Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Is Your Marriage Warning Light On?

Dr. Bob Snyder writes a great blog entitled “Lessons Learned on the Journey” where he shares thoughts about life as viewed through a Christian filter ( ). In a recent posting “Faith Maintenance” , he questioned whether or not he was taking as much care of his faith as his car’s service manual suggested he take of his car. His entry got me thinking, which is often a painful experience, do we take better care of our cars than we do our marriages?

A car comes with a maintenance manual and often there is a warning light on the dashboard that tells you when it is time to have a particular service performed. More specifically the manual is for the make and model of the car you are driving, written and published by the manufacturer of that vehicle. They know what is best to keep your car in top notch running condition.

Christians have been blessed with a marriage maintenance manual -the Bible. It was written by the One who designed and created the institution of marriage. He knows what is absolutely best for each married couple. We too are given a warning light, i.e. our marriage is not experiencing the joy that God intended, or our love for one another does not manifest itself in a way that glorifies the Creator. To put it in secular terms – “you’ve lost that lov’in feeling.” (Love is not a feeling by the way but that is material for another blog.)

Ignoring your marriage warning light will be more hazardous to your emotional and physical well being than if you ignored the emergency warning light on your car.

Now you can turn to Dr. Phil, read a marriage advice column, buy one of the 10, 293 books on marriage published last year, or read what has been written by the inventor of marriage, the One for whom marriage was designed. If you want the “Cliff Notes” version just read in the Book of Ephesians, chapter 5, verses 21-33. This will tell you what you need to do to keep your marriage running in top notch condition.  

Some people are capable of changing their own oil, rotating their own tires and doing other routine maintenance. Others of us need to go to a mechanic just to have our tires inflated. If you are in the former category you might find that reading a Christian book on marriage or watching a DVD together will suffice. If you are in the latter category you may need to seek a Christian marriage counselor.

In either case the focus must be on what you need to do to be the husband/wife that God has called you to be, not on what your spouse needs to change.

How about it, are you taking better care of your car than your marriage?

Monday, 31 May 2010

Crumpled Clothes

In a recent marriage class we were discussing the fact that marriage is a gift from God. But many of us act as though our spouse is more like the Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh than a gift. A treasured friend offered the following analogy: “Let’s say a good friend gave you a $1500 designer dress that she chose for you because she knew it would look beautiful on you and bring out your best features. After you wore it once or twice you crumpled it up into a ball and threw it into the bottom of your closet. There was nothing wrong with the garment you just didn’t go to the effort to take care of it. Now let’s assume that the person who gave you the gift happened to be visiting and saw the crumpled garment, the one they had so carefully selected for you. How do you think they would feel?” Perhaps God feels like that generous person when He sees what a crumpled mess we have made of the marriage he has given us, all because we didn’t put effort into taking care of it.

As a general rule when I give someone a gift it is something that I think will bring pleasure to them, something that I think they may have wanted and/or hoped for. I might not be brightest bulb but I learned a long time ago not to give my wife an iron or toaster for an anniversary gift. Neither do we give someone a box of Brillo scrub pads when invited to their home for dinner. There are few things that fit into the category of both “really good” and “good for you”. Three things come to mind – red wine and chocolate (you have to love those anti-oxidants) and marriage.

Marriage made the “good” and “good for you” list because when it is good it is really good and God intended it to be good. In addition God intended it for our good. Setting aside the benefits of a longer and healthier life touted as bi-products of marriage, consider that this person who He has given you is part of His development plan for your life. And you say, “You have to be kidding.” You did say that didn’t you? The person who constantly irritates me, the man who couldn’t find the clothes hamper if it were tied to his leg, the woman who acts as though I am a project to be fixed, the person who doesn’t have one romantic bone in his/her body, etc. – that’s part of God’s development plan?

I find two things are true. First, God uses people and circumstances in my life as part of His plan to mold me into the person he wants me to be and secondly, God’s answer to the Apostle Paul in his time of trial is the same as his answer to me, “My grace is sufficient for you."

Remember your spouse is a gift from God, treat him or her that way.  This is where my friends analogy breaks down, don't hang your spouse up!