Last week, I couldn’t buy breakfast for the staff because I spent my $40.00 a week allowance in one day. One of the staff member said, “How can you live like that? I couldn’t live like that.” I simply said, “I am willing to look like a fool in the eyes of others as long as I am happy with my wife.”
To create intimacy in marriage, you must seek to know the needs of your mate at the cost of denying your own self-centered needs. Often, married couples come to me and say, “We just don’t do things the way we expect from each other. We have been married for so many years and nothing has changed.” I believe nothing changes because we want our mates to be our maids. You want to change the other person and fail to change yourself. What I am trying to say is, we see the ugliness in our mates and fail to see the beauty in our mates.
When you see nothing good in a person, you will feel a great distance between each other that destroys intimacy. My suggestion is to evaluate your relationship not of self- justifying how well you are doing- but by asking how your mate sees you building intimacy. What matters is not how you feel and think but how your mate feels and thinks through your actions.
So, husbands, ask your wives (and God) how well you are communicating spiritually and physically in the areas such as: intimate involvement, directive involvement, protective involvement, and gentle involvement that create intimate love. And, wives, ask your husbands (and God) how well you are communicating supportive love: love that respects (expresses unconditional respect), love that responds (open to his spiritual and relational providing), and love that gives refuge (offers comfort and acceptance that cause him to feel adequate).
1 Peter 2:24 says, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” Paul said Christ bought the Church with His own blood (Acts 20:28) by dying on the cross for our sin (Rom. 5:8). The sacrificial death of Christ gave us healing. Therefore, your Christ-like sacrificial love (Eph. 5:25) towards your mate through dying to self will bring healing in your marriage. How?
First, enter into each other’s story of pain. I believe changes in marriage take place when the couples care about each other’s hurts. Husband must enter into his wife’s casket of disconnection, aloneness, lack of intimacy, and weakness by feeling these things on behalf of the wife.
At the same time, wife must enter into her husband’s casket of disrespect, lack of support, and dishonor by feeling these things on behalf of the husband. Always look for moments to infuse hope in your marriage, because it’s never too late to become like Christ for each other.
Secondly, expose Satan’s lies about each other by seeking insights for each other. Ask God to give you insights into each other’s life so that you can expose Satan’s lies about each other and how he is using the shame, blame, claim, and maim to separate you from your mate.
If the two of you divorce, who wins? Who wins if you both lose? Who is the real enemy here? Who do you suppose is really behind your conflicts?
Thirdly, assess and obtain God’s power to have a positive impact upon each other (Jer. 33:3). Protect your mate from your anger and from your sinful flesh. Husbands must ask themselves, “What could I do or say right now to offer my wife a stronger protection?” Wives must ask themselves, “What could I do or say right now to offer my husband nurturing respect?”
Lastly, generate ongoing victory. See what triggers your marital problems and see and feel how your unpleasant interactions end. Look for ways to defuse intense situations for the benefit of your mate. Realize how constructive results impact your marriage and how destructive results impact your marriage. Then, make an intentional effort to revisit constructive results and choose to count your victories.
We are created in the image of God, and we are to bear His image, not break His image. I believe the image bearers have healthy longing to be aware, affirm, and strengthen others by putting on Christ. On the other hand, the image breakers have unhealthy longing to deny, demand, and deface each other by putting on self. Choose for yourself today to put on Christ by denying self so that your marriage will display God’s glory.
P.S. Singles can benefit by applying these biblical principles in your relationships (friends and parents).
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