January 4, 2010
Marriage Ups and Downs
"He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together."
Colossians 1:17 (NAS)
Has there ever been a time when you thought that marriage is harder than you expected or more challenging than you want it to be? My marriage of 18 years to Scott has been a roller coaster of ups and downs this week, and today I'd prefer a whole lot more of the ups, or least some steadiness. We've argued about how often we're physically intimate and how often we have intimate conversations. We've argued about who works harder and who's giving more to the relationship right now. We've argued about really basic issues.
In the private place of my mind and heart I've had questions about my marriage. I've questioned how two people who are so different can be content to be married to one another. What will continue to sustain us and to create a stronger marriage through the years?
And to top it off, I think to myself, "Melanie, you write about marriage. Shouldn't you have this marriage thing figured out? What on earth am I doing writing about marriage?" Deep down inside, however, I know that's exactly why God asked me to write about marriage. I don't have all the answers, as that has been glaringly obvious this week.
But I know the One who does. I know the One who created marriage. I know the One who blesses my marriage. I know the One who holds my marriage together, as today's key verse reminds us.
This morning as I talked to God about me and Scott, I prayed, "Lord, I don't want to be at an impasse with my husband. I want us to find peaceful ground. I want us to find oneness. I want to help him, not hinder him." As I turned to God with my heart held in my hands offered up to Him, God changed me.
God answered my simple prayer in the most practical way. I prayed, "How can I please you today in my marriage?" God's answer to my heart was, Bring Scott lunch today. Make him a big, delicious, healthy salad because that's his favorite lunch.
"Really, God? Don't you think Scott and I need to talk through our issues?" And then I sensed God saying, There will be time for that, but for now, I want you to obey Me.
You see, time and again I've seen that as I let God mold my heart and as I respond in obedience, God's floodgate of love and power covers my marriage, leading us to the place He wants us to be. There will be time for more conversations between us, but for today God wants me to take one step of obedience.
Okay, God, I'm on it. I'm off to make a salad.
Dear Lord, Thank You for my marriage and thank You for my husband. Thank You for holding us together through the ups and downs of my marriage. Keep me focused on You, Lord, so I can honor You and be a blessing to my spouse. Lord, when we need to communicate, I pray we can do so honestly and peacefully. When we need to forgive, I pray we will both freely and readily forgive one another. And when we have misunderstandings, Lord, bring us quickly to a place of understanding. Where we need to extend each other grace, let us do so because You have so lavishly covered us with Your grace. As I trust You with my marriage, let my marriage bring You honor and glory. In Jesus Name, Amen.
What a Husband Needs from His Wife by Melanie Chitwood
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Do one thing today to show your husband you love him. Here are some ideas:
Give him a smile and a really big kiss when he comes home at the end of the day.
Call, email, or text him to say how much you appreciate his hard work.
Tell him how much you respect what a great dad he is or you respect how he can do any kind of home repair.
Fix his favorite meal.
Don't be too tired tonight for intimacy.
Hold your tongue. Don't say those harsh words you're thinking about your husband. Instead, talk to God.
Promise not to bad-mouth your husband to your friends.
Consider the attitude of your heart and the actions of your hands in your marriage. Is there anything you need to confess to the Lord? Do that now. Remember that acknowledging your sin doesn't mean that you and your husband don't have issues you need to talk about and it doesn't mean that your husband doesn't have sin in his life. It means that you are seeing yourself clearly and that you are willing to do what God wants you to do. It means you're trusting your marriage to God and inviting His transforming power into your marriage.
Ephesians 5:1-2, "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (NIV)
© 2010 by Melanie Chitwood. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G, Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105