There is a truth about marriage I bet you didn’t expect, or conceive as a young bride or groom. Marriage is all about….
Marriage is for grownups. Yet when most of us rush into our vows, we discover fairly quickly that our spouse is immature. Yep.. Tell us something we don’t know *grin*
However, begrudgingly we will admit we are also immature. I look over the years of married life and I can see the brilliant design of matrimony. I know, without doubt, God wants me to grow up and He uses my spouse to mature me.
Hebrews 6:1(a) 1Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity,
I love the Message translation of Hebrews 1
1So come on, let's leave the preschool finger-painting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ.
It seems so simple.
Our parents strived to grow us up. Our God, our Heavenly Father, is desperate us to grow up. He has so much to give us and share with us but until we are mature enough to handle it, He waits.
Not everyone wants to grow up. Many fear growing up. Some refuse to grow up and so many are too selfish to grow up. Then we get married. Do you see a recipe for disaster here? I can bet there are millions of marriages that struggle with one or both spouses who are immature.
One of the greatest things about becoming a believer in Jesus is that we have a reliable, authentic, and doable guidebook to maturity. What a relief. I have more to say about this later.
It is nearly impossible to change anyone but yourself. So, our maturing process must begin with “self.” When we have stepped out onto that path of truly seeking to mature in Christ, lasting growth happens. It changes our perspective, our character, our outlook almost everything. But, on the flip side, what do we do if our spouse refuses to grow up?
Well, I will submit to you that we can’t force our spouse to change just because we think they need to change. Change begins when a person is confronted with a valid need to change. And there are instances when we ares the means by which change is brought about in our spouse. This is common in a healthy and committed marriage.
What I want to explore in the next few posts is our role as a spouse in an unequally yoked marriage in the “growing up” part of marriage.
In our marriage relationship, we learn to surrender our selfish nature. And that happens as we:
• Sort out how to share tasks and duties of our home (not usually equally but shared in some fashion)
• Learn responsibility for ourselves and others, such as children.
• Develop appreciation mostly when one spouse gives expectantly.
• When we disagree fight.
We actually need conflict. It’s a bummer but true. How we navigate that conflict, however, is enormously important.
Today, I look back on my marriage and can affirm that certain conflict was absolutely necessary to maintain a healthy relationship AND there were times in conflict I should have kept my big mouth shut.
Can I get an Amen?
Discerning when to engage and when to shut up is the most difficult part of the growing up process. So I want to talk about the discernment aspect of conflict and then discuss some actual situations that are likely to happen in every marriage and how to navigate through them.
On Friday, stop in for the second post in this series. Let’s learn when it’s time to stand your ground or when we need to let go. I don’t always get the discernment thing right but I have learned a few things and I think I hear the Lord calling me to share some strategies that have worked in our marriage.
I started to look for a few good books, written by Christian authors on the subject, but couldn’t find one in my home library. So today, I would be so grateful to hear your suggestions for reading about resolving marital conflict. I’m sure there are many of us who would benefit from a great book on navigating our “growing up” conflicts.
Be blessed this week. See you again on Friday when we will talk about discernment. God has so much to give all of us in this area and I’ll share what He has taught me.