Sunday, February 10, 2013
“Misery loves company.“
The old adage has a lot of truth to it. When we are down we desire comfort, and few things bring a married person down more than marital discord. When we seek comfort in these situations though, it can lead us to seek out not the people who will give us the best advice, but rather the advice we want to hear. Also dangerous is the fact that modern society makes it hip to bash the institution of marriage. Complaining to friends about one’s spouse is constant fodder in movies, sit-coms, and comedy routines. It has become too easy, too acceptable to talk about your marriage problems to people who have no interest in helping you solve them. At best this is unhelpful - and at worst it can be destructive. If you are complaining about your spouse, your account is slanted to your point of view. Your friends will more than likely side with you, and it quickly becomes a downward spiral that leaves you convinced you are right, or have been wronged. When that happens, there is little chance there will be room in your heart for grace, forgiveness and humility when you and your spouse are together again.
Those traits - grace, forgiveness and humility - are the keys to effective problem solving. They are the hallmarks of God’s kingdom, which we are implored to strive for in Matthew 6:33. “Seek first his kingdom, and His righteousness.” You must talk to your spouse first if there is an issue to resolve. Sometimes though, problems are too big, hurts run too deep, for a couple to effectively work out on their own. If you must talk to a third party be sure and seek out someone who will give you honest advice from a Godly perspective, and not just someone you know will agree with your take on the problem. Obviously, it is not easy to talk about problems in your marriage with just anyone, so this underscores the need to be in a strong, Christian community. When there are people in your life that you regularly study God’s word with, they are able to give you an objective viewpoint, one grounded in Biblical truth. In James 5:16 we are called to “confess our sins to one another, and pray for one another that we may be healed.” None of us is meant to take on our problems in isolation. It is easy when we struggle to believe that we are all alone, that no one could understand exactly what we are going through. These thoughts are Satan’s lies at work on our flawed selves! Being in an active community of believers gives you a network in which you don’t have to be alone.
In Galatians 6:1-3 we are implored to not only “bear one another’s burdens” but also to “restore in a spirit of gentleness a brother or sister caught in any trespass.” The love we share in community goes both ways; we are there to be supported, but also to support our brothers and sisters in Christ as there is need. For those of you in strong, healthy marriages, be relationship mentors to a young couple. Honestly share your wisdom, your experiences. Show them how God has blessed you, and why His plans for couples are for the best. Work towards strengthening other marriages, and you will also bless your own!