We fast and pray for lives and hearts to be changed: for men to lead in the church and in marriages, for marriage for those who desire it, for our hearts to be obedient to the Lord.
I’ve recently heard a number of messages on marriage, from a variety of sources.
While most pastors acknowledge the fact that not everyone in the congregation is married nor will everyone in the congregation end up getting married, that is often their “nod” to the singles in the congregation, and they don’t always provide a more in-depth application for singles other than “wait until it’s your turn and this will apply.”
Frustrating. Especially if you’ve been waiting a long time for your turn, and you’re not sure if it will be your turn.
I decided to come up with a few “For-Now” applications based on what was shared. I found that my defensiveness and annoyance in the fact that singles were yet again being reminded in a church setting about their lack of a marriage partner prevented me from learning some important truths.
Truth: In Ephesians 5, husbands are commanded to love their wives, but wives aren’t commanded to love their husbands. Wives are told to offer respect. Why? Women are naturally wired to need to feel loved. Men are wired to need to feel respected in order to feel valued.
Application: How am I building into the lives of the men around me by showing them respect and in turn, validating their leadership capacity? I think of my relationship with my father – do I tell him I appreciate how he has provided for me? Do I seek to control those around me, or do I allow others to use their ideas and talents, even if their way of doing something may be different from mine?
Truth: Intimacy. Yes, I am going there because pasters are going there. In I Corinthians, Paul tells couples to have a regular sex life to prevent them from feeling tempted to commit sexual sin and be unfaithful.
Application 1: (Yes, I do have two applications for this one!) We are created to love and be loved. Where in your life are you giving and receiving love and connection? Who have you let into your life to provide you with accountability to encourage you to keep following Jesus?
Application 2: Sex and the desire to have sex is not a shameful thing. Yes, the Song of Solomon talks about not “awaking love” until the proper time (within marriage), but sex as God designed it is pure and holy. As I am preparing for my wedding in May, I am finding that I need to reshape my view of sex from this secret, forbidden act to something the Lord has created as a way for me to connect with my (future) husband and enjoy.
Truth: A couple’s financial situation can be an indication of of the health of the marriage as money problems are one of the leading catalysts for conflict leading to divorce. It’s an indication of true priorities, not just claimed priorities.
Application: What does my spending say about me? Does my giving/spending reflect my commitment to Christ or to myself? Do my financial habits invite more stress into my life?
Truth: Marriage is hard and there will be conflict, even between two Christians. In the parable of the wise and foolish builders in Matthew 7, the house built on the rock stood firm – but it still had to weather the storm, just like the house built on the sand.
Application: Do I unrealistically expect my life and relationships to be easy because I am seeking to follow and honor the Lord with my life? If I am building my life upon the Rock, then I can be at peace that He will preserve me through trials.
What practical applications have you found from teachings on marriages? Married friends who are fasting and praying with us, what truths can you share from your experience?
Learning and growing together,