Thursday, April 23, 2009

An Unsettling Marriage

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 blog 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, though, 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!

17 friends shared a comment:

Betsy Markman said...

Very necessary and convicting words. Thank you for this.

The Real Me! said...

A very timely post my friend. I'm feeling a bit down today!
Thank you for your heart!!
HUGS!
Kim

Joan said...

Great Post.

Marriage can be the best when we give it our best.

so many people miss the blessing. That's so sad.

I try to bless my husband everyday. He in turn tries to bless me everyday.

Thanks for sharing your heart.
Blessings

Kelly's Ideas said...

Thank you for sharing your heart in this post. I have been married 20 years and my marriage was getting really bad..we never talked, watched tv together, and sex forget about it.. I recently completed The Love Dare..it made me look in the mirror. I can change how I react to things and I can choose to love..and now I can say today.. I love my husband and I choose to honor him and let him know that I choose him.
I loved your post because it reminded me once again..what I need to do.
I blogged through my 40 day love dare if you are interested. http://www.ivebecomemymother.com
God Bless
Kelly

Joanne Sher said...

Excellent stuff. It's too easy to "fall asleep" in the routines, but we truly need to keep our lives and relationships alive and honoring to Him.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

I need to pray for him more; he's so good to me. I cannot even begin to tell you the love I know through my husband. It's a love that's gone unmatched in my earthly life. Too precious for words.

Our marriage is not without struggles, but having the good love of an even better man goes a long way toward making things work.

A great word today. I needed to hear it.

peace~elaine

Tracy said...

Fantastic post! Though I've only been married for seven years, I always try to let him know how much I appreciate him and all he does for our family. I was single for far too long to get lazy about my marriage. I pray that I remain that way always. Thanks for the wisdom! Blessings!

Debra said...

Lalee,

Thanks for the encouragement! A good word in due season!

Blessings to you!

Peggy said...

Thanks Laura Lee! God's blessing on your firm foundation in your marriage!

Ouch! Is right!

Great analogy to begin with....who would have thought you were a snoozer in church! Not I!

But I hope that you would say the same of me...who would think I was a snoozer looser in my marriage. I guess after 12 years going on 13... you would say I've drifted off to slumber land...far from the awake to asleep stage you were in, but the sad thing is that he has become comfortable being without me around completely. Perhaps this was what God planned, perhaps not..but that's what it is. Married but drifters. Unsettled marriage...not really...it is settled at being apart. No more conflicts, much less stress. He would say our differences that were there improved with the distance. I agree that at least we can talk long distance better with less conflicts. Is this God's will for marriage? No...but maybe my marriage was not God's will either.
And so we nod off & reflect some times on what should have been.

I guess this wasn't the right place for me to come & read so I'm off to read "Run"...because that is what I did after 20 years.

Thanks for the wake up call & I still PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! God's way, not mine! Hoping for the divine...
intervention or resolution. It is in His hands!

Jennifer Hudson Taylor said...

Very insightful post. Zt reminds me of the movie, Fireproof.

Laury said...

This is very convicting. Thank you for sharing your heart, Laura. I so appreciate how you pour into all of our lives in such deep and meaningful ways.

Denise said...

Such powerful, and much needed words my friend.

The Surrendered Scribe said...

Awesome. I tell my husband that mediocre is like profanity to me but it is constant working to not fall in that pit myself.

A shout out to women, at Christian Women Take Root.com we're tackling The Love Dare. Reading starts May 4 but discussions are already up. This book is based on the book from FireProof. It's a 40 day challenge but we're committed to not getting legalistic and doing this as He leads us, knowing CWTR is there for encouragement. It's another tool to help bring your marriage to a place of oneness versus isolation.

Thanks Laura for posting this.

Amanda said...

GREAT thoughts and pespective LauraLee!! I am really enjoying your blog!

You have been nominated for a Awesome Blog 2009. Stop by and see waht category someone thought you would rock!

God bless-
Amanda

Patty Wysong said...

Girl, you know my heart on this one. LoL. Excellent post!

LauraLee Shaw said...

Hey all, I found another great post on the subject over at Trey Morgan's blog:
Maintain Your Marriage

TREY MORGAN said...

LauraLee - Wonderful post on marriage!!! Keep up the great ministry. :)