Thursday, April 30, 2009

Marriage Series:
Guard the Treasure

This is the fourth post in this week's marriage series. Tomorrow I will be posting all of the questions that have come in this week, with my answers.

Keeping your priorities straight is easy for the first few months of your marriage. It happens with ease because you are in the honeymoon phase and everything is new and exciting, and it is your heart’s deepest desire to make your marriage work. But after the months and years go by, and especially after you have children -- it is often easy to get into a comfortable pattern.

Many couples and particularly parents who have been married for a while relate to each other more like brother and sister than husband and wife or lovers. How often have you heard an older couple call their spouse "Mama" or "Papa" or "Mom" or "Dad"? Nicknames like babe, sweetheart, darling, and the like go by the wayside as spouses begin to relate more to one another as parents than a duo that is united by romantic love. Others feel the husband and wife love relationship is just another job to do that takes too much effort and they don't need something else on their already overloaded "to do" list. The enemy tries his best to get us to get into this mode. He wants couples to be comfortable, and bored. We really need to fight against this. Some couples who are “comfortable” even spiritualize it and say, “well, our marriage is about more than being lovers...” but the fact is, God didn’t give you a marriage partner just to be your buddy.

The proof that your marriage is top priority is in your pursuit of the protection and nurture of it. I don't know if any of you reading have noticed this, but children will try to divide you. And you mustn't let them! (If they do, it's your fault, not theirs. Children are children and adults are called to act like adults and take responsibility.) Many couples believe the lie that “we’re in a special season right now and don’t have any time to spend together in any significant amount. Someday our time will come.” A whole lot of people live life in a continual cycle of “somedays” or “if only’s.”

If only I could find a man...
If only I could get married...
If only I could have children…

and it's the same thing with “someday " ...

Someday when we get married, we’ll have more time together…
Someday when we have kids, we’ll be so much happier…
Someday when the kids finally start school…
Someday when the kids go to college...
Someday when the kids move out...

YOUR SOMEDAY IS NOW.

It’s important to sacrifice to have time together in all seasons of your marriage. Someday may never come, tomorrow is not guaranteed -- so take the time now. Whatever you feed grows and whatever you starve dies. So feed the passion in your marriage. Some marriages are dying for lack of attention and it's all blamed on the "special season" you're in. Don't buy that lie. You will always be in some sort of "season". Life really doesn't take a break. Take time for each other now.

Someone once said that the greatest gift a father can give to his children is to love their mother. The most important relationship children have is not with their father or mother, but the relationship the parents have with each other. In an landmark study, researcher and author Judith Wallerstein tracked a large sample of children of divorce for 25 years. Wallerstein found that unless there is violence in the home, kids suffer more from parents getting a divorce than staying in a bad marriage. She writes all about her findings in her book, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce. By tracking approximately 100 children as they forge their lives as adults, she has found that contrary to the popular belief that kids would bounce back after the initial pain of their parents' split, children of divorce often continue to suffer well into adulthood. Their pain plays out in their relationships, their work lives and their confidence about parenting themselves. You see, the greatest impact you have on your children is through the relationship you have with your spouse. They need to see and know that your relationship is secure.

You must put your marriage relationship first in the home. Child centered homes have ruined countless marriages, and just about as many children! After years of living in a child centered home, the marriage breaks down because there is no nurturing of the marriage relationship. The couple have just “lived for the children.” This is not healthy. Do not let your children run your home. First of all, it's a lot more stressful. Second, in the long run, they will appreciate the time Mom and Dad took to improve their relationship, and keep it first -- because it benefits them.

Most times couples have different backgrounds and ideas on how to raise children or run a home. There needs to be a meeting of the minds, and open communication about this between spouses, so your family can thrive. You must be in unity, praying, planning and persevering together on behalf of your family. There are only two things we can take to heaven one day -- ourselves, and others that we love (if they know Jesus Christ as their Savior). People are most important in this life. The stock market may plummet, but no matter -- people are still the most worthwhile investment on this earth! You will never lose by investing in your marriage and your family. There is not a thing on this earth you can take with you to heaven, materially. But those you love can go with you. Invest in them.

There is nothing wrong with having money or being blessed. The Bible says that God delights when His people are blessed. But some people consider financial provision the greatest thing they can do for their family. They are sadly mistaken. Some people work 70 or 80 hours a week, and even multiple jobs to own everything they desire to. Many work extra hours to buy their dream house, but then can't even spend the time they want to spend in the house because they have to work overtime just to pay for it. What good are all the "things" in your life if you don't get to spend time with those you love? Having a meaningful, significant life and impacting others for Christ is much more important than having a dream home and several cars in the garage. At the end of this life when you are on your death bed, will you celebrate your home or car? No, but you will think about your loved ones. The bible says, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.” Matthew 6:19-21 (niv)

It's not all about what you have in this life. It's about who you have beside you. In regard to this, Larry and I have always realized that no matter what happens in our lives, we can be happy if we are together, and serving God with all our hearts. Throughout our marriage, Larry has always said, "Home is where we both are at the same time." It doesn't matter where we are, what "things" we may acquire, or what other situations come into our lives. What makes it all worthwhile is that we are together and that we are making an impact in this world for the Lord through our marriage and our ministry. In fact, our marriage IS a ministry unto itself. God is glorified. Is there anything greater?

5 comments:

Sharon said...

In fact, our marriage IS a ministry unto itself. God is glorified. Is there anything greater?

Awesome, beloved sister!

Much love,
Shari

DaNella Auten said...

Keep up the good work Deanna. And I love that "Home is where we both are at the same time." Q and I are like that. One day we had to run to Wal-Mart to grap something, so we were getting all the kids dressed and shoed, and one of them stopped us and said, "Can't one of you just stay here and keep us, and the other go?" and we said, "Yeah we could, but Mommy and Daddy just like to be together, so yall get to come!" They weren't thrilled. lol They think "Mommy and Daddy" like spending toooooo much time together. lol

Anonymous said...

I have learned over the years to say "no" to some things I have been asked to do. I've watched many friends join the "Burned Out for Jesus" crusade, sacrificed their marriage for the ministry, all because they could not say no. I have been "looked down on" because I put my husband and family first. Don't get me wrong, I serve the Lord greatly in our church and community, but I do not say "yes" every time I am asked to do something.
Ruth, PA

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