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.
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.
In Matthew 9, there is a story of a paralytic who is brought to Jesus for healing. What he received was forgiveness for his sins. In that moment, the paralytic was faced with God not meeting his expectations.
How often are we like this paralytic—coming before God with expectations that He wants to shift? We do not see the need to shift and become stuck in our expectations like the paralytic stuck on his beggar’s matt. We want people to come take care of us in our time of need because God didn’t answer our expectations. Our paralysis grows the longer we remain in this one spot.
We can avoid this kind of existence by living with humility; this is an understanding of our flaws and our dependence upon God. When we know that our own wants and desires are fallible, we are released to forgive the injustice we feel in our lives and walk forward into a new life. We hear God’s answer—His differing answer—and we are ready to receive it and walk in it. The result is a greater life than we thought we could have when we brought to Him our expectations.
These days, children are more aware of trends and fashion, and putting money aside to cater to their fashion needs helps children establish friendships and confidence. It is horrible for children to be ignored or tormented at school due to their out of style clothing. This ridicule opens children up to feelings of low esteem and rejection, the latter being the emotion that most people fear the most.
Although it isn’t right for children to reject and torment other children in this way, it is also not right for us as parents to walk in ignorance of the pressures that our children face today. We all want to be accepted and to feel good about ourselves. In this situation as with all other parenting dilemmas, balance is the key. You don’t want your child to be spoiled, but you also want them to know that you care about how they are treated and how they feel about their appearance.