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Ever been frustrated with your spouse? Yep.
Every been discouraged in your marriage? Me to.
Every been disappointed in your mate? Never.
Would Anne have answered these in a similar way? Absolutely (with the exception that she’d tell the truth on question #3).
Congrats. You have a very normal and a very human marriage. Yet I get so many messages from people who are dealing with normal marital challenges but feel discouraged and hopeless. First, there’s that overwhelming sensation that what your marriage is experiencing is exclusive to just you and your spouse. And second, there’s the feeling of frustration in the tension of in the scope of where you want to be and where you are at currently.
I get it. Welcome to being human where we can easily develop the tendency to focus on what’s wrong instead of what’s right. We get caught up in a moment instead of looking at the larger scale. The measurement of our progress is based upon where we haven’t arrived instead of how far we’ve come.
There is a lingering image of what life/marriage “should be” that is casts a shadow over where you are now. And that’s the place I want to shed some light of hope. I wanted to build on last week’s blog as we talked about what the future of your marriage looks like. I’d like to help remove that sinking feeling of “things will never change” into progressive steps forward 1 week at a time.
I’ve been pondering Genesis 1 lately. Early in the chapter, we find a description of the state of things.
The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Genesis 1:2
What do you see?
It’s easy to look at our marriage and list out what we can only detect with our limited finite senses. From the look of things, your marriage can look “formless,” feel “empty,” and seem as if “darkness” is covering your potential. But this is where you have to see things from the perspective of God. He brings light into these moments, not to expose our shortcomings but to unleash our potential. Which leads me to my next thought…
God isn’t afraid of your chaos. He draws close in it.
Wrap your head around that. In the midst of a “formless,” “empty,” and “darkness covered” moment, we find that the Holy Spirit wasn’t distant. He was there just “over the surface.” The original Hebrew could also be translated as “in the face of.” When this world was nothing more than chaos, God came face to face with it to create something magnificent. It seems like it’s out of that understanding that the Psalmist writes,
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18
God doesn’t distant himself from your chaos and struggles. He’s there AND He is ready to create something. That truth should stand in the face of the very feelings of isolation and hurt, frustration and hopelessness. Your chaos does not nor can it distract, intimidate, or repel God. He is drawn to those who need Him and He reading to make things beautiful in His time.
7 days of creation and the work had only begun.
Genesis 1:1-2:1, we see the story of creation. From the foundations to walk upon, the things to be sustained with, to life itself, everything came into being in the matter of 7 days. And as I read that, I thought to myself: what if we approached our marriage journey 1 week at a time? Instead of being consumed by everything that needs to change, we if we implemented change 7 days at a time? I think there’s a beauty to the practicality of marriage 1 week at a time. For those who have a hard time looking at your daily marital struggles, it broadens your vision beyond merely surviving 24 hours at a time. For others who’ve lost hope in a dream of “what could be,” it narrows your vision placing tangible, progressive steps toward where your marital vision resides.
What can you see created in your marriage by tackling it 7 days at a time? My thought: Boundless possibilities. Not only do we see the creative power of God in Genesis 1, but we see He made us in His image. We are (and can be) creative because He is the Creator. And through Him, we can have creative power in our homes.
Imagine with me. What if you chose ONE thing to do for a week? What could you create in your marriage by practicing a healthy Godly habit in a practical and consistent?
What atmosphere could you create if you took a week to speak nothing but encouragement instead of criticism. What image could you create of your marriage if you took a week to invest in your spouse’s love language with zero expectation in return? What level of spiritual intimacy could you create if you took a week to pray over your spouse before work or before bed? What type of closeness could you experience if you dedicated your marriage to 7 days of sexual intimacy (some of you are tired out from that thought alone)? It is so simple and practical. So much creative change can happen with a simple 7-day approach. Not only is that attainable, but it build tremendous marriage momentum into the following week of possibility.
In the face of what may seem “formless,” “empty,” and “darkness covered,” step out and start creating. I believe God want to work in you marriage. And I also believe that He wants to work through you IN your marriage. Dedicate the next week for you two to pray over your marriage. Ask each other about the types of things you both want to see changed and/or grown in your relationship. Pick one, look at the next week, and take intentional Godly steps forward into it.
Like Genesis, you may discover that after a week, the work wasn’t done. It was only getting started.
Love you all. Praying for you as the two of you sit down, pray, and tackle creative growth 1 week at a time.
Thanks for letting me ramble…