Monday, 28 June 2010

It's Not Me that Needs to Change

I have to believe that at some point in some marriages there is a time when one or both of the partners come to the realization that things are not going well in their marriage. For the wife it may be as subtle as her husband has stopped kissing her goodbye in the morning. For the husband to come to the same realization it usually has to be much less subtle, i.e. his wife threatened him with a knife if he ever again made a sexual advance.

I believe the thoughts that follow the revelation that all is not well in Camelot will determine whether or not the couple can turn things around; whether or not they can achieve a God glorifying marriage or will have to bear the pain of alternative choices.

One decision made by many is “it is all his/her fault”. Strike one (excuse the baseball analogy. The next thought is “and they will never change.” Strike two. And lastly, “I need to find my fulfillment in someone or something else.” Strike three.

If either or both of the parties arrive at the same conclusion the marriage is all but over, the only thing left to determine is how it will play out. The couple can lead parallel lives, essentially becoming roommates, or they can torment each other at every opportunity, or dissolve the marriage.

Fact #1 – It is never all his/her fault.
Fact #2 – You cannot change your spouse, you can only change yourself.
Fact #3 – All things are possible with God
Fact #4 – Only God can fulfill you, no person can or should do that.

Pastor Alistair Begg summarized the reason for hope in his sermon “Planting Hedges in Marriage – Pt. 1” when he said,
“The changes that God demands in his word he makes possible by His indwelling Spirit. He does not call for behavior from us that he does not provide the resources…”

Often when couples come to counseling it is with the hope that the counselor can change their spouse. “Nadda gona happen”. Some are unwilling to repent before God and to ask their spouse to forgive them. This couple would have a better chance of winning the lottery than seeing healing take place. Still other couples come with the notion that if counseling doesn’t work they can always get a divorce. To this couple I would say “Lotsa luck”. As long as you have an exit strategy you will never put the effort into what it will take to restore the marriage to “God’s original design.”

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