Why Your Marriage Isn’t Really Your Problem

Why Your Marriage Isn’t Really Your Problem

I’ll never forget the many bits of advice I got from well-meaning people on my wedding day. They’d give me a hug, then look me straight in the eye, and with a serious look say something like, “Marriage is going to be the most difficult, gut-wrenching thing you’ve ever experienced. You’ll feel pain like you never could have imagined. It’s a battle, a fight all the way…. But it’s worth it.”

I’m not really sure what they were trying to accomplish with these statements. I kind of think a lot of it was cathartic unloading for their own shattered delusions about marriage. Or maybe it’s cultural, as a lot of other folks I know have said married people told them something similar on their wedding day.

Either way, Emily and I are coming up on ten years of marriage and it has been an amazing experience. Sure, there were some challenges. But most of them were because I have issues. I’m controlling and neurotic and fearful. But I don’t count on Emily to be the one who helps me through that. She encourages me in my struggles, but she’ll never take those away from me. She can’t. She has her own issues. Instead I go to God and have built a team of trusted confidants around me who I meet with to help me work out my issues.

There are no marriage problems. There are only people with problems that bring them into marriage.

Nothing reveals those personal problems quite like marriage. But to say marriage is hard is short-sighted. Life is hard. Marriage is supposed to be a refuge in the middle of that hardness. But when I bring my issues into marriage or depend on my spouse to be something she isn’t designed to be I mess all that up.

So what am I saying?

I’m saying that you have a 100% chance of success in marriage and it may not have to be as hard as the naysayers tell you. The key is for both you and your spouse to be relentlessly focused on growing in your connection with God first. Go to him to get your deepest needs met. When your relationship with God is Priority One you start showing fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal. 5:22) Your spouse gets the benefit of that. And marriage gets really awesome at that point.

Can you imagine a marriage like that? It’s possible. But it only comes when we are courageous enough to face our own issues and seek God and input from trusted advisors.


P.S. Every Sunday in May I’ll be sharing some life-changing material along this theme at Lakewood Church’s Marriage Class on Sundays at 10:15am (4th floor, in The Loft) in Houston, TX. I’ll also be giving everyone that attends a 6-week devotional I wrote that helps you work through the material we cover in class. If you live in the area I’d love to see you there. It starts May. 7
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