Is Change Even Possible for My Marriage? Yes!
God says it is. Keep reading to see how knowing God’s purpose for your marriage changes EVERYTHING...
My spouse is never gonna change… so what’s the point in trying?
There it is again: the overflowing trash can under the sink. It’s been “pushed down” and “compacted” enough times; it’s starting to smell! Why can’t he just take it out?! Why do I always have to do it?! He’s so oblivious; he’s never gonna change!
There she goes again: “tidying up” the house. Must she obsess over every little thing that’s lying around? Does it always have to be perfectly clean? She’s impossible to please; she’s never gonna change!
If we can’t get past little things like trash and tidying up, how is our marriage supposed to survive the trials and tests it will face?
WHAT’S THE POINT of trying?!
My spouse is never gonna change, so why should I?!
Believe it or not, there is an answer…
Because your marriage has a PURPOSE.
Understanding that our marriage has an important purpose gives us hope. And hope can do amazing things. If we believe there is hope for change, we will start to look for it, and God will help us.
Where is it?
In God’s Word, we find why we’re here, what our life should be about, and why God created marriage in the first place. Every time we open God’s Word, we can rest assured we will find the hope we’re looking for. (Remember, the Bible is not silent on these issues!)
Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7-8, Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
God is not bogged down by the muck and mire of our sin, our spouse’s sin, or the sin between us. God is not saying “What’s the point in trying?! They’re never going to change!”
He is already involved at our deepest heart level and has a plan that goes far beyond our understanding (Isaiah 55:8-9). He wants us to continually come to Him with our fears and frustrations, trusting that He can change our marriage.
Pursue God like He pursues you.
Pray, repeat, pray, repeat.
Ask, seek, knock.
He listens. He answers. He hasn’t given up on your marriage, so ask Him to help YOU not give up on your marriage. Ask Him to give you hope.
Pray Psalm 139:23 which says Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! Then ask yourself:
Why did I get married?
Be honest! Was it because you wanted a best friend, life partner, companion?
Was it because you didn’t want to be alone?
Or was it for another reason?
Stating your reasons and expectations for getting married will help you understand what’s shaping the purpose of your marriage. For me, it was helpful to write them down.
If I am believing a lie about the purpose of my marriage, it’s going to drive what I say, do, and especially what I expect. If what I expect hasn’t been delivered, then I conclude that my marriage must be the problem. (To take deeper assessment of your desires and expectations for your marriage, click HERE.)
But your marriage is not the problem, the lie you’re believing about it is the problem.
Shed your expectations.
Open the Bible.
Word up to understand the purpose of your marriage according to God’s plan.
What is the purpose of marriage from a Biblical perspective?
(If you'd like to know more, listen to a VowsToKeep Radio podcast on purpose here.)
We see in Genesis 2:24 that the marriage relationship is the first human institution established by God. This relationship is permanent; wholly complete with one man and one woman becoming one flesh.
Why did God design it this way? He wanted a representation of His love for us- the Church.
Take a minute to read Ephesians 5:21-33. A few key points are:
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ
Wives submit to your husband as the church submits to Christ (and respect him)
Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her
Husbands love your wives as your own body
A man shall leave his mother and father and hold fast to his wife
They shall become one flesh
For more information on how fulfilling your role will change your marriage, read THIS.
In this passage, Paul says this mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church (v. 32).
Does your marriage look like this mystery? Christ dying for His bride, the Church?
Do you lay down everything for your spouse?
Easier said than done, right?
Your marriage is intended to tell the truth about God to a world that desperately needs to know it, and to a spouse that needs an up-close-and-personal reminder that God loves them!
Your marriage is part of His ordained plan to provide the world with a picture of the love He has for His people. Which means your marriage becomes…
A venue for serving and glorifying God with your spouse
The means of demonstrating your love for God
A lifelong opportunity to show God’s love and grace to your spouse
It’s a beautiful design, right?
So why is it so doggone hard sometimes?
It’s just not what I thought it would be
Here we are in God’s design, and we find it is so difficult and uncomfortable. Our spouse isn’t everything we thought they’d be. They aren’t giving us what (we think) we deserve.
We think This isn’t how my marriage is supposed to be. It’s not working out the way I planned! (Maybe you're even thinking, I want out. If this is you, check out My Marriage is Over.)
It’s true: there are few life situations that test the truest Christian heart more than the intimacy of a marriage relationship. The slate of sins (selfishness, pride, laziness, impatience) is readily exposed day in and day out.
BUT… our spouse’s selfish tendencies are the perfect place to practice God’s purpose for marriage.
The results of sacrificial love given when it’s least deserved brings the beautiful gospel of Jesus Christ into our homes every day. And that creates lasting change.
Blessings abound… but be careful
Once we embrace God's primary purpose for marriage, we will encounter several secondary purposes, or blessings, of a Christ-honoring marriage.
Some common examples include:
Companionship (Best friends)- Affection, love, and true companionship grow out of a oneness of spirit as each partner models Christ’s unconditional love for the other.
Enjoyment- The physical relationship reflects loyalty, affection, and intimacy shared between two who’ve become one flesh (Hebrews 13:4). (For more about sexual intimacy in marriage, check out Let's Talk About Sex and Why Isn't Sex with My Spouse Satisfying?)
Family- The blessing of children in a marriage allows that relationship to reproduce itself physically. It’s an example of the “oneness” that results from a marriage (Genesis 1:28). (For more about parenting, click here.)
Protection- the husband protects and leads the wife by laying down his life for her (Ephesians 5:25, 1 Peter 3:7). The wife is to protect the home (Titus 2:4-5). Both parents together protect their children to raise up a godly seed (Malachi 2:15; Psalm 112:1-2).
Those all sound good, so why the caution? Secondary purposes are good and worthy of pursuit, but they should be viewed as blessings resulting from God’s primary purpose (modeling Christ’s love for His church). When secondary purposes are placed above the primary purpose, the following will result:
Fear and Insecurity
Unmet expectations come from desiring our own purposes ahead of God’s purpose for our marriage.
Remember, those secondary purposes we desire will be a natural result of obeying God’s Word and remembering HIS purpose for our marriage.
So, what’s the purpose of His purpose?
Purpose helps us set a long-term strategy, inspires change, and ultimately helps our marriage stand the test of time. When we work toward a common goal (one that’s NOT about us!), our purpose changes and gives us a mission; a mission that inspires Godly change… and HOPE.
Vow to change: an encouraging call to action
Get out your pen and paper, it’s time for some homework!
As always, come humbly before our dear Lord, who knows you and loves you, and ask Him to search your heart as you think through and give answers to the following questions/statements.
List any current/former “self-serving” purposes you’ve put ahead of God’s primary purpose in your marriage, then think of personal examples which illustrate you doing so.
Don’t be afraid to call sin, sin when it’s involved. It reveals areas where we need to change.
How will you make this right? Think about who you have offended and how. Is seeking/extending forgiveness needed? Is future accountability needed? If so, who will hold you accountable in this area?
Once you have a better understanding of God’s purpose for your marriage, it is important to understand your spiritual condition. To learn more, check out the next post: How Understanding Your Spiritual Condition Deeply Impacts Your Marriage.
Listen to the corresponding podcast:
How to Help a Hurting Marriage: Purpose (Part 2):: [Episode 94]