One of the points I often try to impress upon the people I speak with, is a lesson I learnt earlier in my marriage. The lesson is simply that:
It is never too late to choose a new path; to make your marriage work better; or to turn a new page and start over.
No matter how dysfunctional your marriage may seem at the moment; how distant you feel from your spouse; or how much pain you've endured, you can decide today to change course. You can opt for a new beginning. You can start to operate at a higher level of love and affection.
And that’s especially true, if you’ve received God’s forgiveness in your life and know Him as your Lord and Master. I say that because a Believer is not a failure. Christians are not helpless. We have the backing of heaven and the power of the Holy Spirit.
The same God who supernaturally brought you two together and joined you in the Covenant of marriage wants to help you turn your marriage into a love affair. And, nothing is impossible with Him. You must believe that.
The first thing to do though is recognize that the challenges you have are the result of your fallen nature -you and your spouse. Every marriage has them. So the problem with your relationship is not the challenges you face. It’s the way you see them. It’s the way you frame them in your mind. It’s the way you respond to them or handle them.
Jimmy Evans, in one of his ‘Marriage Builder’ articles wrote, “The difference between a failing marriage and a successful marriage is the perspective toward it held by the husband and wife. Are they seeing the smaller story or the larger story?
The larger story is that God has a magnificent plan for your marriage; a story much greater than you could possibly imagine. He wants to do things in and through your relationship, things that are eternal and lasting and supernatural. He has plans for you greater than you could hope to comprehend.
If your marriage is struggling, it is because you have lost sight of that reality. When I see a marriage in trouble, I see two people who are completely caught up in the tiny story of their own lives. They are so focused on their own pain, their own needs, and their own selfish desires that it's impossible for them to see God's bigger picture.
Living in the tiny story means getting engrossed in petty things like bills and cars and houses—and pouting when those things don't go your way. No couple will ever find true happiness and fulfilment with that kind of small-story focus.”
How true! Well, God has a bigger picture for your marriage. In that picture, you are the perfect match for your spouse and your spouse is the perfect match for you. In that picture, God brought you together to mould the two of you into one flesh. In that picture, you both complete each other.
In that picture, you co-create the next generation. You create a beautiful garden for your children to grow up in. You show them how beautiful their marriages can be. And, you both live a fulfilling life until death do you part.
That’s why in Jeremiah’s prophetic book, God declared, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you: thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
My question to you is: Which picture will you focus on today? The smaller or the larger? The darker picture or the lighter one? The temporary picture or the eternal picture? I think you know the answer. Now just do it and watch things change for the best.
By Tony Peters
Author of ‘How to Build a Rock Solid Marriage’