A love affair: It can Happen to you. This is the name of the first chapter of a book by Ed Wheat, M.D. and Gloria Okes Perkins called Love Life For Every Married Couple. Does that idea seem foreign or impossible to you at this time? Don’t worry. You are not alone. Many couples, even mutually devoted Christian couples, struggle with marital issues at one time or another. If you are currently struggling or feeling unfulfilled in your marriage, I recommend that you read this book along with the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. These books give different but united and definitive instruction on how to have a satisfying and strong marriage. Note that I did not say happy. As you probably know, marriage was not designed to make us happy. Our spouses can never make us happy, because this is not their design. God, our designer, is the only One who can bring true fulfillment. God is the only One who can satisfy our souls. Still, our Designer designed marriage. Gary Thomas suggests, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” This is a concept worth exploring in his book, Sacred Marriage. He goes on to say, “If the purpose of marriage was simply to enjoy an infatuation and make me happy, then I’d have to get a new marriage every two or three years.” He believes that much of the dissatisfaction we experience in marriage comes from expecting too much from it. So, what do we do? Lower our expectations? Well, let’s not think of it in that way, but what about if we do expect less of our husbands and more of God? Expect God to meet our needs. Expect God to fulfill that emptiness. Expect God to be sufficient. Expect God to love us the way we need to be loved. He is ready to do this for us. He is able to do this for us. We just need to spend time with Him daily and spend time in prayer and He will provide for us! I have seen this play out with my own two eyes. If you begin to rely more on God, you can begin to take the pressure off of your spouse to meet your needs. As the Holy Spirit begins to work in and through you, you will begin to see a difference in your marriage. Please take time to read these books if you struggle in any way or if your spouse seems to be struggling.
I know that some marriages are truly troubled and the challenges seem insurmountable. That is where we let God teach us this concept of allowing our marriage to make us holy (more like God) rather than happy. We must stop embracing the current thought of our culture, ‘do what makes you happy.” Gary Thomas gives an example of this with the 23 year marriage of Abraham Lincoln to Mary Todd. Apparently, it was no picnic. She was known for her extreme mood swings, fierce temper and public outbursts. It is documented that Lincoln’s faith allowed him to see her through God’s eyes, as a child of God. This enabled him to treat her with love and kindness. He chose to serve God and trust God in this area of his life. It is believed that the difficult lessons he learned in dealing with his wife helped him then deal with a country that was divided and full of conflict and controversy. His marriage taught him patience and endurance. He certainly needed this as he led our country through one of the most difficult times in our country’s history. Our 16th president is an example of Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
With God’s help, Lincoln remained a loving husband as he worked to unite a hurting and torn nation. His marital struggles helped mold him into a humble man who relied on God for his strength and peace.
“What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” What if you can indeed have a love affair with your spouse that will change the current direction of your life and/or your current mindset? It can happen to you…with God’s help! Begin praying today for your spouse and for your marriage. Pick up one or both of these books as a starting point. Seek Godly counsel. I will be in prayer for those who might be reading this and with whom this struggle resounds.
“So let us not grow tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9