People have anxiety about marriage these days. They enter into the relationship wondering if it’s going to work. They see so many statistics about divorce, and they don’t want to become one of those failed marriages!
But I believe couples have a one hundred percent chance of success in marriage if they do it God’s way. One of the keys to a healthy marriage is starting off with the right expectations. I want to share with you three unchangeable realities of marriage. These are the things you need to understand and prepare for.
1. We all have hurts from our past, personality quirks, and ignorance about the opposite sex that only marriage will cure.
We are all more messed up than we want to admit. Many of us enter marriage looking for a perfect woman or a perfect man. It’s only once we get married that we begin to see each other’s flaws.
I was messed up when I married Karen. Karen was messed up too. Marriage has a tendency to magnify these flaws. That’s why God created marriage to be a healing journey. When Karen and I got our marriage right with God, He used each of us to heal the other. We are better people having gotten married-but it takes work!
In the Garden of Eden, God created Eve because He saw that Adam was alone and needed a helper. Eve provided what Adam lacked. Meanwhile, Ephesians 5 encourages men to nourish and cherish their wives in the same way that Jesus loves the Church. In other words, men are to sacrifice for their wives.
God uses both men and women to heal each other by providing for each other. Every woman has what her husband needs. Every man has what his wife needs. To deal with those quirks and repair those flaws, we need each other. That journey of healing is what a true partnership is all about.
2. Without a strong commitment to the marriage, every significant problem threatens the relationship.
This is the difference between being a renter or an owner. Imagine you’re renting a home and discover a crack in the floor. You tell the landlord. He gets an estimate and comes back to you with bad news. “It looks like the house has foundation problems,” he says. “If you want to keep living here, it’ll cost you $50,000.”
You’re just renting, so you’re already out the door looking for a new home. No renter in their right mind would pay that amount to fix a house they are renting.
But what if you owned the home? What if it was the home you grew up in? What if it’s the house you raised your kids in? In that case, you’re probably willing to fix the foundation of your home. You’ll pay the price because it’s your house and you’re committed.
If you enter marriage with a foot out the door, then the moment a big problem arrives you’ll pack your bags and get out. But if you’re in it for the long haul-if you have an owner’s mindset-you’ll roll up your sleeves and deal with any problem that shows up. You count the cost and you work it out.
3. Satan hates marriage, and every couple will come under spiritual attack.
It’s important to choose the right battles in your marriage. You need to fight against the true enemy instead of fighting against your spouse.
The reason the enemy hates marriage is because it’s the first institution God ever created on the earth, and it’s the foundation for every other institution. We first read about marriage in Genesis 3, and the devil has been fighting marriage ever since then. If he can destroy marriage, he can destroy our entire society.
Why? Because men and women are dramatically better off when they are married. Children are better off when their parents are married. God uses marriage to heal men and women. He created it so we could help each other. He built our society around it. Those are enormous benefits and the enemy hates them.
While marriages are constantly under attack, the good news is that we have been given authority over the enemy. We don’t have to fear the devil. We just have to understand that he’s real. He slithers into our lives through unresolved anger, through contempt, through the pain that divides us. He deceives us about each other just like he did with Adam and Eve in the Garden.
But we can take authority over the devil. Jesus gave us that authority, and we can refuse to give the devil an inch of ground. We can cast away his lies as we stand on the truth of the Word of God.
Marriage is difficult. No one says a successful marriage is easy. But success is possible when you enter marriage with the right understanding of these three unchanging realities. Prepare yourself. Get your expectations right. You won’t be taken by surprise, and your marriage will thrive.