Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Marriage: Serving, Listening, Laughing

personal/ministry resource on marriage from JB & Shugie Collingsworth

While chatting with a friend, who is somewhat of a comic, recently, he
surprised me when he said, "You know, I live my life by three things:

1. I live to please my wife.
2. In all things we compromise – we do things her way.
3. I make sure to add anecdotes and humor to each day."

Marriage: From Surviving to Thriving
While his #2 was meant to get a laugh, I realized that he was really
on to something good with these three things. Walking away I reflected
on what a good relationship this couple has and realized that it does
not just happen by chance. Today I want to explore his three-step plan
in hopes that it will help someone else.

Marriage is a commitment to life-long teamwork requiring daily
attention and effort.

Too often couples marry and think everything
ought to just fall into place naturally leading to "happily ever
after." But, as they find out sooner or later, it is not that easy.
The good news is that God's Word has clear instructions. The pivotal
questions are:

1. Will I read God's Word, looking for help?
2. Will I trust Him more than myself?
3. Will I do what His Word instructs even when I don't want to do so?
4. Will I find His way to be best and share my testimony to encourage others?

Living to Please Your Spouse
The Bible clearly admonishes us to serve one another. Especially in
marriage we must be willing to trust God and do what He instructs.
Listen to these verses:

"Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others
as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only
for his own interests, but also for the interests of others."
(Philippians 2:3-4, Holman Christian Standard Bible)

"If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his
cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it."
(Mark 8:34-35, HCSB)

". . . serve one another through love." (Galatians 5:13b, HCSB)

We live in a very self-centered, selfish society. It is easy to become
caught up in the philosophy "what about me?" in regard to all things
of life. But that is contrary to the teaching in God's Word. God
instructs us to put the needs of our spouse ahead of our own. That is
hard to do and takes lots of practice! While it may not seem fair or
logical much of the time, it reaps benefits that come from God, and
you will never experience the supernatural outcome of what He can do
following your obedience until you try it!

Importance of Compromise
I have to admit that I do not think the couple mentioned earlier
always does things her way. However, it is obvious he takes seriously
her thoughts and opinions. They discuss things and value the differing
perspectives that each brings to situations and decisions they must
make. It is amazing that when couples commit to "putting each other
first" they often find they agree on more than they thought possible.
It is a great day in every marriage when you come to realize you are
truly better together!

Add a Little Humor
Married life should be fun! When problems and challenges come along
(and they will!) it is tempting to refuse any joy or smiles or
laughter. But God's Word says we can have joy in the midst of
hardship. So allow some fun and laughter in your life. Make it a goal
to give you spouse something to smile and laugh about each day.

It has to start somewhere, so why don't you begin today to live to
please your spouse. Do those things that will be special to him/her,
and meet needs with joy. You may think he/she does not deserve this
kind of service, but remember you are choosing to live this way out of
obedience to the Lord and trusting Him with the impact it will have on
your marriage and family. You will be blessed and maybe surprised by
God's affirmation when you trust Him like this.

JB & Shugie Collingsworth travel around the country, coaching churches
and couples on how to build strong marriages. Their ministry is based
in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.

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