In my last post I reflected on Valentines day and one of the most romanticized scriptures in the bible, Ephesians 5:31. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." While you will have lots of "warm fuzzy " moments in your marriage, becoming " one flesh," is hard. I gave two ways to grow your marriage into the mighty oak it was destined to be: 1. Honor your spouse with your lips and 2. No secrets. The next two are a little more challenging, but well worth the effort.
3. Increase Your Tolerance For Pain
Yes, you read that correctly. No one said your spouse will never hurt your feelings, make you mad, cry or even challenge you to forgive them. No one is perfect. Not you, nor your spouse. Chances are at some point your spouse has or will really tick you off. The Word of God tells us conflict is actually good. The Message bible translation of 2 Corinthians 1:6 says, "When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you’re just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you’re going to make it, no doubt about it." Mighty Oak marriages endure. They persevere because their roots are planted secure in good soil. In our society too many marriages end in divorce because it is easier to walk away then it is to endure. In most cases when couples choose to endure they reap a reward that is far greater than walking away. When you stood before God and repeated your vows to one another, you promised to love through the good times and the bad times....Learn to increase your tolerance for pain.
4. Don't Stop Being Married Because You're Hurt
I find it crazy when I hear friends tell me they had a fight with their spouse and haven't spoken in 2 days. This boggles my mind. When you're married the two are still supposed to operate as a one unit. You can't stop your daily routines, responsibilities and interactions because you're going through a struggle. A mighty Oak can't split its trunk and grow separate, but grows upright and strong despite a branch or two breaking. Express yourself to your spouse and listen to their expression of hurt or anger, but don't stop being married. If you have children, they are taking notice too.
I decided to add one more...
Pray for each other and with one another. It's hard to hurt someone when you set aside selfishness and pray for the other.
I hope you find these concepts helpful. I know I want a marriage that is strong, mighty and rooted in the soil of God so that in all seasons it will endure. The love you share with your spouse should be a reflection of God's love for us.