So many marriages and partnerships fail today because we run astray of their intent. Marriages and partnerships are negotiated like business deals. Love and commitment only survive as long as the ‘deal’ supports the contract. When situations arise that are not part of the deal, people bail out, unwilling to sit down and work through life’s challenges. I am reading a 6 Day Devotional Plan in Bible.com entitled, What Hinders Answers to Your Prayer by Dr. Michael Youssef, ltw.org.
I married in the early 1970’s when marriage was neither binding or eternal. ‘Shacking’ or cohabiting, going to the justice of the peace, or marrying in a church were one and the same. Relationships were negotiated, the commitment was agreed upon, and partner swapping and multiple partners were embraced as a part of the times. Communal living was part of the acceptable experimental norm. Walking away was written in as an accepted norm.
Our society, the human community, has suffered dramatically from this breakdown. Today, more than 40% of marriages (in the US) end in divorce. In 2012, the average marriage lasted 8 years.
I feel we should all read this devotional study, if for no other reason than referring to it as a reminder of who we are in Christ and the expectations for our lives.
The Delicate Balance
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
In the Garden of Eden, God gave the first man an incredible gift: a wife. She was the one who fit him perfectly – custom-designed by God to be his ultimate partner in life. But marriage is not automatic. It must be maintained. Husbands and wives must live out their callings as God intends. Otherwise, things get off-balance, and it’s not only the marriage relationship that suffers.
It’s a delicate balance in a Christian marriage, like a chemical formula. Husbands are to love their wives sacrificially, and wives to submit to their loving sacrifice willingly. If these two ingredients are not balanced, the marriage relationship gets out of whack. And sometimes a mistake in the formula can burn the whole chemistry set. Peter counsels husbands to guard this delicate balance “so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7).
It’s not only the marriage relationship that suffers when we abandon God’s design. The husband’s relationship with God suffers, and so does his wife’s.
Back in the Garden, we see this very scenario play out. When Satan spins his lies and tempts Eve to taste the forbidden fruit, where is Adam? The Bible tells us he is right beside his wife (Genesis 3:6)!
Adam knew God’s command and the consequences of their failure. To love his wife like Christ, Adam needed to confront the serpent and his lies and remind Eve of God’s goodness. But Adam failed her. What was the result? They lost the close relationship with God that they had enjoyed in the Garden.
Satan is powerless if we will keep our eyes on Jesus. But if we allow the enemy to gain a foothold in any part of our lives, including marriage, our relationship with God will suffer.
Husbands, are you loving your wives as Christ loved the church? Wives, are you submitting to your husbands, as you do to the Lord? If your relationship is not being lived out according to God’s design, ask for His forgiveness and take the necessary steps to bring your relationship into alignment with His will. As soon as repentance, confession, and restoration of that marriage formula takes place, joy is restored. And you can be confident that your relationship is not a hindrance, but a gateway to communion with your heavenly Father.
Prayer: Father, show me the ways in which I need to nurture my marriage and restore and maintain the beautiful, delicate balance that You have designed. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“To this, you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21).
Images – Google Images; Bible.com
Scripture – Bible.com
Visit my Young Christian Warriors site. The earliest Posts were written to help parents guide and train their children to access the Word of God to direct their steps. Later Posts were written for everyone, though I believe the Posts to parents can serve as reminders for all ages.
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