Summary: What are some of the mindsets that are necessary for a healthy marriage? This message follows up after the previous one on "Marriage Busters" and is continued next week with "Rebuilding an R-Rated Marriage".
The newly married couple was building their dream home. Great care was taken to make sure everything was being done just right. The walls had to be perfectly square. The floor needs to be level. The cabinets had to fit just right. They take care to make sure the light fixture is hanging exactly in the centre of the dining room. They wouldn’t accept an imperfection in the drywall or a carpet that didn’t quite fit right. Every single detail was looked at and examined. Great care was taken to make sure it was built right.
Many people start their marriages that way. They take great care of them. They want it to be just right – picture perfect. They take care of any needs; they make sure everyone is happy. They want perfection.
After our happy couple has lived in their house one year, two years, 5 years, 10 years, especially after there’s been a few kids in there, the house begins to show signs of wear and tear. There’s scuff marks on the wall, there’s broken ceramic tiles, there’s stains in the carpet, the cabinet door is kind of loose. And the really interesting phenomenon is that the things that would never be acceptable in the beginning have become things that you learn to live with.
And after a few more years, that beautiful home that was built with pride, has deteriorated into something mundane and ordinary, maybe even drab. It’s no longer attractive.
What do you do? You have three choices:
You either put up with it the way it is.
You invest the time and energy to renovate.
You get rid of it and buy something new.
The easy solution; the “convenient” solution, is to “get rid of it and try something new”. And while that may be a possibility when it comes to a house; it is a dreadful idea when it comes to a marriage.
This is a true story of what one women wrote to Ann Landers: “Dear Ann Landers: Sometimes you feel lonely and unloved in a marriage – even after 23 years. You feel as if there’s got to be more to life, so you set out to find someone who can make you blissfully happy. You believe you have found that someone and decide he is exactly what you want. So you pack up and say good-bye to your 23 year marriage and all the friends you made when you were part of a couple. You give your children the option of coming with your or staying with their father. You live the glorious life for a few years, and then a light bulb goes on in your empty head. You realize that you have exactly the life you had before – only difference is that you’ve lost your friends, your children’s respect and the best friend you loved and shared everything with for 23 years. And you miss him. You realize that love doesn’t just happen, it must be nurtured through the years. You cannot undo what has been done, so you settle for a lonely and loveless life with emptiness in your heart. Signed: – Heavy-hearted in Philly (Sept 30/96).
Is there something we can do to keep from ending up like this person? Absolutely! We can reject the world’s mind-set of convenience, individualism, and distrust and we can embrace a godly mind-set.
Last Sunday we looked at the mind-sets that destroy relationships; mindsets of convenience (everything needs to be easy), individualism (what’s in it for me?), and distrust (can’t believe what you’re saying).
If we want to build a healthy marriage, we need to get away from these worldly mind-sets and move toward a godly mind-set. And in just a few minutes were going to take a look at what a godly mind-set looks like, but first I need to add something that was brought to my attention during our Bible Study last Wednesday when we were reflecting on last week’s message.
This statement is so simple, yet it is so easily overlooked. A wise man in our group said:
“The way we behave before being married (referring to chastity) will greatly effect our marriage”.
You see, when two people live together before marriage they are not only in direct contradiction to the very clear teaching and command in God’s Word (which is reason enough to abstain from premarital sex), but they are also building a relationship on a foundation that is based entirely on the worldly mind-set:
Convenience: It’s convenient for us to live together before marriage. Is that right? So when it becomes inconvenient to live together after marriage does that mean the marriage is through? Unfortunately, yes. You see, when “convenience” over rules “right and wrong” you will run into trouble.
Individualism: When a couple engages in premarital sex they are thinking about themselves. “Let me get my fulfillment regardless of right or wrong.” Is that really what you want in a relationship? Someone without moral conviction? If the moral conviction isn’t there to abstain from premarital sex; what’s to stop someone from having an affair 5, 10, or 20 years later when the marriage isn’t all that it once was? When the dream home is showing signs of wear and tear?