What is a Marriage?
It is a covenant, which means that two people are committed to the relationship and to protecting each other and the sanctiy and privacy of the marriage. It is two people sharing their lives, but at the same time not becoming so enmeshed in each other that they lose all sense of their own individual identities. It is two people that plan together for now and for the future so that their paths intertwine and not separate. It is two people that endeavor to look out for the happiness and contentment of the other. It is two people who realize that they can ultimately make their own paths, but that also have the grace and flexibility to allow the Lord to shape them.
What Goes Wrong?
Few people realize that when entering a marriage relationship we bring not only our hopes and plans for the future but also the baggage from our past. Often we know that we have baggage, but we choose to ignore it before the wedding, hoping that it will disappear. We are like pioneers in a new land. The territory is unfamiliar but we are hopeful for the future.
Often we view people who never seem to have problems as successful; the successful family is so together that they hardly raise a voice at each other. We carry a “Brady Bunch” image in our minds of what an ideal family looks like. To that family, a difficult problem is Greg breaking an arm at football or Jan struggling with being a middle child. Mr. and Mrs. Brady breezed through blending their two families together without a care in the world.
Sharpening One Another
Despite these preconceived notions, the successful person is really the one that does not hold onto unrealistic expectations and perceptions, but rather realizes that difficult days will come and can be overcome. Difficult times will always come, and unfortunately we cannot know the future. On the other hand, we have to experience trials to gain victories. So as much as we bring hope into our marriages, we also bring difficulty. These two things constantly accompany us, and work hand in hand building our marriages, if we realize that problems are a normal part of life. Mark 2:17 says,
“When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
This scripture points out both that we are imperfect and also that Jesus expects us to be imperfect. We grate against one another with attitudes and opinions, creating intense feelings. The important thing is how we deal with and handle those feelings.