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marriage

photo: public domain         graphic: Martha G. Brady

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Living on a campus with other missionaries gave me the chance to study human nature…a lot! When we arrived, we had only been married a little more than 2 years with no children. By the time we left, we had been married closer to 10 with 3 children!

I learned a lot about life, but especially about marriage. Observing other marriages closer up was very educational.

Observing other marriages closer up was very educational. Click To Tweet

Do you know how often you may casually get to know someone and think, “I like x about this person.” or “I like y about that person.” or “I’m really glad I am married to the man I am married to!” If you are wise, you put the first two out of your head. They do nothing to help your marriage.

The closeness of our living had this effect on our lives

Living on top of each other and knowing each other well like we did, didn’t keep those thoughts from ever coming into our minds. In certain settings, the thoughts would come into my head, “I wish he was my husband because of x.”

But as time went on, I saw the full truth of these marriages. Certain traits looked fun and interesting for the short term. But I saw that they combined well with the wives they were given. With me, they would have been awful!

I don’t want you to think I was walking around lusting after the other husbands there. I wasn’t. I was completely in love with my husband…and very busy with our family.

But when these unwelcome thoughts came to mind, I looked around at the combinations of wives that were there and realized that one trait here or there would not make a good marriage. I already had one! I had a great husband. For the most part, they had good marriages as well.

I know that as I describe this to you, it may sound like I was looking around. That was far from true! I was quite happy. But it was good experience to live in this artificially close environment. We knew each other better than most people do. We lived together, worked together and saw each other all the time. Yes, we had off campus interests, but it was an unusual situation.

High commitment to your spouse

Without a high commitment to each other, it would have been an easy place to have an affair…I guess. I’ve never had one, so I don’t really know how one would go about doing it. I don’t want to sound self-righteous. I have had thoughts that could easily lead in that direction I hate to admit. But GOD has protected our marriage so far.

Without a high commitment to each other, it would have been an easy place to have an affair...I guess. Click To Tweet

This is turning into a very awkward post! The point I want to make is that we need to have a high commitment to our marriage that only GOD can help us keep!

Think a little logically and humbly

We also need to realize that despite the attractiveness of a trait or two of another party, we haven’t considered the fact that the person we have married is the one we are with. That person knows us better than we sometimes know ourselves. If we find ourselves constantly irritated because they do or don’t do something, discuss it. Find a way to work it out…even if you need the help of a third party.

There is no reason to live life together being constantly irritated or resentful. Find ways to build each other up, encourage each other, find the positive and encourage it. It will change your relationship.

There is no reason to live life together being constantly irritated or resentful. Find ways to build each other up. Click To Tweet

Relish the relationship you have and build from there. Choose your battles…and pray for wisdom and love if that is what you need.

Now I’m rambling. I will just close with what I learned from living so closely on this campus with other couples and families. Every marriage is different. At a glance, another marriage may look better than yours…but that is because you’re looking at it from the outside! They have their problems just like you do. Work on the marriage you have and enjoy its strengths. Don’t look at another one and wish you had it. It will harm your marriage and takes your mind to places that will do you no good!

Challenge: Do you struggle to enjoy your marriage? Do you find it difficult to encourage/love your spouse? Do you find yourself browsing around at others?

Do you allow resentment to sit in your heart against your spouse? Without Christ’s enablement, you will not be able to do this! The ability to give grace, love and encouragement when your spouse is in a bad mood…remembering he has to do the same!

You need humility and repentance to stay in a marriage joyfully. GOD is the source of those things.