Friday, March 30, 2007

Marriage: 3 Realities about Life

by Barry R. Leventhal, Ph.D.
Two Becoming One

source: Crosswalk
If you're married, you probably know the feeling that comes when the
honeymoon ends and reality hits. Many husbands and wives then ask,
"What have we gotten ourselves into?" When we first "fall in love,"
raging hormones and emotional highs transform reality into romanticism
and even idealism. Added to all of this, is the romantic spin that
media puts on everything that is even remotely related to love, sex,
and marriage.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with a little romance and idealism —
as long as they don't blind us to the reality of everyday married
life. So for our marital reality check we must turn to the book of
Ecclesiastes. This inspired wisdom book weaves together three major
themes that directly connect us with reality from the divine
perspective. It is like three strands to a powerful cord. All three
strands must be tightly woven together or the whole book will unravel.

"A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart" (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

So what are these three strands of reality that will help a married
couple face factual reality and not some kind of virtual reality?

Reality Strand 1: Life can be very difficult and perplexing.

"Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice
there is wickedness and in the place of righteousness there is
wickedness" (Ecclesiastes 3:16).

When we first fall in love, romantic love has a way of blinding us to
life as it really is in a fallen world. Yes, it is true that Jesus
said to His disciples, "I have come that they may have life, and have
it abundantly" (John 10:10). But He also said to them, "I have told
you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you
will have trouble" (John 16:33).

Life can be hard at times, even destructive. Disappointments descend.
Frustrations abound. Only when a married couple embraces this first
reality, will they be able to trust God for all the good things that
He has for them.

Reality Strand 2: Ultimately God will right all wrongs.

"God will bring to judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for
there will be a time for every activity, a time for every deed"
(Ecclesiastes 3:17).

"God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden
thing, whether is it good or evil" (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

In our marital journey, with all of its difficulties and perplexities,
many of us have been wronged by others and experienced injustice.
This can be very taxing on the husband or wife who desires justice for
their spouse.

But we can rest assured, knowing that in the long run, if our just
cause is not dealt with fairly in this life, it certainly will be in
the next. Good will ultimately prevail. The Enemy may have the
latest word, but God will have the last word!

Reality Strand 3: While we wait for God's judgment, we are to obey Him
and enjoy the pleasures He has provided.

"I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing
to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so
worked that men should fear [obey] Him" (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

"There is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell
himself that his labor is good. This also I have seen that it is from
the hand of God. For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without
Him?" (Ecclesiastes 2:24-25).

Go then, eat your bread in happiness and drink your wine with a
cheerful heart; for God has already approved your works…. Enjoy life
with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which
He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and
in your toil in which you have labored under the sun (Ecclesiastes
9:7, 9).

As we trust and obey God, while moving through life's marital journey
in the wilderness of this world, He will supply an oasis from time to
time – like a day off, an evening together, a secluded weekend, a
vacation, etc. Take advantage of them. They are God's loving
reminders that while life can at times be hard and even cruel, He
still cares for His own and will ultimately right all wrongs and bring
in His everlasting kingdom for all who have come to know Him in a
personal way.

In light of this biblical reality check, prayerfully consider the
following suggestions:

Do your own reality check: Is your marriage characterized more by
romanticism, pessimism, skepticism, cynicism, or realism?

If you are in the midst of one of life's storms, come together as a
couple and pray. It may not be a matter of sin on your part. You may
be under attack. If it is a matter of sin, confess it to God and to
each other. Get others to pray with and for you.

When is the last time, as a couple, that you really enjoyed one of
God's good oases? When can you take advantage of the next one He
brings your way? Pray about it and thank God for all of His good
gifts — especially in the midst of your wilderness journey.

Two Becoming One publications and small group resources help couples
understand God's purposes, principles and provisions for marriage.
Many key concepts in Two Becoming One are taught in the popular
FamilyLife Ministry marriage seminars.

No comments: