Monday, November 17, 2008

At The Well/Marriage

Chelsey at Joyfully Living for His Glory is hosting this week, and she's asking us to discuss what it means to "stand for your marriage." PLEASE if you have the time, go over to her place to see what she has to say, as well as others. I guarantee you will receive a more extensive study on the subject, especially with the tough questions, than what I have to offer today.

I'm fully occupied with family priorities right now that I don't have time to blog an original on this subject. I was just going to bow out, and I shared my disappointment with the Lord. Then, just an hour or so later, as I was reading some emails from a Yahoo group of my friends, one of them typed that she had never fallen asleep in church before. THAT reminded me of a devo on marriage that I sent out to my edevo subscribers awhile back. I don't believe in coincidence, so I'm going to post that devo. While these words are not written from my "pen" this very day, they are still the cry of my heart's desire and conviction, so they may as well be. I hope the Lord of yesterday, today and forever uses these words to minister to someone who is led to read them.

All Settled?

Try to remember a time when you were so comfortable that you drifted off into a half-sleep. This happened to me often in church as a kid. It was the one place where I felt so at ease and warm inside that sometimes I would almost fall asleep. If it hadn’t been for the fear that people would judge me for dozing off all the way, I most certainly would have! It was a horrible feeling being in the middle of awake and asleep, though,… especially when the pipe organ chimed at the end of the service, and I would get a jolted tingle from head to toe as I tried to look awake to all those around me.

God has been so good to sound the pipe organ as I’ve needed it throughout my life—not just the ones in church, but also those in my spiritual life. Recently, the Lord chimed into my head the desire to ponder my role as a wife. I have a good marriage, but is it all it could be? I wonder if I’ve become content with patterns or attitudes that I shouldn’t be? In many ways, I contribute a great deal. In other ways, I’ve become too comfortable and nodded off. Have you who are married reflected upon this lately?

We all know the cliché about “settling down and getting married.” Well, what happens if you settle down to get married and then somewhere down the road, you just settle?!? Let me explain. I’ve recorded some of the things I’ve either said to myself or have heard others in marriage say over the past year or so (bear in mind these are usually from people who have been married for 10 or more years):

“I want us to be closer, but it’s just so much work!”
“We don’t have anything in common anymore.”
“He says I’ve ‘let myself go.’”
“We stopped trying to pray or read the Bible together, because we end up arguing.”
“I pray for him, but nothing ever changes.”
“I’m so tired of hearing him complain about his work. Can’t he just be happy?”
“I can’t ever do anything right in his eyes, so I’ve just quit trying.”
“He has his TV in the den and I have mine in the bedroom….that way, we both watch what we want to watch.”
“He wants more of me than I have to give. I’m tired after being with the kids all day.”
“I like working because I get praise there. That’s more than I can say for home.”
“He can just forget about having sex more than once a week. That’s enough as it is.”

Ok, I’m stopping, just in case you’re getting uncomfortable. I could probably fill up an entire page with comments just like these. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not talking about major problems in marriage, just the normal everyday stuff. Unfortunately, if you settle in the small areas every single day, the potential is greater for large issues later.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full.” (John 10:10b, NIV)

My paraphrase for this subject:
“He gave us marriage that we could have one life together, and have it to the full.”

I want to experience His fullness and abundance in my marriage, as much as it is up to me, don’t you? That means we need to pray and then respond as He leads us…He will do the rest. For me, that may mean watching a motorcycle race on TV instead of
Law and Order (or working on my blog--ouch). It may mean caring enough about my husband to truly listen to him, even if I’m I’ve used up all my energy for the day. It may mean getting out of my stretchy shorts before he comes home so that I can look beautiful for him. For you, it might mean returning gentle words instead of harsh ones…or maybe trading Nagatha’s hat in for Carissa’s! ☺ Have you thought about the things that matter to your spouse lately? Do you pray for him daily? No matter the issues, we all could use this piece of advice from Philippians 2:1-5 to help us stay awake in our relationships:
“If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, 
if any comfort from His love,
if any fellowship with the Spirit,
if any tenderness and compassion,
then make my joy complete by being like-minded,
having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,
but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Each of you should look not only to your own interests,
but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:”

Somehow these verses are easier live out with our friends or co-workers or people at church, but God desires our marriages to honor Him, “shining like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of life.” (Philippians 2:15, 16a)

So, dear married friends, as much as it is up to us, let’s pray together that the Lord would settle us on the firm foundation of His plan for our part in a God-honoring union—not for the norm in this “crooked and depraved generation.” Stay in the Word and pray Pray PRAY, and it will guide you how to live and love less selfishly, more deeply, less casually and more fully…may we never settle for less!

In the Key of HE,

15 friends shared a comment:

Bogie said...

Very nice post,even though I'm still new to married life, but your post encourages me to do my best with my marriage with God's help. God Bess you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Laura! A wonderful message, one that's been on my heart too. I love the organ music that jars you into the present.

Laurie Ann said...

I really enjoyed your post, LauraLee. I got so tickled about watching a motorcycle race rather than Law & Order. L&O is one of my faves, but I've found myself watching these annoying John Wayne war movies lately because my husband loves them, and if that's what we do to spend time together, I'm willing to sacrifice for it. Great post about not just settling in, but living abundantly in our marriages.

Patty Wysong said...

You're right--it's so much easier to live out those verses with our friends than with our husbands...but I think the reward is greater with our husband than with our friends.

Thanks for the food for thought!

Betsy Markman said...

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of watching a motorcycle race instead of blogging.

Simply mind-blowing...

Fortunately my DH isn't into sports. I would have to watch Battlestar Galactica or Stargate Atlantis. My problem is that I could enjoy those programs, but I've been weaning myself off of TV and hardly watch it anymore. I used to be just about addicted to some series, and I don't ever want to fall into that trap again. Besides, I don't feel like I've actually spent time with him if all we're doing is staring mindlessly at the same mindless stuff....

So what can I do that he enjoys besides TV? Playing those endless role-playing sci-fi computer games?

No, no...that can't be it. I'll have to think of something.


makeyourhomesing said...

I liked what you said about somewhere down the road you just settle. We have been married 25 years and are still very much in love. But I know that I have got "sloppy" lately in regards to certain areas! We should always continue to do "the little things" that we did in the beginning to show our love to one another (like leaving lovenotes!).

Joyfull said...

What a great post! How true about being comfortably settled some of those "uncomfortable" comments! Thank you for a wonderful reminder to keep our focus on Jesus and let His love flow between us.

Heather B. said...

Lovely post Laura, thank you...

Sadly I too can relate to one or two of those comments you posted but I'm growing each day and I have lots to learn.
May God bless our marriages!

DarcyLee said...

You're right, it's so easy to get all settled and comfortable in our marriages. The little things can build up to bigger things. Great post.

Joanne Sher said...

Oh, have I said those things (some of them, anyway!), over time. Thank you for reminding me not to settle, and to have an abundant life with my wonderful husband.

LAURIE said...

This is a great post and I am also guilty that sometimes I do not put my husband first and I need to spend more time in prayer and follow Gods leading on that.

I appreciate your encouraging comments every week over at my blog - you are truly an amazing encourager! -Blessings, Laurie

Sunny Shell said...

Thank you precious sister for sharing this with us today! Yes, it is true, "settling" for mediocrity in our marriage does not bring honor to God, but godliness with contentment is great gain!

Plus, when we honor God in our marriages, He will use them to draw the lost to Himself as they stand and "wonder why".

I love you dearly,

Sheila said...

"Somehow these verses are easier live out with our friends or co-workers or people at church, but God desires our marriages to honor Him, “shining like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of life.” (Philippians 2:15, 16a)"

I haven't had time to blog today either, but just eating a bite and reading what you wrote was perfect!

Sometimes I think we get too inordinately focused on husbands/wives and forget that our calling to submission and reverence and humility and preferring the other above ourselves is not just a husband/wife thing but a Christian thing. It's the way we're to "shine" in this dark world.


Denise said...

Such a wonderful post.

Unknown said...

Appropriate words no matter when you post them. We need to hear them and apply them more often. Thanks for sharing...How many times can you watch bull riding? As often as he wants!