Are you discouraged with your marriage? Has it become overwhelming? Are there too many broken parts or missing pieces?
Maybe it is time to forget your marriage.
No, I am not suggesting that you walk away from your marriage. What I mean is this: maybe it’s time to let go of your “ideal marriage” checklist. Maybe you can forget trying to make your marriage look a certain way. Set all that aside for a while.
God is not asking you to achieve the perfect marriage. He is asking you to love someone.
Instead of looking at your marriage, look at your spouse, and ask God to open your eyes in a new way.Tweet this!
Forget the checklist
God does not evaluate you according to the condition of your marriage. When you stand before God, He is not going to ask you if you had a fantastic marriage or a struggling marriage. He is going to ask you if you loved well.
God knows all about the broken parts and the tangled messes. He says to you:
Your spouse needs someone to fight for him/her. I have chosen you to be that someone.¹
Forget what your marriage looks like, and focus on your spouse’s needs. Ask God how He wants you to minister to those needs, and then focus on that assignment.
The greatest enemy to marriage is the selfish attitude that is concerned with the other person’s character and one’s own needs. Other-centered love focuses on our own character and the other person’s needs.²
Focus on your spouse
This is not denial, nor is it dysfunctional enabling. Moving your focus from your marriage to your spouse is honest and loving because it acknowledges that the real treasure is the person, not the checklist.
- changing your spouse
- evaluating your marriage
- judging your spouse’s motives
- pursuing your own agenda
- accepting your spouse
- evaluating yourself as a husband or wife
- examining your own heart
- pursuing Christ, the One who fully satisfies us
When we quit clinging to our disappointments, we can embrace what is good. Instead of grieving what is missing, we can look for things to celebrate.
Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (Philippians 4:8, NLT)
Although it is helpful to know what a thriving marriage looks like, it is always important to keep the focus on loving a person. We strengthen our marriages when we commit ourselves to the good of our spouses. Noelene Curry says:
There can be a big difference in the degree of a commitment to a marriage as opposed to the degree of commitment to your spouse.³
If you are discouraged with your marriage, forget it! That is, forget the weight that God never intended for you to carry. Lay down the heavy burden of trying to create the ideal marriage. Instead, take up the assignment that God has given you. As you minister in love, God will bless your efforts: “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:13, NLT)
¹ Adapted from Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothlin
² Kenneth Boa. Conformed to His Image. Zondervan. 2001. Page 232.