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Sunday, August 5, 2012
Last time I challenged you to spend some time thinking about the purpose of your marriage. Thanks to those who shared their thoughts on the purpose of their marriages via Facebook, Twitter and comments.
Honesty time. Did you think about and write down your marriage purpose statement? If not, take some time to do it now. I’ll wait.
As I said in my previous post, chances are that your actions pretty much already fall in line with whatever you think the purpose of your marriage is. For example:
- If you think your marriage is mostly about raising children, then your relationship as husband and wife will generally take a back seat to your roles as father and mother.
- If you think your marriage is mostly for the sake of your own personal happiness, then chances are you hold your spouse responsible for making you happy.
- If you think your marriage is to help each other fulfill your destiny in Christ, then God probably takes a central role in your marriage.
You get the idea.
Now that you’ve taken the time to explicitly state what you think the purpose of your marriage is (you have, right? Just checking), I encourage you to consider the ways in which your current actions and attitudes are actually working toward your purpose.
I don’t have any interest in judging your purpose statement. If you’ve worked at it, prayed over it and really believe in it, good for you. I say go for it!
Regardless of what your purpose is, there will be things in your life and marriage that push against it. Identify the activities, attitudes and actions that fill your daily life that aren’t helping you live your marriage purpose.
My marriage purpose statement is: “To have my marriage be a true reflection of the relationship between Jesus and his bride, the church.” That means I want to be Christ-like in my love for my wife. I want her to know that she has my love no matter what. I want my every thought of her to be full of grace and truth. I want to be generous and sacrificial toward her in all that I do and say.
But of course, despite my desire to the contrary, I often fall short of my goal.
I’m up against some pretty tough stuff at work right now. It’s more than just the usual stress and busyness; the specifics aren’t that important. But I’ve realized that this week I’ve let my work challenges interfere with my relationship with Jenni. I’ve been distant at times, absorbed in my circumstances. I’ve carried home some of the anger and resentment I feel at work and let it out on her, while at the same time not fully sharing my work burden with her (sometimes I don’t feel like rehashing it all for her). When this happens it creates a space between that we both feel. It colors everything with a negative light. It shifts the atmosphere in our home, and not in a good way.
In short, it’s not good for us. It doesn't line up with my purpose.
Align Your Thoughts and Actions with Your Purpose
So I’ve realized that if I want to walk in a manner consistent with what I say my marriage is about, I have to find a better way to deal with the difficult season I face in my job. I have to seek ways to keep us connected, no matter what I’m up against at work. I have to not carry my negative emotions home with me, and yet be transparent with my wife about what I’m facing. And I need the power of the Holy Spirit to do this.
Whatever your purpose is, you should seek to infuse your life with thoughts and actions that support it. Feed your thought life with truth. How you think drives what you do, so make sure your thought life lines up with your purpose. For me, in my purpose of being Christ-like in loving my wife, it means getting to know the love of Jesus intimately. It means letting his love and grace wash continually over my life, so that I may know the kind of love I am to give to my bride.
I also know that I have to be intentional about my priorities. I can’t let anything be higher on my priority list (other than my relationship with Jesus) than my wife and my marriage. I am one with Jenni, and only with Jenni. No other relationship in my life, no other endeavor, holds that distinction. That has to show up in the amount of time and energy I spend with her and on our marriage.
So I encourage you to take some time this week to examine your life through the lens of the purpose of your marriage. See what fits and what doesn’t. Make adjustments that better line up your life with your stated purpose.
Live your marriage according to its purpose!
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