“Without an authentic community, the pain only escalates, but with community, pain is processed.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today –June 2, 2023
Your spring water is for you and you only, not to be passed around among strangers. Bless your fresh-flowing fountain! Enjoy the wife you married as a young man! Lovely as an angel, beautiful as a rose— don’t ever quit taking delight in her body. Never take her love for granted! Why would you trade enduring intimacies for cheap thrills with a prostitute? for dalliance with a promiscuous stranger? Proverbs 5:18, MSG
Today, my wife, Rita, and I celebrate 44 years of marriage. What? I know, it should probably be against the law to marry at 19, ha! But we did. I had only been a new believer for three months. Yes, ignorance on fire for Jesus! Fortunately, our common faith commitment is what got us through. I was the focused hard worker, and Rita was the bubbly wife making our home hospitable. The euphoria lasted about a year, and then we began to realize there was much, much more to marriage than doing our own thing without truly engaging in each other’s needs, wants, and wishes. We experienced undergrad/grad school the first six years of marriage, with both of us working. After 2 ½ years, a little one was in tow. Joy and pain complicated our faith journey.
What is a healthy marriage? A healthy marriage is not without issues but is a relationship that has clarity and commitment to have a plan to process pain and to grow in love with one another. A healthy marriage has checkups as needed with a marital expert and regular check-ins with a mentor and/or committed peer group. Healthy marriages are intentional.
A Healthy Marriage Requires Humility and Hard Work
Humility is a relational lubricant that smooths out the friction of selfishness and keeps lines of communication open and helpful. A humble husband is confident in being a beloved son who has the approval of God and who quietly serves his wife in ways that make her feel loved. A humble wife is secure in being a beloved daughter who matters to God and who respects her husband as her servant leader she joyfully follows. Humility increases while elevating others. There is humble deference to the needs of a spouse while trusting the Lord to meet needs only He can.
Perspiration is another best practice in building a healthy marriage. Just like the hard work of building a career or caring for children, no less effort is required to have a marriage that blesses one other and others. When we emotionally sweat, we are exercising muscles of vulnerability, empathy, forgiveness, and teachability. Disconnection will happen in marriage; exhaustion, sin, and sorrow all contribute. So, the goal is never to be disconnected but to be committed to the hard work of reconnecting. Relational repair takes effort but is necessary for healing and reconnection. Humility is committed to the hard work of nurturing a healthy marriage.
“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:10-12).
A Healthy Marriage Requires a Compassionate and Competent Community
A special couple, very good friends, walked into our small group and exclaimed with an air of desperation, we need help; we need a relational tow truck to pull us out of our ditch of pain. Their marriage had spiraled down into a lonely, dark place of feeling stuck, unable to heal and relationally recover. A tow truck solution was an apt image of an intimate community providing a safe space to process pain…with words…out loud. And a hurting heart tends to communicate with more grace and respect in the company of loving acceptance. With emotions at bay, it’s easier to find a healthy way. Before the evening ended, healing had begun…comfort and compassion won. Our caring community helped bear their burden and shared truth in love. Without an authentic community, the pain only escalates, but with community, pain is processed. Most of all, lean into the community of Father, Son, and Spirit to be loved, healed, and forgiven!
“And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Corinthians 12:26-27, NKJV).
Dear Lord, give me the love and courage to be intentional to grow a healthy marriage and trust you in the process through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Who are three or four other couples I can have regular community with the purpose of growing healthy marriages?
Hillsong Worship (Acoustic): From Whom All Blessings Flow
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