One of the biggest and most damaging attacks on modern culture... Is the attack on marriage! It's very definition by God...Whether it is even needed or wanted anymore by many...And especially what it even means... And how it is viewed by those who still enter into it's covenant!
Besides your walk with Jesus Christ Himself...No other issue in a Christian's world... Will more greatly affect your life...Your personal growth... Emotionally, socially, financially, & mentally...Your spiritual maturity...Your self-image...Or their children...Because God uses the relationship between a man and a woman...As the very foundation for teaching…Love, intimacy, & selflessness... For teaching us to be more like HIM!...And as the very foundation for growing and mentoring…These traits into the next generation!
Satan is not dumb!
This is the reason MARRIAGE is the absolute number one thing...Satan is pouring everything he has into destroying! (Successfully) In most churches today...One of the primary needs for counseling...One of the main struggles and sources of pain...
Stems from marital/relational conflict! Even those who do NOT seek counsel...Or do not show outward signs of struggle...Often have hidden pain, depression and anxiety...From the unresolved issues within troubled relationships!
Marriages do more… To create the life God Purposes for us...AND THEY…Do more to destroy the lives of men, women and children...Than anything else in which we are involved...And yet... It often gets the LEAST attention, devotion and priority!
Many people today think if they just find that perfect match... That "Soulmate"...
Their relationship will be effortless... And their days will be full of joy! Nothing could be farther from the truth!...And when it doesn't happen...They are ready to abandon that failure...In search of the right one... The REAL "True Soulmate!"
Marriage wasn't designed to find the perfect soul mate…To meet all of your needs and make you happy...But to help you find true joy…In learning to love selflessly...And serve another as we were created to serve!
LISTEN & BELIEVE… Joy in marriage doesn't come...From FINDING THE PERFECT SOULMATE...But by LEARNING TO BE... THE PERFECT SOULMATE!
Where We Go Wrong...
Jesus modeled marriage after His relationship with the Church... His Bride!
He shows us ONE REPEATED, ALL-IMPORTANT EXAMPLE...In how He relates to His Bride...Which is the FOUNDATION for any marriage to thrive!
Listen... It is not "somewhat effective"...Not even "really effective"...But if two Christians are serious about God and His Plan...It is guaranteed to be 100% effective!
If two people will come back to this basic foundation...It doesn't take years or months...But literally days or weeks...Before you will see and feel enormous changes in your relationship!
LISTEN: When you say, "I do!"...You give yourself totally to another person...
And they give themselves totally to you! This means that each of you forfeit the ability...For anyone else in the entire world...To meet certain wants and needs in your life! Leaving only your spouse to fulfill those needs!
This is a great HONOR...BUT also... A great RESPONSIBILITY!
When we first meet... We are completely focused on PLEASING and SERVING our mate...On meeting their needs at extreme cost to self! Spent every waking moment... Didn't go to bed at all sometimes...Constant gifts... Talked nonstop...Changed plans...And that total giving, serving caring... Sacrificially...
Grew the love on both sides of the relationship...
Then, after we have been married for a time...We grow comfortable with each other... Which is not bad...But in that comfort we stop trying to please and serve...So we EACH begin to see needs and wants…NOW… NOT being met as before...And we all have frustrations and hurts…Throughout the day… From other relationships and events...Which we often hold in our hearts...And they come out on our spouse...Because we have a comfort level with them!
So soon… Instead of doing and giving what they desire...We get annoyed with their differences...And we TELL THEM what they should desire! Instead of giving up things for them...We fit them in after everyone and everything else...We begin to expect them to conform to our world...Rather than appreciating or even accepting their differences...
The reality of having to deal with hurts or dislikes...The reality of having to disapprove or disagree in areas...Once your lives are blended as one...Are often misconstrued as attacks or rejection...And things often become a competition...Or a proving ground!
You wake up one day...And you aren't getting the love and attention you once received...You aren't living to please them anymore... But living to be pleased...
They don't act absolutely crazy over you anymore...Everything seems like a struggle or a competition...And the grass sure looks greener in other couples’ yards!
So you wonder if you really have your "soulmate"...Or if there's been a mistake!
What you see from the outside of any relationship...What you see on the surface of any individual...Is NOT what the real and entire package consists of...You are seeing the yard from too far away...To see all of the piles of fertilizer laying in it!
If another couple's lawn looks greener than yours...Maybe it's time you learned to do some YARD WORK...Rather than jump the fence! That starts by remembering WHY God made marriage in the first place!
God made marriage so you could have the privilege…Of meeting their needs... That no one else has the right to meet! And give yourself... Like no one else... To meeting those needs!
To CHOOSE to love, stay with, please and grow...With all that you have in you...
At any cost...To CHOOSE… To be their SOULMATE!
Not only is that the KEY to finding contentment and love again...But it is the end goal of WHY…God created marriage in the first place...To grow us into selfless love and sacrifice...Even for someone who does not always deserve it!
Done right... This will grow a spouse into the best they can be...This will grow you... Into the best you can be...Rather than to run off... Like a spoiled brat...Only to kill grass and grow weeds in someone else's yard!
It's the choice to stay together… In devotion… Through all of the failures and faults...The knowing you have unimaginable worth…Even in your imperfections... To someone else!
The security of being accepted…Even when you are different or wrong...
Watching someone work to meet your needs and desires…Like no one else ever would...That kindles an emotionally unstoppable love...Not finding someone better looking, funnier, more fun, smarter, or richer!
Genesis 2:24 (KJV)
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh...
The Hebrew word for "CLEAVE" here is DABAQ (daw-bak')...Meaning: To pursue hard...Catch...Overtake...Adhere to... Keep close! In other words... "To keep going after... And never let go of again!"
That ALL comes down to becoming a SERVANT…To the one you love!"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine!" Marriage is not meant to be a free ride of joy and met needs...It is MEANT… BY DESIGN…To be a relationship that takes first place in your priorities...That takes your understanding... That takes your patience and forgiveness... That takes your emotions... Your time... And often, your losses, pride and sacrifice...THAT... Is WHAT makes it so special...THAT is what makes it so rare...THAT is what makes the love…So much stronger than any other!
THAT… Is the LOVE...Jesus taught us on every page of Scriptures...THAT is the Love Jesus Christ exemplified…In His Every Step on earth! Every day of His Life for those around Him! Even in the moments it was least deserved...
John 13:2-5 (NKJV)
2 And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, 3 Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, 4 rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. 5 After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
Jesus CHOSE to show them love and worth...By serving them on the worst night of betrayal in His Life...While those He Served didn't even seem to care! And they overlooked ALL He was doing... While lifting themselves!
Luke 12:37 (NKJV)
37 Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.
Jesus… As the Sacrificed God...Will serve the most wicked, undeserving people on earth...Because of the WORTH HE PLACES ON THEM...And the BLOOD HE SHED FOR THEM!
John 21:9-13 (NKJV)
9 Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught."... 12 Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast."... 13 Jesus then came and took the bread and gave it to them, and likewise the fish.
Jesus cooked for and served His Disciples breakfast...After… They all deserted Him and forsook Him in need! Jesus walked about 35 miles (70 round trip)...To heal the daughter of a Canaanite woman...Whom all of His friends considered totally unworthy!
When you think your spouse is so unfair and unloving they don't deserve being served anymore...When you are too tired, frustrated, or emotionally drained… To serve them anymore... Remember this Story...When Jesus had just heard of His cousin and good friend's death... (Mark 6:30-46)
He was so busy ministering to multitudes...That He had not even had time to rest or eat...Crowds of hurting people approached Him...The same crowd that would soon chant, "Crucify Him!"... And He had so much love and compassion…Even then...He turned away from the food, rest, and Personal Loss... And stayed with them late into the evening... Fed them all miraculously...And even then… Sent the disciples away…And went into the mountains to pray!
THAT IS SERVING WHEN NOT DESERVED...THROUGH YOUR OWN SUFFERING...SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE WORTH YOU PLACE…ON ANOTHER! THAT... IS HOW JESUS LOVED HIS BRIDE!
In His Last Forsaken Moments...When being Nailed to the Cross...He STILL Served His Bride...By pleading for her forgiveness as she demanded His Death!
Philippians 2:5-7 (NKJV)
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant...
Galatians 5:13 (NKJV)
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
Let me tell you what God expects you to do…In your marriage...How HE expects you to act and serve...What will truly make a wonderful love…And a strong marriage...
ONE: Stop keeping score... Stop giving just when they give too...Stop expecting 50/50... Give 100%...
TWO: Love in action... By serving...Put them before others, hobbies, work, kids... (Blended families are hardest… But kids need example)
Men... Touch them with true worth and intimacy...(non-sexual)
Women... Show your man desired intimacy...
Show respect, worth, desire... In words and actions...In private and public...Be one another's biggest fan...See yourselves as a team... Not as competitors!
Don't constantly defend your position or demand your way...Put them before your pride...
Know your spouse better than anyone...Know their fears... And give them security...Know their sins... And love them through them...Know their desires... And try to meet them...Know their quirks... And accept them, rather than resist them!
Listen to what they are trying to say... Not what they might say! Because you care more about their heart... Than the win!
Stop playing lawyer... To win with words! Stop defending your view or opinion to the death...Stop being offended when you are disagreed with...Truly show them you understand their feelings... Even in disagreement! And show that you desire the relationship over the win!
THREE: Never, ever consider leaving as an option!! You are theirs... They are yours... Always! “You cannot always control your emotions...But you can always control your WILL!” THAT MOMENT...When you decide you have had all you will take...When you decide you will hit back blow for blow...When you decide you don't need this anymore... IS THE MOMENT YOU HAVE EMBRACED SELF...AND QUENCHED THE SPIRIT! AND SATAN HAS GOTTEN HIS WAY!
THIS... Is what shows & builds…The most trust, peace and love! Give each other a "RESET!" When you cannot handle anymore...And you are at a breaking point...
And feel like you can never go back and make it right...Show your desire… To never let them go... But just start over...And hit "RESET!" JUST LIKE WE CAN DO WITH JESUS!
And men... More than EVER... YOU ARE CALLED TO BE A MAN!Remember that Jesus... As God... The Ultimate Leader...Showed that the greatest way to lead... Is to SERVE!
Matthew 20:25-28 (NKJV)
25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave-- 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."
You don't get your wife and children to follow your lead…Through legalism or bullying...And you won't deserve it if you do!! Being a leader by serving as Jesus... Being the man and husband you were made to be... Means:Get them to mimic your conduct and actions...As you serve God, others, and them...
Sacrificially and joyfully...Rather than making them obey you in word!
Ephesians 5:25-28 (NKJV)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her... 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.
Being a leader and husband as you were made to be... Means:Be so concerned for their interests…When you lead or make a decision...
Recognizing and involving their desires, input, intelligence and skills... In every move or action possible...That they will always want you looking out for them! They will always trust your decisions for their wellbeing!
Be the one to set the hard standard…Or make the hard calls... Not her!
Be the one who makes sure everyone…Follows God's Way in the house... Not her! Be the one who goes without…Things, sleep, free time, or having your way... In order to serve those you are responsible for…As the leader!Rather than expecting special service and pampering...EXACTLY AS JESUS DOES FOR US!
Make them know and feel…They are so treasured and cared for...They will trust and want your leadership... Over anyone else in the world!
THAT...IS WHAT SERVING AS A LEADER LOOKS LIKE!THAT...IS WHAT BEING A HUSBAND & FATHER LOOKS LIKE!THAT...IS WHAT BEING GOD'S MAN LOOKS LIKE!
Marriage was designed…To make two very imperfect people...Give themselves in love and service to anotherPlacing worth for them above self...
Standing beside them in life... No matter what the cost...SERVING them whole-heartedly... Passionately...When they deserve it, and when they don't...Expecting it to cost... Expecting it to be sacrificial and unfair...Knowing THAT is what makes it special, unbreakable and real!
CHOOSING to meet their needs... Above your own...Even when you get nothing in return...Caring for them... Uniquely... Like no one else can...Because you have intimately opened yourself to one another...Shared yourself... Revealed yourself... Until you are ONE!
This cannot be done right…Without Christ living in you!This cannot be done right...Without realizing what has been done for you! This cannot be done right…If you have the world's view or expectations!
If you trust Him... If you do it His way...If you don't give up... If you don't leave...
If you choose to honor, love and serve...There is no greater love that you will ever have this side of Heaven...And Jesus will be able to grow you in ways unimaginable!
Wherever you are in your relationship...HIT THE RESET BUTTON... AND START SERVING RIGHT NOW!
TAKE BACK GOD'S GREATEST GIFT FROM SATAN AND THE WORLD!
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