What did you expect, when you first got married? Did you expect everything to be all sunshine and roses and fireworks? That with a simple I love you, and I do, you’d have a happily EVER after?
For two people who had never REALLY known each other outside of pretenses and working hard on impressions in dating environments, to a tiny glimpse into the other’s heart during courtship, to a slightly deeper picture of what makes the other tick (or react!) during your engagement…. Suddenly you are thrown together into a new life of passion, discovery, stress, sharing your finances, time and space.
Did you really think you’d lovingly bat your eyes at the other’s failures or look the other way when they left their socks and underwear lying on the bedroom floor… again?
We expect romance to be prolific, yet we find ourselves hard pressed to enjoy time spent together. We expect perfect harmony between two lovers, but we experience only conflict. We long for sweet words to be exchanged, but the bitterness in our hearts bubbles over onto our lips and another brick is placed on the wall between us.
What is wrong with my marriage, you ask? Why can’t we get it together? Where is the love we once had for each other? Was it ever there?
Paul Tripp addresses these questions, and so many more, in his heart-convicting, soul-examining marriage seminar called “What Did You Expect?”. A few weekends ago my husband and I were blessed to be able to attend, and since, there has been much on my heart to share. There are so many broken marriages, broken lives, dangling by a thread, barely existing, barely hanging on.
If you’re dying in your marriage, there’s something you need to know. Even if you’re feeling only slightly irritated, or annoyed, or suffer from the occasional quirk-induced rampage – there’s something you need to know.
About you, about the person you married, and about the God who drew you together.
“A biblical definition of marriage is a flawed person married to a flawed person in a fallen world….but with a faithful God.” (Paul David Tripp, “What Did You Expect?”).
Your marriage needs to begin with the acknowledgement that you are a sinner. Your spouse is a sinner. The world you live in is full of sin.
But God is faithful.
All marriage problems are heart problems – to change your marriage, your heart needs to change. You need to realize that YOU are your biggest marriage problem. The destructive sin in your heart and your life is what you have brought into your marriage, and unless you are willing to change and be changed, it will continue in a destructive pattern.
“Marriage is war – between the kingdom of self and the kingdom of God.” (Paul David Tripp, “What Did You Expect?)
What we hold dear to us is revealed in how we treat those who jeopardize it – how we take personal the messes that are left lying around reveals that we treasure our earthly home more than the hearts of the people we live with.
When we pull away from an embrace a moment into it, or say “not tonight, dear” or shove quality time aside for the busyness of life, we reveal that we value ourselves and our agenda more than the heart of the one we desire to be joined to.
Is your spouse in the inner circle of what you care about?
Through the clouds and the rain, there is hope. In Christ alone. How do we fix our marriages? How do we keep our marriages healthy? By fixing and staying focused on the vertical. Our relationship with God. He MUST increase. I MUST decrease.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33
We were designed to love, and have been loved fully, sweetly, unconditionally, with perseverance, by our great Redeemer.
Seek God’s kingdom in your marriage, make it a ministry to serve your spouse in love. Push off the sin of selfishness and ingratitude. Make your life an act of true worship.
There is not one hopeless marriage. There is a Saviour who shed his blood and showers you with his grace. Jesus is your rescue.
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
Everything has already been covered and forgiven.