Read Making Marriage Work Online

Authors: Joyce Meyer

Making Marriage Work (6 page)

Peace is the goal God had in mind when He established authority and relationships.

STAY FOCUSED ON THE PROMISE

As I studied the Word, I could see that God focuses on the end result, not the process that we go through. Our hope is in His answer not in our trials or waiting period. As time went by, God began to change areas in me, and Dave said it was as though I was a whole new person.

The more I fell in love with Jesus, the more I wanted to obey Him. The more I obeyed the Lord, the more I wanted to be involved with Him. The more involved I was, I loved Him even more and soon became eager for opportunities to obey Him. That’s why Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will obey Me.” And so really, to whatever degree we are obeying Him, it’s to that degree that we love him.

I started wanting to have peace, realizing that not having peace was affecting my anointing to minister. It was then that I received a revelation on strife and how to keep strife out of our marriage and our lives.

SEPARATE YOUR WHO FROM YOUR DO

Besides this deep desire for peace, another major breakthrough for me was learning that I had a root of rejection which I share of in my book,
The Root of Rejection.
That problem kept me from communicating with Dave. I didn’t know what in the world was wrong with me. We were okay as long as we both thought the same way about something, but if Dave had his own opinion on how something should be that was conflicting with my idea, I felt like he was putting me down.

He would try to tell me, “I’m not trying to put you down. I have an opinion and you have an opinion. We have the right to have separate opinions.” But I couldn’t understand that because of the way I had been treated. If he rejected my opinion, I felt that he was rejecting me.

Although I couldn’t work all that out in my head, I honestly did not know why we couldn’t talk. We would try to talk about something, and I would get confused. I would get so confused that I didn’t even know what we were doing anymore, and it was horrible. We went through this time, after time, after time.

During this same time I was actually teaching our home Bible study group on rejection! A couple of other things happened in our relationship during that time. God said to me, “You are reacting to him this way because he doesn’t agree with you and you feel he’s rejecting you. You are not separating your who from your do. Dave loves you, but he doesn’t agree with you on this one point. And you have to let him have his opinion.” It was a major turning point for me.

God wants spouses to work through the obstacles that separate them from each other. Unfortunately, there are few role models in our lives to demonstrate what He had intended for the union of a husband and wife to be. Rebellion, fear, insecurity, and impatience keep us from the blessing God intended for a man and woman to enjoy together.

I had to learn to submit to the authority of God trusting that He has my good in mind. I had to learn that God loves me enough to direct me to actions that will bring blessing not bondage. He told me in His Word to love my husband — “love Dave.” I could only prove that God was trustworthy by doing what He said to do. Healing began as I was obedient to what God said to do.

I had to learn that God loves us enough to direct us to actions that will bring blessing not bondage.

God was asking me to let Dave have a separate opinion without it being a threat to my self-esteem. I had to learn to let God work out the differences between us while learning to respect Dave’s differences and personality, which I will discuss more in a later chapter.

Peace comes from trusting God first. I had to learn to trust God when Dave and I differed in our opinions. By letting God into the midst of my concerns, I began to have a new respect for Dave’s point of view. Once the threat of rejection was removed from our debate, my heart began to change. The reward of my obedience was a growing sense of admiration for my husband.

GOD CAN MAKE ALL THINGS NEW

God does not have to have good material to build with; He is willing to take all the messes we offer Him and turn them into miracles. He has the ability to make all things new.

In Ezekiel 36:26 God makes a promise to those who will come to Him,
A new heart will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh
. God can give a tender heart to someone whose old heart was bruised and beaten with the hardness of life.

God does not have to have good material to build with; He is willing to take all the messes we offer Him and turn them into miracles.

This promise is made again in 2 Corinthians 5:17:
Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!
God makes the past nonexistent as if it never happened so that we can face tomorrow without nagging memories from the past. He has bright and wonderful promises for our marriages if we will trust Him and do what He tells us to do.

4

A MAN SHOULDN’T BE ALONE

Let marriage be held in honor (esteemed worthy, precious, of great price, and especially dear) in all things. And thus let the marriage bed be undefiled (kept undishonored); for God will judge and punish the unchaste [all guilty of sexual vice] and adulterous.

Hebrews 13:4

God has a purpose for marriage. And what God intended marriage to be and what most of us believe it to be are two entirely different things. All that God created was good, but when He looked at man, He said it wasn’t good for him to be alone, so He created woman and told them to become one. He blessed them and told them to be fruitful, multiply, and subdue the earth.

To trust God’s plan it helps to understand what His purpose is. God always starts out with something good and powerful, but it doesn’t take the enemy very long to come in and pervert it in an effort to steal and destroy what God wanted to give to us.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary
defines “marriage” as “1 a: the state of being married b: the mutual relation of husband and wife … c: the institution whereby men and women are joined in a special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a family 2: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected;
especially
: the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities 3: an intimate or close union marriage
of painting and poetry —J. T. Shawcross>.”
1

To trust God’s plan, it helps to understand His purpose.

Marriage is certainly more than the ceremony, but to many people today it has been reduced to merely a day of flowers and festivities. Our divorce rate is extremely high.

Divorce used to just affect non-Christians, and believers were very serious about making their marriages work. Divorce was not an option for the Christian because the Word of God gave only certain conditions under which somebody should just give up on their marriage. People used to be more serious about making their marriages work, but more and more believers, Christian people who love God and know the Word, are giving up on their marriages today. They’re throwing in the towel and saying, “Well, forget it. We just can’t get along.”

I know a woman who loves the Lord, and yet after twenty-three years of marriage her husband left her. There are a lot of different circumstances involved in divorce, and she knows a lot of their problems were her fault. He was willing to try to make it work. She knew if she called him and said, “O
K
, I’m sorry, let’s try and get this thing to work,” there was a good chance that he would come back. But she said, “I don’t even know if I want to bother. I just don’t know if I really love him or if I ever really loved him.”

No one really loves anyone unless God puts that love in their heart for them. First John 4:8 says,
He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love
. That tells me that if God is love, then we must allow God to instruct us in how to treat people. I’m not so sure how many of us loved each other when we got married to start with. Most of the time young couples marry because of a physical attraction. Sometimes, people just get married because they’re lonely. There are all kinds of different reasons.

I can tell you right now that when I married Dave, I didn’t have the slightest idea what love was. I didn’t know how to give love; I didn’t know how to receive love. I had never seen real love coming toward me. I didn’t know what it was. When Dave started telling me that he loved me, I just couldn’t seem to release the words out of my mouth to tell him I loved him, too.

I have grown to love Dave over the years that I have lived with him. Through watching him, hurting with him, laughing with him, crying with him, raising children with him, fighting with him, making up with him, working together and playing golf together, now I can say that I know that I love him very deeply.

Maybe your marriage is not presently in serious trouble, but that doesn’t mean that five years from now the devil couldn’t launch an attack against your marriage, and you would need to remember something from what I share with you in this book. Believe me, the devil attacks the family unit and the home.

When those doubts begin you think, I don’t know if I ever loved you to start with. This is never going to work. All we ever do is fight. And then you start to get your eye on somebody else. You need to realize that they probably have more problems than the one you have. As I already said, the grass is never greener on the other side of the fence.

The Bible says that marriage is a union. Now union is an interesting word. It means such a joining together of two that they are one. We throw that term around a little bit loosely. We know we are supposed to be one with the Godhead, the body of Christ is supposed to be one, and two people who get married are supposed to be one. But we don’t seem to comprehend totally what that means.

Picture that I am holding an empty glass. Beside me are a cup of coffee and a glass of water, the coffee of course is really dark and black, and the water is clear. A lot of times when people get married they are as different as coffee and water. Once in a great while, two people will get married and they’re a lot alike, but most of the time people are very different from each other when they first come together.

After having poured that cup of coffee and that glass of water together in this glass, is there any way that I could ever separate them again? Dave and I were so different when we started out, you would think. How in the world have you guys ever made it more than thirty years? We were almost like a cup of coffee trying to marry a glass of water. But when God pours the two together you can watch and see what happens.

God intended for you and your spouse to become a blend when He joined you together. Just as the coffee and water, you really can’t even tell if it’s coffee or water now. It looks like a new substance. And we wouldn’t have any idea how to ever get it apart again. We become one new person joined together in Christ Jesus. And that’s what God wants to do in our marriages. He wants to join us together in such a way that there’s no question about being torn apart. We are one.

God wants to join us together in such a way when we marry that there is no question about being torn apart. We are one
.

HOW PRECIOUS IS LOVE?

Look again at Hebrews 13, verse 4, because this is a very powerful Scripture that is going to come up in this discussion several different times.
Let marriage be held in honor, (esteemed worthy, precious …)
. The marriage relationship should be honored in the home. Marriage should be held in honor. This is something that God created. Marriage is not man’s idea. God was the One Who told Adam that he needed a helpmate. God was the One Who brought a woman for him and He joined the two together and said that the two shall become one flesh.

The minute you were married, you were legally one, but experientially you were not yet one. We make a mistake when we don’t realize the difference between legality and experience. Legally, the minute that I was born again and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I legally became a new creature. But I didn’t act like a new creature the minute that I was born again.

So legally, when we are married we are bound together as one. But the Bible does say that the two will
become
one flesh. You are in the process of “becoming.” While the process is working itself out, marriage should be held in honor and your relationship with each other should be esteemed as worthy and precious. You should treat each other like a piece of fine china.

Its amazing how people treat each other when they’re going together compared to the way they treat each other after they get married. When Dave and I were courting, I never even knew the man played golf. I never saw his golf clubs one time. He had eyes only for me. Dave has lifted weights basically all of his life, and he still does every other day or so. He was twenty-six years old when we met, and he had never taken a girl home with him to meet his mother. He told his mother, “When I bring a woman home with me, that will be the woman that I’m going to marry.”

But Dave said that the first night he didn’t come home to lift weights, his mother knew our relationship was serious. He even laid aside weight lifting some nights for me. I didn’t even know be played golf, and all of a sudden, after about five days of marriage, I guess he grew tired of putting up curtain rods for me and decided to drag his golf clubs out of the closet. He said, “I’m going out to the park to hit shag balls.”

I said, “What are those and what’s a shag ball?”

And from then on, for the first three years of our marriage, we fought over golf. It is amazing how differently we act when we are trying to get something from how we treat that something we were trying to get when we finally possess it. We are careful about our manners and how we behave and how we act when we are “in pursuit.”

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