My Thought On Marriage…


You will find this at the bottom of the page also.  My Disclaimer: This is written with healthy adults in mind.  There are situations of abuse that would cause for much different actions to be taken.  If you are a victim of abuse at any level please contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline for help.

 

I was listening to the book of Ephesians while I was working out yesterday morning.  I wanted to share a few things that stood out to me.  You do not always have to be acting out in the physical all that you are struggling with in your mind for it to be dictating many of your responses to everyday life.  God gives us His commandments to live by because they are good not just for our spiritual life but also for our physical bodies.  For example, did you know that one of the many reasons God says for women to abstain from sex before marriage is because with each additional partner she greatly adds to her chances of getting cervical cancer?  And, determining on how many people her partner has been with before her will determine exactly how many people she’s just slept with.  She exposes herself to all that he has been exposed to.  Thankfully, Warren and I did not have to worry about these things when we got married, but we sure did wrestle with the whole submitting and respect issues.

 

Never Forget Why

We were young when we got married.  I was just 3 months away from my 21st birthday and Warren had just turned 25.  I had lived on my own for quite some time and Warren came from the “perfect” fairy tale family; from my mind’s eye, anyway.  Can you imagine the battle of wills that arose when that bubble burst?  Often times we build expectations in our minds that are unrealistic and then blame others for not meeting the demands we’ve placed on them.  A lot of marriages face this battle early on and the enemy of God’s perfect way is ready and waiting to start planting his seeds of doubt.

Warren and I were married 9 1/2 years before his sudden death in 2006.  The first 4 years were spent living with his family in Canada.  The next 5 consisted of living on the bus, then we moved into an apartment just outside Toronto, Ont., and finally into our own condo in Murfreesboro, TN.  We traveled in full-time music ministry for the duration of our married life, as his family ran the ministry office.  To say you marry the whole family is no understatement!  Warren and I recognized that and tried to state often, that we could not have been able to travel and minister the way we did had it not been for his parents working so hard for us.  But, all of us had to develop healthy boundaries and as well let go of expectations and self-protective walls.

There’s a misconception that once the words “I Do” are said at an altar, that all the insecurities and fears played in the mind magically disappear. The truth is, you gain a new set to add to the ones you’ve never yet dealt with.  Nobody tells you this!  It took Warren and I years to weed through my insecurities and his.  It was an iron sharpening iron experience for quite some time before we realized just how much we both loved each other.  Sure, we knew this when we got married, but then real life came instead of the Hollywood fantasy.  After we had weathered several storms, we talked about all the things we had expected and believed in our minds.  When we got honest with ourselves and with each other; we realized a love that was far deeper than we ever could have imagined.  The week before he died, I stood on a platform and told him I never knew I could love someone the way that I loved him.  Letting down all my walls of fear and relinquishing control allowed me to truly be free to accept his love for me.

The fact that we were best friends from the start did not change the fact that we had stuff to work through – stuff from past and things coming at us from the present.  There’s a whole lot I could expand on here, but it would take up way too many pages.  If we do not desire to please God above all else, we will not be able to win the battles that go on within ourselves.  Stop and get real.  The battle you are wrestling with internally is projecting to an outward person.  If he would just…  If she would stop… Let’s try reversing that for a day.  Lord, am I…?  Lord, show me what needs to change in me.  Transform me.  The most powerful pray I think I ever prayed in our marriage was for God to give me His eyes to see Warren for the man of God he truly was.  I asked God to show me His truth and not let me live in fear.  An amazing thing happened after I changed my thinking, Warren began to do all the little things I had hoped he would for so long.  Or, maybe I just didn’t see it?

It’s hard to communicate when defenses are up, both with someone else and then that someone with you.  It’s also impossible for a marriage to be strong and healthy if only one person is willing to work at communicating.  It’s not about who’s more broken than the other.  We all have brokenness that God wants to heal.

I have to state this clearly: God will not send someone of the opposite sex, other than YOUR OWN spouse, to help you.

It is NEVER acceptable to have a “friend” of the opposite gender, outside of the couple equation, that you meet with for counsel.  NEVER!  This creates insecurities, whether admitted or not, and almost always will lead to an affair of the heart – at minimum.  Please do not argue this one with me.  If you are married, you are one with your husband or wife and should respect their feelings.  I’m sure I just opened up a whole other can here, but there you have my thoughts.  I’ve witnessed too many marriage crumble in devastating ways for both the husband and the wife over this very issue.  I do not care what Oprah has to say about it either!  The moment you think you are strong enough to walk beyond these boundaries is the day you open yourself up to be vulnerable for attack.

The Bible Calls This Wisdom

“Submitting to one another in the fear of God.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (If we profess to believe in God and say we serve Him, then we are bound by every word He spoke).  For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. (A prideful spirit will lie to us about this. We must be watchful over our own thoughts regarding this scripture.)

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother (and the pursuit of other women.  And wives, the pursuit of other “heroes”)* and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh,” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”  (If we are loving each other as ourself, we can’t help but respect each other and pride will never win). – Ephesians 5:21-33

We must pray for God to give us eyes for our own spouse, and MUST pray for each other.  When we pray for someone, there is a deep attachment and care that comes for that person.  The moment we start taking each other for granted and stop praying for God’s best, we will lose sight of truth and the tenderness needed to fight for each other.

Keep in mind, the feelings of wanting to fight for your marriage may not come until you step back into the battle for it.  Ask God for the right heart for Him and your spouse.  None of us are above falling when we take our focus of Him.

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints. (including your spouse!)*” – Ephesians 6:18

Bottom line, love as Christ loves.  This is doable if we keep Christ center of our thought life.

~Shannan Parker

2011, Keeping It Real!

My Disclaimer: This is written with healthy adults in mind.  There are situations of abuse that would cause for much different actions to be taken.  If you are a victim of abuse at any level please contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline for help.

*emphasis added

20 Comments

  1. Adam George said,

    03/30/2011 at 11:50

    Good stuff!

  2. 03/30/2011 at 11:50

    Hi Shannan, I agree about you thoughts in marriage, a christian couple should pray for each other every day of every week , then everything well go so much better for both husband and wife, and they well get along with each other wonderfuly too, praise the Lord .

    You wrote a good article, I love it , God bless you Shannan, we love you
    Love,
    Clinton & Loraine

    • 03/31/2011 at 11:50

      Clinton & Loraine, You two are a wonderful support and a beautiful example to many. Thank You!

  3. 03/30/2011 at 11:50

    I do not believe that God said to withhold sex for marriage because you’ll get cancer… I do, however, believe it is a result (or can be a result) of the sin. While it is a known fact, in recent years, that one aspect of cervical cancer is multiple partners, I’m careful in wording such things as ‘this is why God says…’ there are to many other issues that can be argued, and when you make an argument for one, it leads into an argument of others, and then things don’t really match up and justification creeps in. Having said that, I did very much enjoy and appreciate this post and the openness of the internal marriage struggles we all face, specifically with our insecurities, individually – leaking onto the other. Great words of wisdom. I, too, appreciate the disclaimer at the end. 🙂

    • 03/31/2011 at 11:50

      PJ, I did not mean to imply that God will give you cervical cancer, or allow all who have sex before marriage to get it. I’m sorry if that is the way this reads. My meaning and thoughts behind this short example, was to show that God tells us to abstain from certain things because He sees much further down the road and the potential harm that an action can cause. I should have clarified a little deeper. I appreciate you drawing the attention to this, so others may not be mislead.

      • 03/31/2011 at 11:50

        Well, it was probably this reader 🙂

        Also, I’m so glad you talked about the “NEVER acceptable”… been on both sides of that and it is trouble for everyone!

  4. Lewis said,

    03/30/2011 at 11:50

    Shannan…I just wanted to say thank you for the mention of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. In dealing with scores of the spiritually, emotionally, sexually, and physically abused in the last couple of years, I’m sorry to say that the church community generally isn’t prepared or qualified to handle most issues of abuse, and despite good intentions, many Christians steer people to local pastors or churches rather than to trained professionals with the knowledge and resources to help.

    I know it seems like a small issue…but a great big THANK YOU.

    • 03/30/2011 at 11:50

      Yes, HUGE thank you!!! Lewis, so true, so very true.

    • 03/31/2011 at 11:50

      I appreciate the support over this Lewis. Thankfully, my pastor is a trained professional that understands the “science” as well as the spiritual, but so many are misguided by well meaning shepherds. There’s a multitude of reasons why people act and react the way they do, sometimes this takes years of peeling back painful layers.

  5. mnickles7 said,

    03/31/2011 at 11:50

    Very good thoughts! As usual, an awesome read! 🙂

  6. Tracey Paris said,

    03/31/2011 at 11:50

    A great reminder. Thanks for your forwardness! It is refreshing. God bless!

  7. 03/31/2011 at 11:50

    Hey All, I was just sent a title to a book that really helped another Pastor friend of mine and his wife grow deeper in their relationship with each other.

    “Not Just Friends” by Shirley Glass and Jean Coppock Staeheli.

    Here’s a link for it:

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=%22Not+Just+Friends%22+by+Shirley+Glass+and+Jean+Coppock+Staeheli&x=0&y=0

  8. Gary said,

    03/31/2011 at 11:50

    Hi Shannan,
    Since the subject is marriage, I think you would enjoy Colleen Hollis’s sermon at Christ Church this past Sunday. There were many tears in the congregation. I’ve included the link to the sermons. You really should see it. http://christchurchnashville.org/sermons.htm. We miss seeing you. Gary & Bonnie

    • 04/01/2011 at 11:50

      Thanks Gary & Bonnie, I miss you both also. I will listen to this for sure.

  9. Cynthia Tavenor said,

    04/01/2011 at 11:50

    You are such a gift in so many ways….wonderful article! Hope to one day hold your incredible gift of writing in a hard cover! xo

  10. Bob Teeple said,

    04/01/2011 at 11:50

    Wow! That’s a lot to consider, just wondering what that means for those of us that aren’t married? I have helped friends both married and unmarried through difficult times, so is that wrong? I don’t think so, and I think that knowledge and experience can be shared without damaging a marriage. I do not try to influence anyone who has not asked for help or guidance, but if they do ask, I feel is it the Christian thing to help as best I can. My experience has shown that the positive influence usually outweighs the negative. Not that things always work out, but it is worth the effort. (I’m stepping down from the soapbox now).

    • 04/01/2011 at 11:50

      The message of “love as Christ loves” is not limited by marriage. We should always be kind and considerate of others wherever we go. Our daily life is our ministry platform, people are always watching and someone will mimic our actions – more so than our words. Keep in mind, helping others is sometimes done best by not helping. I’m not necessarily referring to what you spoke of above, I do not have enough knowledge in that. But, it’s seed for thought when asking God who we should counsel, or if He has another person better suited for the task. Life is a crazy balancing act if we don’t know who to seek first.

  11. Jodi davis said,

    04/05/2011 at 11:50

    Awesome sha love it speaking to the peanut gallery oh yeah not my job lol love u

  12. 04/06/2011 at 11:50

    […] the last few years I have had many people coming to me with relationship and marriage issues.  I will be the first to shout from a mountaintop that I am NO expert in this area.  I do […]


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