I’m discovering something. My blogs that have the most “activity” all have one thing in common: they deal with marriage.
That may for one of two reasons (perhaps both of them). First, I blog about it frequently because I’m passionate about marriage ministry. When Christ comes into the marriage, everything about the home changes. He established marriage. He blesses it. Why wouldn’t we invite him to be a part of it (John 2:2). Second, it’s being read because it’s hitting a need. In a world where martial security seems to be extinct, people are hungry to find what makes the wedding day stick through the better and the worse, the richer or the poorer, and the sickness and the health. I’m gonna keep blogging and, perhaps, give you some tools to help create a marriage that sticks.
I’m a collector of quotes…especially on marriage. There’s one I came across on July 30th of this year. A pastor had tweeted a quote from Mark Driscoll.
“Men, if you don’t date your wife someone else may eventually volunteer for the job.” – Mark Driscoll
Dating is a big part of the courting process. We put our best foot forward. We plan out where to go. Our date waits with excitement and anticipation over what the date may hold. Why does it stop after “I do?” Over the years , why have I heard in counseling the same quote, “where is the one I married?” “Where is the one that “won’ my heart?
This is a concept I have been teaching in premarital/marital counseling for years. Maybe I can reword it and take it a step further:
“Refusal to meet the needs of your spouse empowers others to volunteer for the job.”
I won’t give a free pass to anyone to have an excuse to engage in an affair. But, as a spouse, I won’t give my wife an excuse to go looking for someone else to fill a need. Even a step further, if I am not meeting a need, I am, by my negligence, opening up an opportunity for someone to fill it.
Selah. (translated: think on this)
This is what challenged me to ramble on a few thoughts about NOT meeting the needs of our spouses.
Unattended needs (different from unattended wants) speak of:
1 – Living selfishly. Ephesians 5. Anne is to walk in respect of her husband. I am to love her as Christ loved the church. Marriage isn’t a 50/50 proposition. It means if I give enough to match what she gives…we’ll be okay. Marriage is 100/100 proposition. I completely give all as she completely give all.
2 – Not actively listening. Proverbs 13:10. I’m either refusing to speak her love language or I refused to be trained to listen for it. I’m so preoccupied with my own desires and my way of communicating them that they trump hers.
3 – No assertiveness. Proverbs 10:31 says “A good person’s mouth is a clear fountain of wisdom…”You can’t blame a spouse for not knowing a need if you don’t communicate it clearly and effectively.
4 – Deferring responsibility. Proverbs 8:33. “Listen…be wise…don’t neglect.” By neglecting a spiritual, emotion, physical, and/or mental need, I am affording the opportunity to the next person who comes along. I acquaint it to when our children were infants. As infants do, they wake up crying because of diapers and hunger. I would pretend to sleep so that Anne would have to get up to get the baby. Many times, our negligence, is another way of saying, “someone else get up and do it because I don’t want to” or “I don’t want to make the effort to do it.”
5 – Taking your spouse for granted. Proverbs 5:17. “That’s what young people do…we’re in a different season.” “He/she doesn’t like that anymore.” “That’s just not real life.” You’re spouse wants to be pursued. Whether you realize it or not, but the enemy is pursuing them every day. I’ll give you “TWIN TRUTHS”:
TRUTH #1: Your spouse isn’t the same person you married.
TRUTH #2: Neither are you.
You age. You transform. Every season of life presents new challenges. These challenges can be our excuses to not be Godly husbands/wives. OR…these challenges can be what excites us into passionately pursuing our spouse.
IT IS NOT TOO LATE FOR YOUR MARRIAGE. Don’t give me the excuse, “this is just the way I am.” Let you’re spouse see you fighting for time with them. Let you spouse see how much of a priority they are to you. Put away your own desires and go “all in” into theirs.
Make dating a priority. Here’s some ideas Anne and I do:
- Cook favorite meals.
- Get a baby sitter (insert shameless plug for Cammi’s baby sitting service) and get out of the house.
- Go to a movie we both would enjoy.
- Go to a musical/theater (well…I would want that more than Anne)
- We go for a walk (healthy bodies and healthy conversations)
- Change things up and go out with another couple to create more conversation. Anne and I like double dates…just not all the time.
- Surprise your spouse. If he/she doesn’t like surprises, let them know what you are planning.
The point is: DO SOMETHING!!! At this point, they don’t care if you burnt the meal or you played Kenny G and it ruined the mood…they just want to know you cared.
I pray for marital health and strength upon you. I hope that today challenges you, especially husbands, to stop neglecting your spouse, in essence, look for volunteers to do what you are supposed to do. It’s your responsibility…and in my opinion it’s a fun responsibility.
Thanks for letting me ramble…