Thursday, June 9, 2011


Pressure, pushing down on me Pressing down on you, no man asks for...
-David Bowie / Queen

But you will come to a place Where the only thing you feel
Are loaded guns in your face And you'll have to deal with Pressure
-Billy Joel

Pressure isn’t fun. It can be exhilarating at times, and some of us claim to work better under pressure. While that may be true, over time constant pressure can break us down and rob of us of our mental and even physical health and well being. What pressures are we - consciously or otherwise - putting on our spouses because of our ideas about love?

The notion that romantic love could completely satisfy us is pervasive in all our media. We are told over and over that somewhere out there is *one* person that will complete us, that will make us whole. Love songs, romance novels and movies all trumpet that out there somewhere is our “soul mate,” and if we could just find that person all would be well; endless bliss, happily ever after. The idea of a “soul mate” is a pagan concept, rooted in ancient Greek mythology. In Plato’s The Symposium there is a story about how the first humans had four arms and legs, and two faces. Zeus, fearing their power, split them in two and condemned each to search endlessly for the other half. While dating then, we put undue pressure on ourselves to find that one... and once married we put a lot of pressure on our spouse; we expect them to be our everything, to fulfill our every need, to be our lover, our best friend, our confidant, our biggest cheerleader. In the rush of new love, it may feel that way but it can lead to unhealthy dependence, especially if we tie our identity to the relationship, and *expect* changes to *need.* Mark Gungor, pastor, couples’ counsellor and stand-up comedian said, “If there was one person on earth that could fulfill all your needs, God would make sure that person stayed AS FAR AWAY FROM YOU AS POSSIBLE!” Why? Because God wants to fill that void within us, to complete us, to satisfy our needs and wants. At first glance this seems unromantic; it’s contrary to every love song we've ever heard!  It is, however, liberating. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says:

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Make no mistake - loving your spouse as best you can is included in that good work you are called to. If you and your spouse are both looking to God to “complete” you, that takes all the pressure off each other - pressure that is unrealistic and self-defeating anyway. We can’t complete another person, or satisfy another person’s every want and need. We are finite and imperfect ourselves! With the pressure off, we are free to love our spouse because we want to, because we choose to, not because they expect or need us to. Relying on God’s strength and following Christ’s example we can love our spouses better than we ever could on our own.

When two people intentionally and continually put each other’s needs before their own, when they make it a point to forgive slights and hurts, forget misdeeds and overlook imperfections, when they choose every day to love unconditionally... then a successful marriage is virtually guaranteed.

Following Biblical truths, ANY TWO PEOPLE can make marriage work.