March 06, 2016

Marriage on Lent Day #21

 I am hoping you will join us on our 40 day journey of praying for the marriage's of those around us. My sweet friend told me once, "marriage problems are always a spiritual battle," and so with our prayers to the Father, they will be our weapons to fight with God for the hearts and unions of those around us. So get your list and join us in prayer.  The guest posts will bless those who are praying and also those of us who are married or know married people. I love that each post is very different. Get ready for some wonderful encouragement and powerful thoughts and prayers. Enjoy these blessings.

I would like to thank Dr. Alan Wages for sharing his thoughts with us today.

Message from the Heart
If you’ve ever read any article, book, or blog post about successful relationships, then you probably have a good idea about how to maintain a ‘successful’ marriage. It’s like most other relationships we develop – focus on trust, common interests, communicate clearly, and be respectful in your times of conflict.  However, where a marriage veers from everyday relationships is the emotional investment placed in marriage. If it is a “To death do part” kind of relationship, then it’s also a “Bet the farm, I’m all in” relationship – and that kind of emotional investment has an underlying component to maintain over time. For me, it’s the most critical component, for it contains the very nature of our relationship connection and the motivation from which to be intentional in making marriage work well. 

I believe emotions are at the core of being human. They are tied to any belief, opinion, desire, dream, viewpoint and behavior we have. In fact, our brains are wired to take into consideration our emotions when making decisions. So for me, ideally, marriage is a unique opportunity where 2 people express vulnerability because they choose to emotionally invest their emotions - their humanity - in a life spent connected with another. Now that’s an investment! You could also call it a core commitment in marriage. So when I call my wife Rachel “the one”, to me it means I am committing to the care and concern of her emotional well-being, and I’m trusting she will take care of mine as well. While I am not responsible for her emotions, I do commit to being a co-caretaker of her emotions alongside her. So, when I show interest in her interests, I am showing care for her emotions. When I empathize with her current emotional state and circumstance, I am a caretaker of her emotions. When I plan a romantic date, I am that caretaker. And when life’s routines and responsibilities increase so much that we begin to lose focus on our marriage, I remind myself and her of our investment of caretaking –through notes of affirmation, acts of service, or any other message of love.  All because  to ‘love’ her means to look after her emotions. Yes, spending time together, sacrifice and forgiveness, and communication are all vital in marriage. But for me, I need to know “why” that’s a good thing. I affirm her and show her love because I am co-caretaker of her emotional well-being alongside her. And when I invest in her emotional well-being, I believe I have established a ‘successful’ marriage – one that is enriching, long-lasting, and honors God in our relationship.

"I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine."  Song of Solomon 6:3