, we both had some really cool friends, but after marriage only a few of those cool friends became our friends and are still our friends today. There is no attempt to isolate the husband or the wife, “inclusion” is the motto of the day; we have respect for each other and because of that we have been able to keep up a healthy friendship. I would always love and cherish them; they are special to me and to us.
There is no excuse for secret or special friendships that isolates your spouse; none, zero. If you think of one, be sure to let me know.
You see, we are often guilty of seeking alternative trills, when we can find it right “under the same roof”, in the same vehicle, on the same sofa, on the same bed, in the same kitchen or garden or church or family gathering. Your spouse has everything you need, go discover and rediscover; it’s your privilege. Think about it, you can rediscover your spouse as many times as you wish.
Secret relationships can lead to extra marital affairs, or it can lead to you crossing certain boundaries that can seriously threaten your marriage.
Another sneaker danger is that your friendship may be known as a family friendship, but your conversations and encounters are not, so it becomes a secret friendship within a “supposed family friendship” and often times it is justified by thinking that he or she is a family friend when the truth is that the family relationship has been compromised, as now two persons are looking after their own interests, and in so doing, threatens the couple’s ability to experience a glorious marriage as their friendship is creating a distraction or a diversion . Such sneaky relationships are not healthy. Be transparent, be open, be honest and stay connected with your spouse by rooting out any relationship that does not help to bring you closer as a couple or a family.
Protect your spouse; guard their vulnerability
Could you imagine sharing everything with your spouse and he or she decides to spill it to someone else. Scary! Your enemies are just waiting to swallow it, digest it and spit it out in your face. If someone comes to you and begins to share their spouse’s secrets with you, please ask them to stop, you do not need to know such details. Remind them of the need to be trustworthy and to protect their spouse, no matter what they may be going through. If as a couple you are facing difficulties and need to talk to someone, it is better that you agree, with your spouse, who your Confident will be. We all need counsel from time to time.
But husband and wife have weaknesses and should not seek to trample on each other’s weak areas but rather encourage each other to grow. You can explore reading books together on relevant topics, attending seminars, listening to talk shows or messages on the topic of interest. Whatever you do, approach each other’s weaknesses in love, with patience, remembering that you too are in need of growth in some area or areas of your life. Do not allow your emotions to take the best of you, complaining to others about your spouse. Choose to embrace your spouse as a complete person, with strengths and weaknesses, not just weaknesses. Most times our strengths outweigh our weaknesses. but we choose to focus on the negative. Most times, where you are weak your spouse may be strong or not as weak, it means that you can help each other to grow or you can compensate for each other.
Ever so often, as couples, we need to check ourselves in light of a set of rules. For some it may be the rules of society, or the rules of a religious sect or the rules of a society or club. For others like me, it’s the Holy Bible, it’s the Holy Spirit that lives within me nudging me left, right, keeping me focused. Within the pages of the Holy Bible, I can find answers.
We can all find answers, there are answers in the bible for every couple, every struggling marriage, every confused purpose and vision. Often it requires waiting, and listening. Sometimes we act immaturely and we “jump the gun” hoping to resolve matters in our own strength, thus straying from the path you are on and from your purpose. We must stay focus and understand that our spouse is God’s gift to us and he knows exactly how to fix him or her, how to fix you and how to fix the biggest problem you have ever encountered. It is all for his glory and honour. If you choose to give up, you would miss out the opportunity to see God do great miracles in your relationship and you would not have the testimony of a Glorious Marriage. This testimony can only come through consistent efforts on your part and complete obedience to God.
I do hope this article would urge you to work towards excellence in your marriage and would inspire you to treasure your spouse and your marriage.
If you wish to discuss the contents of this article, please do not hesitate to send me your comments. Feel free to share with others as well.