4 Keys to a Good Marriage
by: Gordon Dasher
One of the perks of being married for so long is that I get to give unsolicited advice to others. It’s not like the masses are breaking down my door to hear it, but I’m playing the long game here. It’s hard to hear what some know-it-all like me is telling you when you are in the midst of a crisis. I get it. But what I’m hoping for, and what I often find to be true, is that a few will think about it, let it soak in, and somewhere down the road experience a spiritual awakening.
I’ve been there — that’s how I know.
So whether or not you’re ready to hear it, please just read through the list and let it simmer until it’s done cooking. Maybe it will help you in your crisis.
- Men and Women Are Different
According to that cute little son of the gynecologist in the movie Kindergarten Cop, women and men are different. But genitals aren’t the only distinguishing differences between husbands and wives. God told us a long time ago that the way partners in a marriage process environments is very different (I Peter 3:7). This is critical because if you expect your partner to react to the same stimuli in the same way you do, you miss the beautiful uniqueness of being life partners with someone of the opposite sex. More importantly, you find yourself in a world of trouble.
- Your Spouse Was Never Created to “Complete” You
Your husband is too imperfect for that job. Your wife is too flawed. Completeness is found only in Christ (Colossians 2:10).
- Marriage Is Real Life, Not Hollywood
Hollywood’s model of the perfect relationship is not your model (not if you want your marriage to thrive). A marriage free of conflict where the partners sit across a romantic candlelit dinner table and gaze longingly into one another’s eyes every night is unrealistic. It may happen occasionally, but expecting this to be the norm is a good way to set off a nuclear bomb in your marriage. Jobs happen. The car needs a new transmission. An unexpected baby pops out. Your toddler throws up all over the back seat of your new car. And who’s going to clean up the diarrhea when it spills out of your son’s diaper into the car seat just before you get out of the car to go your wife’s cousin’s wedding? Stuff happens, and most of the time it isn’t romantic. But it is life — real life, and we do it together. And in the end, it matters — all of it, because we (hopefully) have made a decision together to honor God in our marriage by submitting our feelings and wills to the will of God.
- Divorce Is Not a Good Option
Finally, bailing out of a covenant marriage is never a good option. At this point, you may say, “But you don’t know my wife/husband.” True! I may not know them. But there’s one thing I do know — God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16) because it does not glorify him, and it always diminishes us because it is not God’s purpose for you. Divorce ALWAYS has collateral damage —- no exceptions! Kids are always wounded by it. You will be always be wounded. And no one ever “gets over it.” Besides, as soon as you get out of one broken marriage, you’ll be right back in another one. That’s because you’re going to take one of the screwed up partners from the first marriage into the new one — YOURSELF!
These are just a few things I’ve been thinking about lately as I reflect on the forty-five years I spent with my wife. Maybe I’ll have another list soon. Just think about it. For more on how your marriage can be more in line with God’s will, check out one of Al and Lisa’s books. My favorite one is the latest one, Desperate Forgiveness.