Returning the Romance to Your Marriage
- Tuesday, February 25, 2003
Like most couples, Will and Megan began their marriage with stars in their eyes. Their engagement was chocked full of romance and great adventure--the entire year flew by in a flash. Their wedding and honeymoon were fantastic realizing every wish Megan had since she was a young girl. Yet, after six short months of marital bliss, the stars turned into sand. Will and Megan were wondering just what they got themselves into. “Will isn’t the man I thought I married,” said Megan. “He used to be so sensitive and romantic, but now all he thinks about is work.” Will’s response is similar, “Megan never used to complain. Our sex life was frequent and intense. But now it’s all retreated onto the back burner.” They both wondered how they lost the romance so quickly.
Any marriage counselor will tell you that Will and Megan’s story is not uncommon. Couples date for a season, fall in love, and then decide to get married. But within a short time, the romance of marital bliss has disintegrated into the work--and sometimes agony--of married life. It is not surprising, therefore, to discover:
34% of all marriages today are expected to end in divorce
33% of Christian marriages will end in divorce
50% of divorces happen in the first 7.8 years of marriage.
The problem is not that young couples lack the aspiration for a happy marriage. According to a recent study by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, 94 percent of singles in their 20s who had never been married say they want nothing less than a soul mate, leading some experts to believe that our desires have surpassed reality.
But is it wrong to hope for a soul mate in marriage? Is it really possible to work through the agony in a marriage and recapture the romance? Yes it is. God not only created marriage, He has also given us the owner’s manual, the Bible, in order to know to make it work. And beyond that, He also desires to personally reside in each marriage. God’s written Word and personal presence guarantee that any marriage can recover the romance even in the midst of the agony. But first, each married couple must embrace two fundamental realities in God’s blueprint for marriage.
Reality #1: Marriage Is a Covenant Relationship
First, marriage is a covenant relationship. “[S]he is your companion and your wife by covenant” (Mal. 2:14). “[She] leaves the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God” (Prov. 2:17). When God initiates a marital covenant relationship, marriage takes on a sense of the sacred, something uniquely set apart to Him. By God’s design, marriage becomes a binding, contractual relationship, into which He commits Himself to a nurturing role. Husbands and wives are not left alone to hack out their marriage. In reality, marriage is not a straight line with the husband and wife merely tethered together at the two ends of the line. No, marriage is a triangle with the husband and wife bound together at the base of the triangle as well as to God who is at the apex of the triangle. Drawing near to Him will draw them closer to each other. In other words, marriage is not merely the two becoming one, it is actually the three becoming one: a covenant arrangement of God, the husband, and the wife.
Reality #2: Marriage Is a Transformative Relationship
Second, marriage is a transformative relationship. In a certain sense every relationship is a transformative relationship, for better or for worse. “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov. 13:20). “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Cor. 15:33). God has committed Himself to changing us into nothing less than the likeness of His own Son (Rom. 8:29-30; 2 Cor. 3:18). And that likeness is the likeness of a servant (Phil. 2:5-11).
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