“I Want A Beautiful Marriage!”
How Do We Keep Our Marriage Together?
Most couples usually enjoy an abundance of romance and fun before marriage, however, after marriage they soon experience conflict from many sources. Conflict will come from differences in personality and values, but also from relatives, friends, habits, unmet expectations and immaturity. Especially in the early years, we wish that the other person would change and be more like us. One of the important Milestones of a more mature marriage is realizing that they are not going to change and become like us. Then we can either continue to wish they were more like us or, the wiser choice, we can move into a new acceptance of who they are and what they are like. Before arriving this point of acceptance, some couples, overwhelmed with conflict and frustration, give up and get a divorce. And others, even if they don’t mention the divorce word, will certainly think about divorce as a possible path out of the turmoil and back toward peace.
But acceptance of the other, with their differences, often leads to a breakthrough. It is the movement or leap from tolerating their differences to appreciating them that positions our attitude to have gratitude and appreciation for our partner. If we can move to appreciating their differences, then we can move to appreciating them as a person. This Monumental change from tolerating our partner to appreciating them can significantly change the way the marriage feels and operates. Instead of seeing a lot of problems and bother we can begin to see our partner as a gift. In fact, that is what they are. It is just a matter of focus. Of course sometimes it will seem that they are a gift to torment us.
As you know, relationships are difficult at times, and patience and forgiveness are necessary to allow the beauty to shine through. It is a little like how gold is refined by fire or heat. Finally, after time of refinement, the beauty will come, but, as with gold, it will require time and a commitment to see it through. Will we focus on differences as a problem or as an opportunity to learn and give grace and honor to another imperfect person with their own weaknesses and issues. Where are you in this progression? It is always a tendency to see our issues as small and insignificant and our partner’s issues as big and bad. But even it really is that way, we will be able to put into practice the virtues that build good character and maturity, which is what God wants for us more than he wants our happiness.
The sooner each of the two in the marriage can learn to appreciate their partner and their differences, instead of just tolerating their spouse and their differences, the sooner they will move toward a mature marriage relationship where honoring one another will strengthen their friendship, love and respect. They will then be able to move toward a fulfilling, more loving marriage. If people learn these things early in marriage and put in some effort, along with an intentionality to move more in this same direction, the path to marital happiness can be much shorter. It doesn’t need to take ten or twenty years, or two or three different marriages to begin to have a healthy appreciation of one’s partner. So, yes, I suggest that you start as soon as possible.
God Established Commitment In Marriage
I spent many hours in the early years of my marriage giving my attention to the material from many good marriage books. I credit the good information that I found in those books, along with a strong commitment to my marriage as the biggest two reasons why my marriage didn’t come apart in the difficult times. But there is a third reason. It is the spiritual aspect. I continually and regularly asked God for his help, guidance, and blessing for my marriage and family. I will never know, until I get to heaven, how much God did to keep our marriage functioning, but I believe it was a significant part of the whole. I believe that the information I found in the books that I read helped a lot. They always provided hope and ideas to shorten the path toward a beautiful marriage. Not a perfect marriage, but a marriage with beauty shining through the cracks and weaknesses. There are no perfect marriages, since there are no perfect people. We are still in the process of learning to appreciate, respect and treasure each other. Marriage is a little like learning to dance with a partner. You will step on some toes and make some wrong moves, but if you are patient and don’t give up, you will learn to be more graceful dancers together. As you continue practicing this dance of marriage you will have many opportunities to learn how to be less selfish and more grateful for this partner, learning to see their strengths more than their weaknesses.
I write this for anyone who is in, or is interested in being in, a committed partnership and wants a beautiful marriage. This is for those who believe that the hard work is worth the benefits for yourself, your spouse, your family and others who will be touched by the impact of your work to build something beautiful in and from your marriage. And I do realize that it really is hard work sometimes. Other times it is easy. But then it gets hard again. But it is worth the difficulty. I believe that the greatest purpose of marriage is beyond the benefits that we may receive. Marriage and beauty in marriage is not just for my partner and I and our family. If it is done correctly, it is to reflect the beauty of the God who established marriage in the beginning, bringing honor and glory and praise to Him. A few words from the Bible will help explain what I mean. God said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:5). Paul added, “This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32). Paul is saying that the two partners becoming one is a profound mystery, but the mystery relates to Christ and the church. What does this mean? Well, the church that he is talking about is the church universal, which is all those who believe in Jesus and follow him as obedient children. The bible says that these obedient followers are the bride of Christ. Christian marriage should represent the faithful followers of Christ who are willing to suffer for Him, not those who are living for themselves. In marriage, we are similarly not to be living for our own happiness, but for the glory of God. So the difficulties in marriage should be endured as a kind of worship of God. It is a way of honoring God. It is not all about me. In fact, it is very little about me and my feelings and my happiness, even though that is what our society has attempted to make it. Paul continued with, “However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:33). These are commands. They have nothing to do with how we feel about our partner.
My wife and I probably have many of the same hopes and dreams and problems as many other couples. Some of the things that have helped us the most is the material from the good books that I have read, some good radio programs, especially Family Life Today, and praying together several times a week. I have heard it said, “Couples that Pray Together, Stay Together,” and though it is probably not always true, I think that it is generally true.
Finally, I want to say that marriage is a good avenue to help move people toward maturity. The subtitle of the book, Sacred Marriage, by Gary Thomas, asks, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?” If Gary Thomas is right with that proposition, and I think he is, it provides a much bigger motivation to put in the effort to learn what is necessary to have a beautiful marriage that reflects the beauty of a patient and loving God. So, if your personal maturity is an important goal for your life, the difficulty and suffering of staying in a relationship that is painful is offset, at least in part, by the benefit of getting the character virtues of things like patience and self-control. This concept of marriage, being more for our holiness than for our happiness, if followed, will lead people away from a selfish lifestyle and attitude in marriage. Living for holiness rather than my happiness will reduce the relationship bounce from relationship to relationship because they are looking for someone that makes them feel happy. Those who get this attitude will always be looking for someone better that they believe will make them more happy. The lie that these people are believing is that, “I should be happy and above all, I should seek my happiness.” People who marry with this belief will find that marriage does not satisfy for long and that the best thing they can do for themselves their partner and their children, if they have children, is to drop this believe as soon as possible. I hope my writing will help some people to see the foolishness of this kind of thinking. I hope they will prefer instead to take the path that leads to the beautiful marriage that I have described.
Maturity, commitment, forgiveness,
and a good attitude
are all important qualities
for a good
Copyright – Beautiful Marriage Blog – 2020