Read Making Marriage Work Online

Authors: Joyce Meyer

Making Marriage Work

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from
The Amplified Bible
(
AMP
).
The Amplified Bible, Old Testament
, copyright © 1965, 1987 by The Zondervan Corporation.
The Amplified New Testament
, copyright © 1954, 1958, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Scripture quotations marked “
NIV
” are taken from the
Holy Bible, New International Version
®
.
NIV
®
. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked “
NKJV
” are taken from the
New King James Version
. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked “
NASB
” are taken from the
New American Standard Bible
®
, (
NASB
®
). Copyright © The Lockman Foundation 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977. Used by permission.

Verses marked “
TLB
” are taken from
The Living Bible
© 1971. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked “
KJV
” are taken from the
King James Version
of the Bible.

The author has emphasized some words in Scripture quotations. These words are not emphasized in the original Bible versions.

Warner Books Edition

Copyright © 2000 by Joyce Meyer

Life In The Word, Inc.

P.O. Box 655

Fenton, Missouri 63026

All rights reserved.

Previously published as
Help Me—I’m Married!

Warner Faith

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017

Visit our Web site at
www.HachetteBookGroup.com

Warner Faith and the “W” logo are trademarks of Time Warner Inc. or an affiliated company Used under license by Hachette Book Group, which is not affiliated with Time Warner Inc.

First eBook Edition: October 2002

Reissued: June 2005

ISBN: 978-0-446-55661-3

Contents

INTRODUCTION

PART 1: TRIUMPH OR TRAGEDY?

1: ONE FLESH? ARE YOU SURE?

2: BUT WON’T THAT HURT?

3: BEFORE STARTING OVER, TRY THIS …

4: A MAN SHOULDN’T BE ALONE

5: COUNT TO TEN BEFORE YOU SPEAK

6: MAYBE SOME OF IT WAS MY FAULT

7: MAY I CHOP THAT FRUIT FOR YOU?

PART 2: MAKING CHOICES

8: IS THAT YOUR DRIPPING TOWEL?

9: I PROMISE TO LOVE YOU, BUT …

10: LET’S COMMUNICATE!

11: IS THERE A NICER WAY TO SAY THAT?

12: YOU NEED WHAT?

13: SO WHAT WILL THIS COST ME?

14: PASS THE BAND-AIDS®, PLEASE

PART 3: THE FRUIT OF MARRIAGE

15: WHY ARE YOU SO DIFFERENT FROM ME?

16: TWO ARE BETTER THAN ONE

17: THE LOGIC OF LOVE

18: HOW TO GAIN AND MAINTAIN

19: THE PRICE OF PEACE

20: HELP ME — I THINK I’M IN LOVE!

PRAYER FOR A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH THE LORD

ENDNOTES

RECOMMENDED READING

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

INTRODUCTION

The blending of two individuals into one harmonious marriage is a process that takes time. God said that marriage will bring two people together and cause them to become as one flesh. I will be the first to admit that making a relationship work is hard and sometimes even painful. Doing what God says to do is not always easy, but my life is a living testimony that obeying God has greater rewards than I could have ever expected. If you had told me twenty-five years ago that one day I would be in such agreement with my husband that we would be as one heart focused on common goals, I would have laughed and asked you what science fiction movie you had been watching. Yet, we are living proof that two opposites can attract and become a strong force together in achieving God’s plan for both our own pleasure and our impact in the world.

A popular morning news show in America recently reported an upward trend in the nation of more couples living together who aren’t married. The research also showed that these same couples are less likely to be together for life than those who commit to each other through marriage. What’s the difference? Both groups claim to love each other, but only the married couples made a promise to keep working at that love for each other.

Only time and trials can prove whether their promise to each other will be kept and thus magnify the presence of their love. To enjoy triumph instead of tragedy in a marriage, couples today need to learn how to keep the promise they made to each other on their wedding day. In keeping the promise of marriage, the mystery of how two people become one flesh will unfold and God’s plan for our own relationship with Him will be revealed.

To enjoy triumph instead of tragedy in a marriage, couples today need to learn how to keep the promise they made to each other on their wedding day.

In this book we will examine what God meant when He said that a husband and wife would become one flesh. The
King James Version
of the Bible states in Ephesians 5:31 that a man and his wife
shall be one flesh
, but many versions of the Bible use the word
become
rather than
be
(
AMP, NKJV, NIV, NASB
). Thank goodness we get a chance to
become
or most of us would disqualify ourselves by the end of the honeymoon.

BECOMING ONE TAKES TIME

Becoming one takes time and too many couples are giving up on God’s plan before the benefit of His design is manifested in their lives. The marriage vows do not supernaturally bring two individuals into perfect harmony. On the contrary, the wedding vows are a promise that they will not give up on each other, in spite of their differences, sickness, and successes, but will commit to waiting on God’s plan to work in their lives. The Bible says that the process of a man becoming one with his wife is a profound mystery, but in it the heart of Christ to His church will be revealed.

As you read the unlikely love story that developed between Dave and me, you will see that God most certainly can work miracles. Dave asked God to lead him to a woman who needed help and when he saw me, he claims it was a “love-at-first-sight story.” I wasn’t looking for anyone but was determined to face life my own way. Dave met with conflict the first day he said “hello” to me, but God smiled on that day and was faithful to complete the good work He had started in us.

We will look at God’s heart and purpose for marriage and see that He is trustworthy and His plans are for us and not against us. Then as we consider His goals for our marriage we will be able to embrace the reasons God wanted a man and woman to become a family. God gives clear direction on how to achieve the goals He sets before us. His ways are not our ways, but He gives us the power and the grace we need to act right so that we can see His face and reflect His goodness through our lives.

We will examine the differences between men and women and how those differences can either build up or tear down the other. The choice of whether we will help or hinder our spouse is our own. If we choose to help, we must draw from God’s source of supernatural love that is available to us on a daily basis.

I will give you examples of my own mistakes and shortcomings. If you have listened to me teach or have read my previous books, you know that I am full of illustrations on “what not to do.” But I can also prove that God is faithful to bless those who repent of their stubbornness and follow His leading.

I’ll show you that happiness is not about finding a spouse who acts right all the time. Dave knows I think he sometimes watches too many sports on
TV
and plays too much golf, but we’ll see the surprise twist of what God says to do with a mate who “doesn’t believe” they are in the wrong.

I will not end this discussion without showing you godly principles on how to “fight fair” and confront the threats that come against your relationship with your mate. This is an important book, and I believe that God will reveal to you spiritual truths and powerful applications that will heal, restore, and renew your relationship with your spouse no matter where you are in your relationship with each other.

My goal for this book is to encourage people with bad marriages to believe that they can be healed. People with good marriages need to continue to do what they have to do to keep their relationship thriving. A majority of people don’t know how to maintain what they have. Galatians 5:1 says,
In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off]
. So, once couples get this freedom, that doesn’t mean they’re going to keep it without a healthy focus on their relationship.

In fact, if people have a real weakness in an area, Satan will come back around and try them in that area the first time he thinks they’re asleep and not paying any attention. But God will help us through the power of His Holy Spirit. We can anticipate and wait for the blessing and good, which come to those who conform to His will in purpose, thought, and actions.

Love sees the best in the other person when they can’t see it themselves.

Love between two people creates a safe place for them to come when they are weary and not on their best behavior. Love sees the best in the other person when they can’t see it themselves. God is not mocked; we will reap what we sow. If we love our spouse, we will in turn be loved when we need grace in our lives. Someone needs to be first to sow the right seeds. Read on to refresh yourself with biblical principles on how to plant love into your relationship that will bring you a harvest of happiness from God’s abundant supply.

PART 1

TRIUMPH OR TRAGEDY?

1

ONE FLESH? ARE YOU SURE?

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

Genesis 2:24

Marriage begins with a promise between a man and a woman to honor and cleave to each other for life. Too many couples depend on love to keep their marriage together, but commitment is the adhesive of marriage, and love is the reward of keeping the promise to stand beside each other through both good and bad times, in both sickness and in health, in both poverty and wealth. The process of keeping that promise is what makes love grow between the two of them.

The story of how Dave and I met is probably much like many other people’s first encounter. However, not every couple started out with as many problems as I had, nor has every couple enjoyed the victory and triumphs we have celebrated through our marriage. Our relationship didn’t always bear the good fruit that is now overflowing into the lives of others. Without God, we were headed for tragedy, but God showed us life principles that helped us through the struggles and difficulties that most all couples face. Our story proves that with God, all things are possible, and that commitment to a promise bears the fruit of love.

By the time I was twenty-three years old, I was filled with great disappointment. Injury upon injury had been inflicted upon my heart, and I had never known what it meant to be happy or at peace with life. When I met Dave, I had already suffered an abusive relationship from my father and from a five-year marriage to a young man who had as many problems as I did.

Commitment to a promise bears the fruit of love.

I was born during the Second World War, right in the heat of it, in 1943. My father was inducted into the service the day after I was born, and I only saw him one time during the first three years of my life. When he came home from the war, he was bitter, angry, and addicted to alcohol, which left our family with painful memories. I endured nearly fifteen years of sexual abuse from him, which obviously had a devastating effect on my personality.

I didn’t understand how to loose myself from the evil root of rejection that developed in my soul, and after being abused sexually I thought nobody would ever want me. So I married the first young man who came along in my life even though he had as many problems as I had. He had been raised improperly, too, and was allowed to quit school at a very young age. We had a five-year relationship that was riddled with pain and more rejection. We were separated maybe twenty times during those five years. My brief marriage ended in divorce, and my first husband, who was living with other women, ended up going to prison for writing bad checks.

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