Our apologies to Patricia Fripp for accidentally attaching her post instead of the one we intended to run this week. Here is the correct one.
The phone rang. Another marriage in trouble. Why? This one involved too much alcohol. Others suffer from too much debt, porn addiction, drug addiction, grudge-holding, self-centeredness, power plays (overt or subtle), disdain, and lack of caring. What do they all have in common? Ignoring God’s instructions.
God is good to us. He gave us marriage and the guidelines for how to make it great. Some of us think God’s guidelines are too restrictive and that we have a better idea—and God gives us that choice. But we inevitably wind up in a bad situation that keeps getting worse.
The downward spiral is as old as Adam and Eve. Here is its trajectory:
- We choose our way instead of God’s.
- We justify ourselves and refuse to take responsibility for our decisions. (“I can handle my alcohol.” “Everyone looks at porn. That’s normal.”)
- Shame is added to the mix which means we will probably be too embarrassed to tell anyone who might be able to help us with the problem.
- We blame others for being the problem—often our spouse.
- We find friends who agree with us and choose to live like us.
- Some get mad at God for making such “restrictive rules.” (“Who does God think He is, anyway?”)
- In the process, we become even more trapped and have less hope, so we sit and marinate in our pain.
And what does God do? He takes our pain and uses it as a megaphone to get our attention. While we are doubting His existence—or at least His love, He is using the pain to lure us back into His loving plan where we can delight ourselves with things that are pure and good.
God created the guidelines to give us a good life—not to be a killjoy. We need to stop chasing after counterfeit gods that dull our senses and make false promises of happiness. We need to keep our eyes and efforts focused beyond just ourselves.
Do an inventory right now. How do you measure up? Do you view God’s guidelines as restrictive or freeing? Do you listen to God and admit when you are wrong? Have you taken steps to rectify bad behavior? Do you give preference to your spouse? Have you been intentional about delighting in the wife or husband God has given you? (Ecclesiastes 9:9).
These steps are guaranteed to improve your marriage. Try them.