In a series of seemingly unrelated conversations over a period of a few years, I noticed an interesting fact in marriages and long term relationships around me. It was all exciting at the start but the longer people stayed together the more boring the relationships are and the greater the distance between them. Many are together but are not on the same page or are together and on the same page but not willingly. Now this is not a blanket prescription but many are parked here.
It was particularly interesting that those who had children had the greatest disconnect from each other.
Once the children were born and she is focused on their upbringing, the guy feels neglected. She is too tired to have sex but is up in a blink when the baby cries. She is too tired to make him a cup of tea or warm his food but will do anything in her power to make sure the little one eats well. When he asks about it, she is aghast…how could he even think like that? Doesn’t he understand that the children were too small to fend for themselves? Can’t he see how much she is doing just to keep the family afloat? His response would be something like, you pay more attention to them than you do me, what is the point of the effort? I also do a lot; I go out and work to pay bills so I am away so much. A little recognition would be nice.
These responses go back to our socialisation. Many get married because the time is right, the person looks cool, this one makes me happy, I want to spend the rest of my life with them, license to have sex, the desire for children, pressure from family etc. The preparation process includes classes, conversations and counselling sessions that give the tools to live together and navigate common pitfalls but I dare say they don’t deal with the biggest issue.
What’s the big issue: Why did you get married in the first place?
Presumably there is nothing wrong with the reasons above but they aren’t producing lasting relationships. They are producing exacting standards and matrices for comparison that breed discontent, discomfort and conflict more often than communication, commitment or compassion. I was on that path until I met a few interesting people whose relationships were totally different because their commitments were different. Here’s what I learnt:
- Marriage is a God agenda: Don’t roll your eyes and say you knew that. Stop and think. When you sit with God and He outlines what your life must produce for Him, it should include if you will have a partner and how that relationship will produce all that He has determined for your life to do. Now don’t find the person and then fit them into the plan you have for life; find God and His plan for your life and allow Him to lead you to reason you will get married, the fruit your union will produce and the person He has chosen for you. This person will have sought God on the above matters, heard his voice about their life and been told you are the one who fits the bill and the very specific way you will produce for Him. That my friends, is divine purpose…a clear word from HIS mouth.
- Purpose makes marriage fulfilling: When you know what the relationship is to bring forth and that you cannot do it without this particular person and the right state of your heart, every step brings God joy and gives you balance. Every step off track is caught early because it produces a counter expression of God. Every challenge is embraced because it will produce Him. Every joy and sorrow is celebrated because it is a tool in the hands of the Master to produce a masterpiece. Knowing your lives are achieving God’s plan enables a deeper walk and more committed work.
- Children are indeed a blessing: We will all nod because children are a woman’s greatest identity and the evidence of male virility and vitality; that isn’t what I am saying. Children test everything we are and prove our words. As they grow, they prove or disprove that we really believe and live out the things we say. Our children learn from our actions and not our words and our lives are the first classrooms they go to. If our children are led into the arms of our Saviour not sent in the opposite direction then the reality is our lives have indeed produced God. They are the blessed sieve and proof of our calling and walking as designed.
Let’s put down the drama and demands for satisfaction and pursue the voice of God with diligence. If you aren’t in the union yet, stop, reflect, ask, seek, knock and do not make a move either way before you hear God’s word about the path. If you are in the union and it is or isn’t working do the same thing; stop, reflect, ask, seek, knock and do not make a move either way before you hear God’s word. You may not like the truth you find about yourself but there is room in God to rededicate, re-calibrate and redefine life on His terms.
I’d rather know that I am on the path to change than think I am walking aright and get to the end of my life and have produced a counter expression of what God had in mind for me all along.
Think about these things…