The hardest thing about marriage: you thought you were marrying a spouse who would be there to meet your needs – but really, you were marrying a spouse whose needs you were going to have to meet.
And it’s one of the biggest disappointments people have.
Dudes think, great, I’m going to marry this gal and she’s going to cook for me and clean for me and break out the gifts from her lingerie shower. I’m now married and it’s awesome. But she’s not going to cook the way you wish she would. And she’s probably not going to clean the house as much as you would like. And she’s probably going to put on the don’t-you-dare-touch-me pajamas with a double knot – and that’s marriage.
The divorce rate is what it is because people are so narcissistic and self-centered that they think it’s all about them getting their needs met. It’s just not working out. I’m just not happy. So I’m going to divorce.
Who told you the goal of marriage was for you to be happy? How selfish are you? You can create this narcissistic expectation of marriage and the whole thing falls apart because you realize you were completely wrong.
So what do you do with that?
The longer you’re married, you should begin to see that your husband or your wife is there so that you take initiative into his or her life to help them to be all that God created them to be.
And what makes a marriage fantastic is when you can say to your spouse, I’m sorry. I’ve been so selfish. It’s been all about me. Will you forgive me? And they do. When forgiveness or apologies are reciprocated with grace and forgiveness or restoration, that’s what makes a marriage fantastic.
My marriage with my wife is awesome. Not because we never fight. It’s awesome because when she realizes that she’s being selfish and apologizes, or when I realize that I’m being selfish and apologize, there’s a guarantee of restoration.
The challenge is to take the first step. I know if he or she would apologize first that would make it easier for you. If they would, then I would… But there you are trying to control or manipulate the situation. How about you humble yourself and you be willing to enter in with your spouse and say the hardest thing you’ll ever have to say in in your marriage: I’m sorry. I apologize. I did this. I own my part.
Song of Solomon Chapter 5
It’s a classic story of conflict because it comes right after the honeymoon. The couple just had sex and it’s as graphic as you can get. I can’t even teach it the way it should be taught because people would freak out. And the very first thing that happens after incredible intimacy is they fight.
He comes to the door. He’s locked out. She’s says, I’ve already taken off my dress. How can I put it on again? I’ve already washed my feet. How can I dirty them again? Meaning, not tonight, I have a headache.
So the guy, instead of yelling at her or breaking in a window, puts liquid myrrh on the door handle and goes away.
Earlier she had said, he is like a pouch of myrrh that lied all night between her breasts. Meaning, the thought of him was fragrant to her all the time. She would wake up in the middle of the night and be thinking about him. In our context it would be like a song. For my wife and I, it’s “Ain’t No Sunshine.” That’s our song. We danced to it on our wedding day. And that’s what myrrh was to this woman.
She was dead wrong for what she did, but he didn’t shove her nose in it like a puppy. He responds in love, leaves her to the Lord and goes away. And she pursues reconciliation. Literally, she gets up, searches for him, and finds him. When he sees her coming from afar, she never says a word, and he says, don’t stare at me. You’ve made me dizzy with one glance of your face. Because he knows what she’s saying without opening her mouth. There’s that look a spouse gives that says, oh, I’m so sorry. They know it; you know it.
He snatches her away into his chariot, and it’s the idea of complete restoration.
When conflict comes, if you are the one who knows you have blood on your hands, seek reconciliation. Seek it out immediately. The longer you wait or pause, the more you give an opportunity for a wedge to come into your marriage. Typically there’s wrong on both sides, but if you are waiting for the other person to make the first move, you allow your marriage to decay. If you know you have something to be sorry for, even if it’s only 10 percent, hold a mirror up to your spouse and say, I’m sorry. I’m doing my part. Your spouse will look in the mirror and either say, no, I will not apologize or be wrecked to say, I’m sorry too.