Now that we are starting our new year with a “Yes We Can” attitude, let’s remember that no matter what we are going through we have to trust that God is at work on our behalf to help us change into better people.
Next, we need to be Committed to His purpose even when we are not happy.
One of the most common problems many couples have is assuming the purpose for their marriage is for their own happiness. And when there is enough unhappiness people tend to reconsider their commitment to their marriage.
We have seen it with young couples and older couples alike, with newlyweds as well as seasoned marriages that should have known better. They all face a variety of problems and each situation is unique, but their conclusions all sound the same. They say they want to be happy and their willing to make permanent choices that only offer momentary happiness.
Well, first of all the pursuit of happiness can be very elusive. The more you chase it the more it can escape you. I think the statement that Abraham Lincoln made was true when he said, “most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” So our perception of life has everything to do with how happy we feel.
Secondly, it is a very harmful to yourself and your marriage to put the weight of your happiness on someone else’s shoulders. In our early days I learned this truth from a leading expert. But expert information in the hands of an immature person can sometimes be very dangerous.
It was one of those times when our marriage was going through a rough stage. Janet expressed to me how unhappy she was, at which my reply was, “I’m not responsible for your happiness.” Now there was some truth to my statement, but my way of answering her was very insensitive. I could tell she was very hurt by what I said when her response was, “Why the _____ am I married to you then?”
And so honestly I used that as a cop-out, because when we are committed to our spouse’s well-being we will take on some responsibility for their happiness. But we can’t expect to be the answer to everything that may be causing their unhappiness. Often, there is an underlying problem that no spouse can fix. Such as was the case with us.
Finally though, we have to understand God’s true purpose for marriage. I love the byline to Gary Thomas’ best selling book, “Sacred Marriage.” In fact we tell this to couples all the time. Because in his book he teaches this message that is profoundly written on the front of his book with this byline question, “What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?”
That is such a wonderful truth. If we could just get a hold of that idea we could let go of a lot of our expectations and disappointments. Could it be that even though God is not out to get us and He is not trying to make us miserable, yet He has something more important than trying to make us happy on our terms? And just maybe, if we let Him have His way and work His holiness in us then we will find there is a happiness, or joy that comes with it that surpasses anything we could ever achieve on our own.
So if we accept that God has designed marriage as a place He can use to work His holiness in us and not so much about our happiness, then we can see our struggles in marriage not as obstacles, but as opportunities. Think about this, what better challenge than marriage can we face in life that will allow God to bring out the best in us? Marriage is the best place to challenge everything there is in us that does not look like God’s true character and righteousness.
Marriage can be like a fire that will melt you. But if you put yourself in God’s working hands and let Him accomplish His purpose, you can be sure the mold you are poured into will be a beautiful creation that will bring Him glory and you no shame or regret.
This may not make your difficulties any better or any easier to bear, but at least it can give you a renewed hope for what God can accomplish through any difficult situations you may face. And you can be assured that regardless of how your circumstances work out, God will work His purpose in your life.
I hope you are getting something from these last two messages on Yes We Can. I have a few more things I want to share on this as we kick off this new year with a winning attitude. So stay tuned.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to share with us your thoughts.
And as always, keep building an awesome marriage!!