I’ve been married for 23 years, and dated Parish for 2 years. We’ve been getting to know each other for a long time. I’ve been to marriage retreats, read marriage books, watched the movie Fireproof, and attended marriage small groups. I can quote you most verses on how the man is supposed to love you like Jesus loves the church, submission, respect, and my favorite – “to love the wife of your youth” (especially as I’m aging)
May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. Proverbs 5:18
Through it all, and everything that we’ve learned has built a very knowledgeable marriage, but what I’m about to share is from experience and the depths of Anna and Parish’s soul work. You can pretend your way through problems or you can address them head on. It’s that moment of – ENOUGH! And, not that you are angry at your spouse (although that happens, let’s be honest) but that you want it to be what God intended it to be. A marriage made in the garden.
I believe with all my being that Parish and I united in the love of Jesus and TOTALLY focused on HIM can do amazing things for God. But until we are honest with what is truly important in our lives and where our priorities exist, we will never be on the same page. So we can go to church together physically but we can be miles a part in our unity. What if in your marriage you look at your mate and ask, “I want us to be so unified in our love for Jesus, and what is keeping us from knowing Him?”
You honestly have the guts to talk about it and the courage to change.
What if we spent less time talking about our sex life and how much is enough, date nights (because every book tells you to make sure you have date nights!), the parenting of the children, the dirty house and who should clean it, you get my point. We have so much to talk about as couples and all of it’s relevant and important, but when do we make time to talk to Jesus and pray in unity? When do we ask the questions like, “What is God speaking to you about, and how is the Spirit working in your life and our marriage?”
Do you know what makes you want that so much or you will just explode? Realizing you’re not on the same page and having a taste of what it could be like. Parish and I had that experience recently in which the Holy Spirit was really working in our lives, and then “IT” happens (everyone has their own “it”). I guess we let the world in somehow, and maybe we were afraid of it? Imagine what sacrifices and changes you would have to make in order to be truly united in Jesus and on the same page.
Once you say no to status quo you put yourself out there. What if we mess up again? What if we look foolish? ” What if other’s judge us or stigmatize us?
Jesus looked foolish wearing a crown of thorns. David looked foolish charging a giant with a slingshot.” (Batterson, page 45) I”m so glad they were foolish, aren’t you?
We can take the risk to be sold out for Jesus as a couple, or we can follow status quo. And, maybe for some your marriage is in trouble, you are beyond status quo. Maybe the question becomes how can I give in this relationship something I don’t have?
You don’t have it, Jesus does.
You’ve got each other and you’ve got Jesus. Stop worrying and take a fast from all the things on your list that you can argue about, and promise to pray and focus on Jesus together for a month or more or less. Let God tell you how much. Pray about it. Really pray about it. I’m all about being with other believers, so I would encourage you to connect with a body of believers and ask God what you can do as a couple in that place. Not serving, but soaking up Jesus together for a season. Just you two – asking God to reveal himself in your marriage.
Parish called me one day wanting us to be hand in hand facing each other and not back to back fighting off the world. It’s a season of this for us. We need to get face to face and figure this out. Our journey has taken us to a little small group studying the Circle Maker, and honest conversations at home. We will be learning from an older couple who are marriage mentors in the church.
I’m “foolish” enough to share that with you. We are okay with folks knowing we want more. We are saying, ENOUGH!
You know what Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden before sin came into the world? They literally, physically walked and talked with God. That’s a simple place to be in your marriage. It’s so simple it’s hard. We make it hard. Let’s keep it simple and trust that God will walk and talk with us in our efforts to seek His heart. Amen.
February 4, 1989
“I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!”