Even the best marriages have struggles, and dare I say, problems. Lots of marriages are in the middle, neither that great, but not all that bad either. And then there are marriages on the rocks!! But they all have something in common, something wrong with the marriage. Let me ask you. If you could boil it down to one thing, what is THE problem with your marriage? Is it communication? That’s a big one. Maybe she is a nag? Or maybe he doesn’t listen? Or maybe he never touches you unless…? Or maybe she has an inordinate number of headaches? Maybe he works too much? Maybe she spends too much time with the kids? It could be financial, if things were a little looser financially, life would be much better. Go ahead, what’s the “problem” with your marriage. I want to share with you what I think the problem with our marriage is. I am going to lay it all out on the table. After all, that’s what we are here about, taking off the mask. I am going to tell you what, in my most honest moments, I believe the real problem with our marriage is.
Before I tell you the problem with our marriage, I want to tell you a story. You may have heard it before, but I am going to tell it again anyway. G.K. Chesterton was a Christian writer in the early part of the 20th century (1900’s), and he was quite a thinker too. He wrote a lot about God, about his Sovereignty, about sin, etc. But there is a story told about him that I find fascinating. Apparently the Times of London asked some of the prominent thinkers of the day “What’s wrong with the world?”. The story goes that a lot of people wrote in long dissertations about the problems with society today, but G.K. Chesterton simply wrote this,
That’s the answer. The real problem with our marriage, when I am most honest, is, me. If I wasn’t so selfish, so stubborn, so unsympathetic. If I would listen better, if I would show more love and more affection, if I would do more to appreciate Christy, that would take care of most of the problems that creep up in our marriage.
Don’t misunderstand, Christy isn’t perfect, and she will be the first to tell you, but it isn’t my job, or my responsibility to change anything about her. That is between her and God. But truth be told, I like to blame her when something goes wrong. When we argue, I want it to be all her fault. I say (or at least think), “If she wouldn’t have done ______, I wouldn’t have gotten angry”. When I have something I should be doing, I like to think, “Well, if she would _______, I would be more likely to do this.” When problems come up, my first reaction is to see how it is really her fault, not find what I may have done wrong, or see where my weakness may have contributed, or even caused the pain. You see, if I was a better husband, or a kinder man, or a gentler man, or a more loving man, many of our problems would be gone.
But, that’s the problem. I am not by nature a kind person, nor am I gentle, nor am I loving (except to myself). I am guessing that, by nature, neither are you. Instead, I want things my way, and I get upset when that doesn’t happen. I want a wife made in my image, my fantasies, my dreams, not a woman made in God’s image (which by the way is infinitely better than anything I could dream up).
But what about those times (as few as they may be), when it isn’t “my fault”? Well, once again, if I wasn’t so selfish, and so hung up on what I wanted, I would be able to see that God was using my marriage for it’s intended purpose, to sanctify me. I am learning what it means to be Christ to my lovely wife. After all, see how he took the blame for things he didn’t do because he loved me?
So, the biggest problem in our marriage is me. Not communication, not Christy, not intimacy, not finances, but me. As God changes me, I pray our marriage will continue to grow and move from great (where it is not), to glorious!!!