Cleaning House: What Areas of Your Marriage Could Improve?
- Friday, January 29, 2010
Imagine your marriage as if it were a house. Which rooms might need some extra cleaning out and which ones might need a little extra attention to spruce them up?
The living room of your marriage might contain your habits as a couple for entertainment, hospitality and daily interaction. Ask yourself if there is something that needs to be cleaned out of this area of your life.
Does the TV distract you from your marriage and family? Do certain video games sap undivided focus from your spouse or kids? While the Bible never says "thou shalt not watch TV," we are wise to watch out that good things don't become distractions from the best things. Paul said "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything" 1 Corinthians 6:12-13 NASU. This verse is a great measuring stick for activities in life that might not be outright sins but could be handled sinfully.
While some things might need to be trimmed back or cleaned out, there may be some activities that need to be added in. How often does your family practice hospitality? The Bible instructs us to show hospitality to both those in our church family and to strangers (Romans 12:13, Hebrews 13:2). Hospitality can take on different forms. It might mean hosting a small group in your home or it might mean offering to bring dessert for a small group in someone else's home. A dear friend of mine lives in a small condo but loves tea and brought a Christmas tea to the ladies in a local retirement home. Hospitality can travel! So, how's the living room of your marriage?
The kitchen is a place of necessity and service but how those daily tasks are executed can communicate love to your family. Galatians 5:13 instructs us to serve one another in love. When my husband lovingly serves me, or I him, it feeds a cycle of love and service. When one of us does our daily tasks for the family with an irritated spirit, it feeds a cycle of self-centeredness and frustration.
How are you going about serving in your home? I find I can always grow in this area; there is always an attitude that needs maturing or something else I can do in addition to what I am already doing. For example, my husband has metal rods in his back that often give him backaches. I know it is an act of service to him when I offer to rub his back, but sometimes I just feel lazy and don't want to. He will be glad to know that his back rubs are going on my New Year's list of good habits I need to do more regularly! What would delight your spouse if you did it more often or more lovingly?
The bedroom of a marriage is a place of rest, privacy, and intimacy. There are some really great Christian marriage books on the topic of intimacy. One thing that I know for certain is that the bedroom was meant for a husband, wife and the Lord -- that is it. Your sexuality was not designed to be shared outside of marriage. A married woman shared with me that one of her struggles with her husband's past pornography issues includes never knowing when a racy advertisement on TV could set him off again. I know another wife who doesn't want her husband to watch football because of the cheerleaders -- and he doesn't.
It is hard to figure out healthy balances for these issues. The best way to handle them is with the Lord. Every time I have a big question mark over something in life, I start reading through the Bible (the whole thing) to get God's commentary on the matter. I often highlight the verses pertaining to the subject in a particular color or keep a record of them in my prayer journal.
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