I had the privilege today to read a blog article called “Beautiful advice from a divorced man after 16 years of marriage.” I enjoy the topic of love, and so I was very easily drawn to read what this man had to offer on the subject. After all, he was married four times as long as my wife and I have been thus far, and it never hurts to consider how we might better our own marriages. So before you continue reading this post, please take a look at his thoughts.
This author has come to realize the value of what he had, and sadly of what he has lost. Knowing the love of a spouse is clearly one of the greatest feelings we can have in life. This may be part of why God said in the very beginning that it was not good for man to be alone. After all, if we are to live in the image of God, how can we reflect who he is without learning what love is about. It is with this thought that I will call to your attention my first realization. These challenges never call for the man or woman to realize where his or her blessing has come from.
After reading what this man had to share, I considered some things that I have found to be vital in my own marriage. Some of the points offered for reflection suggest that we must love who we are by protecting our hearts, that we must appreciate what makes our spouse who we have chosen to love, and that we must be both transparent and vulnerable to allow for our spouse to impact who we truly are. However, I have found that we cannot love who we are until we recognize the authority and love of the God who made us. We cannot love who we are without this relationship, because we will always find something about ourselves or someone else that we do not want to love. It is very hard to love someone who is not worthy of love, and yet that is the challenge of a marriage. We all come to a point in our wedded bliss where bliss is hard to find, but our spouses faults are not. If God is a part of the marriage covenant that a man and a woman make, when they find the things in each other they do not love they then have the option to find the Lord’s work in each other and love how He is moving in their life instead!
I also came to see another struggle that traps both husbands and wives very often. It is human nature, especially in matters of the heart, to want to correct the problems we face on our own. In this we find the age old problem; regardless of what we think, a man or a woman cannot fix every problem alone. No I am not referring to the accountant who also thinks he is a master chef, a lawn expert, and completely capable of fixing anything. I am simply returning to the fact that man has never been able to fix every problem he has faced, and yet we expect to have a different experience of success when we consider our marriages. It is very common in fact to think that we already know all the truths this article shared. Some might even rely on the belief that we have come to know these truths through the great chick flicks of our time. For Example, The Notebook would teach you that sometimes you allow the object of your affection to just be who they are, and that you must choose to love regardless of the struggles life offers. Meanwhile, Hitch will show you that it is okay to be a fool in love as long as you are not being recklessly and selfishly foolish. The knowledge passed in this article is not necessary knowledge we don’t know.
My point in this is to suggest that we know that man cannot fix any and every mistake. This is where my faith in God becomes pivotal in my marriage. Yes, I can make my marriage better by deciding to love my wife for who she is, but there will be times when loving her for who she is will mean I cannot stick with every value of my heart. Both thoughts have their place, as the writer shared, but I fear too many marriages struggle to find how to love their beloved for who they are, because they do not feel they are loved as they are. We do well when we choose to deny ourselves for the needs of the one we love. I learned this lesson through none other than Jesus Christ, who denied himself life here on earth, so that I may have the eternal forgiveness I need to enter heaven. Following the examples of God in our marriage, and relying on his promises has made hard times much easier.
Finally, God reminded me that the ideas this man has shared are ideas he shared with the Apostle Paul some two thousand years ago. Any marriage that is going to last needs to understand, as the author mentioned, that we do indeed need to forgive immediately. In 1 Corinthians 13, it was said that love must not keep a record of wrongs done. A happy marriage will indeed be one where the man and his wife are not looking for ways to fix the flaws of one another. In 1 Corinthians 13, it simply says love is not self seeking. When we try changing our spouse are we really sure it is because we want them to be a better person, or is it that we just don’t like that annoying thing they do? Several points suggest that we are responsible for our emotions, and I think this is along the same lines of the Bible by telling us that love is kind, patient, and that it is not easily angered. God’s word has given us wisdom for our relationships, but we as mankind often choose not to seek it from such an old fashioned source.
I cannot share in the hardship of such a struggle, but we all can understand the feelings of knowing we could have done better. My wife may tell you I’m a great husband, and I may tell you she is a wonderful wife. However, I do not think we could ever find ourselves enjoying a happy, long, successful marriage without God’s care and guidance in it each day. Perhaps if you are reading this, maybe you will find that thought worth considering if you feel like your marriage could use a fresh bit of life.
Written by Timothy Hegerich
There is truth in our world, and it lies within the word of the One who created the world. It is my prayer that my thoughts and writings echo this truth and inspire you to seek it for your life today!