I refuse to accept 50/50 in my marriage. No way. Not me. I know what the statistics say – that 50% of marriages end in divorce. And I know that the other 50% are often just sputtering along – keeping it together but not really finding the true intimacy and closeness that they each so desire. I know all of that. BUT I REFUSE TO ACCEPT THAT MY MARRIAGE WILL BE LESS THAN GREAT!
50/50 odds are not good enough for me. I want better for my wife, and for my kids, and most importantly, FOR MY SELF! I don’t want the same results as everybody else – and that is why I believe I must live differently than everybody else.
So with that said, I want to talk about what I believe is the most important factor upon which a successful marriage is built. There is one factor that I believe will contribute to your success in marriage more than anything else. This one commitment, if you keep it, won’t lead to a perfect marriage at all times – but it will certainly lead to one that is long-lasting and fulfilling for many years to come.
What is it? I must place higher value on my commitment to GOD than on my commitment to my SPOUSE.
I need to be a better man and a better husband. I need to be more patient, more compassionate, more caring. I need to live a life of honesty and integrity and purity – not just when others are watching, but even when no one is around. Why? Not because that is what my wife wants of me, but rather because that is what God REQUIRES of me.
One of the biggest problems in marriage is when a couple is fighting and each one refuses to change because they are waiting for their spouse to change first. For example:
“He needs to stop yelling and if he does, then I’ll start being nice to him again.”
(his response) “Well, I’ll stop yelling when she stops nagging and pushing my buttons like that.”
(and usually from there it goes to) “Pushing your buttons? I’ll show you what pushing buttons means! If you don’t get your act together, you’ll find out exactly how many buttons I can push at once!”
And so on and so forth. It just keeps going from bad to worse.
Instead, each person needs to realize that his/her primary duty is to God, not spouse. That means that regardless of how your spouse is behaving, you still must behave in a way that pleases God.
This isn’t about your commitment to your spouse; it is about your commitment to God. If you’re trying to be a better husband/wife for your spouse’s sake, THAT WON’T LAST! Your spouse will have good days and bad days... happy day and sad days... days where he/she makes you feel like a million bucks and days where that same person makes you feel worthless. It can’t be based on your spouse.
If it is based on your spouse, it won’t last. You'll be good on the days that he/she is good and bad on the days that he/she is bad. That won't work. That's 50/50. The only way it will be great is if it’s based on God and your vow to Him. He is the only One who doesn’t change and who always keeps His end of the deal.
GENTLEMEN, you must love your wife because God loves you and has called you to love her in the same way (see Ephesians 5:25-33).
I don’t care if she’s submissive or not. The Bible doesn’t tell you to force her to submit to you; it says that you should love her into submission. Shower her with the love that she needs and desires so badly and if you do that, trust that God will work in her heart to change her. You made a vow to God that you will love her and take care of her. You need to honor your commitment to God above all else.
LADIES, you must honor your husbands because God has called you to submit to them and to their leadership (see 1 Peter 3:1-2).
I don’t care if he isn’t being very loving. The Bible doesn’t tell you to nag your husband into loving you; it says that “chaste conduct” and a “gentle and quiet spirit” are the keys to winning your husband over. Flood with him the honor and respect that he needs and then trust that God will work in his heart to change him as well.
Bottom line: our first priority is to God, not to our spouse. When you don’t fulfill your role in marriage, the person you are dishonoring and disobeying is God. Focus on becoming the man/woman God calls you to be and let God worry about changing your spouse.
Last thought. A wise man once said:
I'm starting with the man in the mirror I'm asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
So if you're married, ask yourself this: what one thing do you need to do today to become the husband/wife that God is calling you to be?