One Marriage Advice

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Recently I watched a video of Anita Renfroe, a Christian comedian, on marriage. I try to laugh even once in a day, and that particular day was especially hard for me, hence, the video watching. It was titled Marriage: It's Okay to Laugh About It. She mentioned the movie Avatar and how the blue people in that movie have no word for 'love' in their language but only say "I SEE you" when they meant to say "I love you".

We need connection for our marriages to work--- a connection that 'sees' us not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually, as well. However, many couples think that if they connect really well physically (even if not emotionally) they are going to be okay. But what we miss is that, physical connection often fills the need of the husband, but not the wife. Wives need emotional connection primarily. But even if that need is filled, there is still something lacking in the relationship. Because...

Marriage is spiritual. It is an institution authored by a spiritual being: God. When we commit to it, we are doing something spiritual. The act of signing a marriage contract may be physical as it shows a physical evidence, and the act of going through a wedding ceremony may be emotional, but the exchanging of vows to each other in front of people and before God is spiritual.

God takes swearing an oath or making a vow to Him seriously. It is said in Psalm 15 that only those who swear even to his own hurt and does not change will abide with Him and "dwell in (His) holy hill". And it's only the beginning.

The day-to-day act of marriage is connection between two different people physically, emotionally and spiritually. But in the hustle-bustle of life, that connection gets frayed and lost. Some lost it physically, others, emotionally, and still many more couples lost it spiritually, if they ever had it in the first place.

Here's the problem. We look at our spouses. We see him/her and his/her flaws and imperfections. For most of us, we look superficially. But even if we dig deeper, we see differences that grate on our nerves--- backgrounds, choices, lifestyle, habits, hobbies, etc. and we get all stressed out. We are physical beings. We are also emotional beings. But spiritual beings? We need more than ourselves to look at and see.

We need something bigger for our marriages to work for us. Helen Weaver travelled around the globe, interviewing happy couples. And in her book the Happy Wives Club, she wrote, "Just because you are faithful to church doesn’t guarantee a happy marriage. But I can’t help but see a correlation between all the couples I’ve interviewed. They all have a healthy fear of God. They have a strong belief in a power much greater than their own, and they rely on that power in times of weakness and times of strength."

And so, if there's one marriage advice I would give, it is this: Stop merely looking at each other! Look  to Jesus, and make it a goal to be like Him.

Goal-setting is one key ingredient to a successful marriage. It makes the couple work as a team, opening doors to understanding their partner through their dreams and desires, and keeps them together during challenging times. Goals connect spouses to each other.

Our marriage are only as good as our goals. That's why we have to be careful with symbols. They may lift up your status but not really fill up your marriage. A big house doesn't outright translate into a happy home. Neither is a fancy car nor lots of cash to spend. Though they may fill a need, they can easily distract couples from working on the most important ones.

It is said in 2 Corinthians 4:18, "While we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

We need to set goals for a healthy, happy marriage and see if we won't be happy we did. We will not only benefit from it but our children as well. Research has now shown that "the quality of the parents’ relationship with each other can affect (i.e. increase, decrease) an adolescent’s health risk behaviors, and may be more powerful than just marital status".

As the Bible has said, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1, 2)

For our marriages to work, we need to have philia love, a love that fills our emotional needs. But we also need eros, one that fills our physical needs. Most of all, we need agape, a love that transcends us, and for each spouse to set a goal to love like Jesus. Because... as I have already said, marriage is spiritual--- a gift from God.

We were created to connect with our Maker and married to connect with each other. And as we got married, let us not forget that, first and foremost, we need to be connected within us by being connected to our Creator. Only by doing so can we truly "see" each other--- seeing beyond the physical.

Maybe then, we will know what it means to say, "I see you!"





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