It seems to me that people don’t like change. Even those that proclaim how much they enjoy change, usually are speaking to specific changes they prefer and not necessarily all change.
But isn’t “change” part of how we fell in love? We met someone who was of a different sex, from a different family, with a different personality than ourselves. Yet, we were willing to lay aside own selfish desires in order to draw closer and get to know each other. We humbly changed our schedules and preferences for the sake of winning a heart. Change is the inevitable result of intentional humility. And like any organism, where there is healthy growth, there is a willingness to change.
As a pastor who oversees a congregation and who works with marriages, I’ve noticed how health of an entity is stifled by the refusal to change. I’m not talking about change for the sake of change. That’s a terrible reason to invite turmoil and/or challenge. Having a higher rate of change doesn’t equate to being healthier. I speak to the ability to recognize what season your marriage is in, make an adjustment together, grow strong in that adjustment, and be willing to evaluate the health of that change.
Are we preoccupied with staying the same while forcing change?
To many couples are preoccupied with seeing each other change instead of humbly looking in the mirror for themselves. I always find it peculiar of many who will count the cost of change needed for marital health only if it doesn’t come at a personal cost. It’s like being willing to buy something as long as you’re using somebody’s money but not your own. I’m worried that marriages are missing out on miracles and blessings because we are so preoccupied protecting what we have instead of envision what we need, laying down our pride, and working together to step into the greater blessing awaiting our marriage.
Couples who compete, lose.
I’m not speaking of playing board games, cards, or the like as Anne and I love “game nights.” I am speaking of the score keeping, tit-for-tat mentality we can immaturely bring into marriage. You may say, “I’ve had to change more than he/she has.” That may be true AND that may have been necessary. You may have come from a very dysfunctional background and, thus, may have necessitated more “levels” of personal change and/or healing. You’ve got to get off the comparison and completion of “whose turn it is” or “who’s had to adapt more” and look at what the marital health needs. Which leads me to…
Build the togetherness.
I’ve heard things like “I’m waiting on him/her to change,” or “I’ve changed enough. It’s his/her turn.” But this signifies a greater issue. I don’t believe in “personal issues” in marriage; they are all WE issues. What is affecting Anne affects me. As the scriptures say, “the two become one.” And, I feel, one of the things that break apart the oneness of your marriage is by facilitating making your spouse work on something alone. For example, there may be some change that your spouse has to work on personally that affects the marriage. He/she shouldn’t feel alone in it. Your emotional, spiritual, and possibly physical support may be necessary. Couples that work together, win. Period.
Move from comfort to courage.
In studying for last week’s message at Kfirst, I came across this quote:
There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.
Far too often marriages grow weak under the weight of serving what makes them “feel” temporarily comfortable. Not only does it weaken your marriage, you can become a slave to it by chasing comfort instead of courageously pursing marital health. God hasn’t called you to be comfortable, He’s called you to be courageous. And being courageous means you are willing to ask the hard questions to both God and your spouse, mixed with the willingness to obey where He leads you both.
I love you all. And I want to challenge you to fight the urge to ride the fleeting and addicting feeling of comfort and to engage in the joyful journey of courageous marital health. The beauty about that type of pursuit in your marriage is that the two of you don’t have to do alone. You’ve got the presence of God walking with you through it.
Praying for you as the two of you sit down, pray, and step forward with the courage to embrace the momentary change for the long-term blessings for your marriage.
Thanks for letting me ramble…