There are lies being told about what marriage is supposed to be; about the roles of men and women within marriage, and within the world. We view marriage as a relationship worth having as long as we feel like we are receiving something out of it, and we think that once it does not work for us any longer, it is time to leave. I would like to go against all of that, and say that marriage is about sacrifice, humility, love, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, peace, and most of all the ability to stick to the other through all our hard times. I would like to point out two ways that men and women need to learn and change so that the relationship can be stronger. These are my own observations, and things I have learned through my almost 11 year marriage. (Not that I have all the answers!)
Women: The world tells us that we are only here for men’s sexual pleasure, including our husbands. We view our relationships with our husbands through how well we are pleasing him inside and outside the bedroom. We think that relationship has to be us constantly serving him, without ever being served. But marriage is serving one another, loving one another, and it goes both ways. There are times that our husbands must serve us. During those times, be thankful that your husband loves you that much. A man that is able to truly humble himself, and show the Love of Christ in serving the basic needs of his wife and family is a man after God’s heart. Remember that most men do not think the way we do which is okay because we were made to be different. We compliment the other person’s strengths and weaknesses to become something whole within the framework of our family and world. You also need to know what your identity is outside of the relationships in your life. God made you, yes you, for His will and purpose. Do not short change yourself by not asking God what He wants to do with your life. Whether that is being a stay at home mom, working part time, working full time, raising a family, or not raising a family at all, each of those things can be part of who God has called you to be.
Men: Self-control is a virtue that many of you have never been taught. I have four sons, and I have been convicted greatly about their need for being taught this. There has been this idea that men are completely unable to control themselves sexually, and I would like to take the opportunity to say that is hogwash. Through the grace of God, we are not slaves to the sinful nature of the body, and we have power through the blood of Jesus Christ to be free from sin. Sexuality is a gift from God that is shared between two people who love and are committed to one another. Women should not withhold sex to hurt the man or use it against him, and men should not expect it whenever they want it. It is a mutual, loving decision made between two people. Love your wives, treat them better than you treat your own body, and give them grace.
That is the main point… we are all in need of grace. We all fall so short most of the time of fully loving and cherishing our families. Our spouse’s feelings on this get expounded a hundred times more than that, because they are so connected to us emotionally and physically.
I do not have all the answers to having the perfect marriage; I just know that there will be good times and there will be hard times. There will be times you love the other person so much, that you do not want them to leave your side, and there will be times that all you want to do is walk out the door and never see them again. But, you will never fully get away from the other person. Who you are has become, partly, who the other person is. Learn to forgive, and show the other as much grace as you expect to be given. If you walk away now, realize that the other person will always, inextricably, irrevocably, be connected to you in some way.