Principles 7-9 of Righting Your Marriage, continued. See previous blog posts for Principles 1-6.
7. Finding a mission
Why do we as a couple exist? What can we do well together?
Answering these questions is a big deal. How can we be more effective together than we ever were alone? How do our strengths and weaknesses mesh so that we can do more together than we ever could have done alone?
Let’s start with a different perspective: What can draft horses teach us about our mission in marriage?
Draft horses are very large, muscular animals that have been used for pulling great loads and moving very heavy objects. A single draft horse can pull a load up to 8,000 pounds. The strength involved in this is hard to imagine.
So what happens if we hook two draft horses to a load?
If you think two draft horses can pull 16,000 pounds because one draft horse can pull 8,000 pounds, you are wrong. Two draft horses pulling together cannot pull twice as much as one; they can actually pull three times as much! Two draft horses, which can each pull 8,000 pounds alone, can pull 24,000 pounds working together!
But that’s not all we can learn from draft horses. If the two horses that are pulling together have trained with one another and worked together before, they can’t just pull three times as much working together as they can by themselves. The two trained horses in tandem can actually pull 32,000 pounds.
Through proper training, being will to work together, and being hitched together, these draft horses can pull more than four times the weight that they could pull by themselves!
So how does this apply to our marriages?
If you have children, your mind probably automatically views them as the purpose of your marriage and home. Yes, children are precious, but your purpose as a couple needs to be bigger than your children.
So what is more important in teamwork than raising our children?
This brings us to another “righting principle” in marriage. Nothing brings harmony like a purpose. To have purpose there is a lot of surrender that needs to take place, but the rewards are great!
When we find purpose we will be effective as a couple; not perfectly, but usefully.
As an example; look at what the Bible says about Priscilla and Aquila. They were a converted Jewish couple mentioned six times in Scripture, and they are almost always seen as being with influential and useful people in the New Testament. They worked closely with Paul, Apollos, and many other influencers.
Priscilla and Aquila were a huge influence in the early church as a couple. We need couples like that in the church today.
Will you and your spouse commit your marriage to being one of these couples?
8. Giving Back
On your wedding day there were many well-wishers there to bless you, and you intended to be a blessing to each other. But alas, you probably irritated each other quite often as you began your marriage journey, especially at first.
The blessings of sexual attraction, fulfillment, and the newness of it all is are tools that God uses to blend and bond couples as they learn about marriage. In the process, we learn to serve each other.
What does serving each other in marriage look like?
Serving each other goes anywhere from making a living to making a home to making love. It includes doing things that show true love for our spouse.
So what has marriage given to you and your spouse? Has it healed and blessed so that together you can be more effective in reaching others? Does it display harmony because you have learned to work together?
If you learn how to serve each other and gently but consistently give to each other, you will be better equipped to deal with the challenges of helping others, especially needy people that God will bring into your married lives. Don’t let this scare you, because mentorship is an incredible and wonderful source of power in marriage.
On the flip side, if you have needs in your marriage, seek advice and find a mentor. This applies to both of you as individuals, and together as a married couple. As you are willing to grow together, you will probably find other couples that you can encourage and help through their difficult times.
9. Giving it all to God
Marriage is given by God, and it is an incredible and enjoyable gift! We are called upon to be the stewards of this opportunity. We are called to love someone through the best and worst times of life.
This is a tremendous privilege!
We can be the hands and feet of Jesus to our spouse, and when we serve them we are serving Jesus. We give our lives to each other and lay down our own will and choices for each other. We are not our own; according to Scripture we are bought with a price, and your marriage represents this to the world.
“The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” It is so much more than a pleasant ride through life. Life is often unpleasant for periods of time, and often due to circumstances completely out of our control. Sometimes our own unwillingness to face our own issues causes lots of pain.
In fact, marriage is a little like weather and reminds me of a Vance Havner quote: “Whether the weather be good or whether the weather be hot, whether the weather be cold or whether the weather be not, whatever the weather, we’ll weather the weather, whether we like it or not.”
There is hope for your marriage, and communication is the key. That is why the Little Stone Cottage exists; to create a romantic getaway which will provide you and your spouse the time and space that you need.
Make time for each other. It is important that you and your spouse get away from your daily cares. If you can’t leave for a week, then choose a few days; and if you can’t do a few days, then do a few hours. Your spouse and marriage are worth the investment.