Being honest with ourselves is one of the primary tools for successful living. This level of honesty requires bringing those thoughts that can lead us into temptation to the forefront of our minds. We tend to shove these thoughts back and justify that nothing is wrong or that we can deal with them later. The more we ignore the signs, the quicker we can fall. Friends and leaders can warn us, but if we are not receptive to their words, we will deny the truth and proceed in our dishonesty. It is better to grab the thoughts at the start, confront them, and honestly work through them so that we do not have to face the consequences of acting upon said thoughts.
It is the small adjustments that we make along the way that cause a marriage to prosper. Though this advice can be applied to all relationships, it can be applied in marriage. We can change little things to maintain a relationship.
It is similar to driving. We make small changes without really knowing it in order to drive safely. We do not want to cross the lines that separate the traffic.
Crossing the yellow line, though in the act itself is not a guarantee of a wreck, but it puts us in the dangerous position of possibly hitting another car if we do not correct ourselves. This yellow line is a boundary set in place by the authorities to keep us safe. In the same way, God has placed several boundaries for marriage in the Bible. These boundaries are meant to empower couples to keep their marriage intact.
A necessity in marriage is to constantly shift our hearts to adhere to these boundaries, to the needs of our partner and to the will of God as He directs us. These small changes will bring us closer to our partners and will also determine that the covenant of marriage will be kept.
We have shown in several parts of this book that men and women are different. Society has, as stated before, tried to make the genders equal in all the wrong ways. Paul does write in both Galatians 3:28 and Colossians 3:5-13 that men and women are different but equal in Christ; however, this does not negate the fact that men and woman are not the same. The variations of the genders interact in a way that brings richness to personality, a meaning to relationships, and an awareness of and appreciation for these differences.
Married couples need to be aware of the things that distinguish the genders and be willing and ready to change accordingly for the benefit of their partner. There are differences that God wrote into our creation; there are others that society has established. For instance, I grew up believing that men don’t cry, but Christ changed my thoughts. In John 11:35, Jesus wept. Another common misconception is that men are not affectionate; again, the Bible disproved this one when, in John, we read about the male disciple who rested on Jesus’ chest because he was comfortable with showing Jesus this kind of affection.
We all hear a voice in our heads. We may not admit to it, but we do. This voice is our own insecurities trying to keep us from living our best lives. Saul, the first king of Israel, showed us what can happen to someone who listens to this negative voice. He was a handsome man and a skilled warrior, but, in the end, he killed himself. Why? He let his insecurities rule his life. Those insecurities—that voice that sounds so much like our own—drove him to obsessively hunt down David to kill him before the boy could become king.
We can do crazy things when we listen to the voice in our minds. It is always talking, but it is the loudest in stressful situations, major events in life, and opportunities to grow and change. Jesus knows what we are going through. That is one of the reasons why He gave us the Bible. Inside are all kinds of Truths that can silence the voice. Whenever a negative thought rises in our minds, we can “capture it” and make it “obey Jesus” by applying His Word to the moment (2 Corinthians 10:5).
What is the voice trying to tell you? Is it trying to tell you who you are and what you should be? Does this voice parallel what God says in His Word? If it doesn’t, shut it up with the Word of God!
If we are on God’s side, we should wear His colors. What does this mean? It means we reflect His character, take up our place on His team, and seek to play the game of life by His plan.
We are all members of God’s team, and He does not value one player’s skills or position over another. We all serve in the best of our capacity. Faithfulness in that capacity is the key to being a team player.
We need to understand that, as a member of the team, there will be times when our ideas are not chosen; we may even feel insignificant or overlooked because of it, but we need to keep an open heart!
Psalm 84:10 says, “I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” If we can maintain a clean heart that seeks God’s perspective over our own, we have a good chance of finding peace and contentment.
Refuse to dwell on hurts! You are on God’s team no matter where you serve! Cheer! Applaud! Shout encouragement to one another and do your part as member of God’s team.