Thursday, October 21, 2010

Marriage: Vicious Cycle

Marriage: The vicious cycle.

Our craving to have our perceived needs met causes conflict in marriage.

The root of the problem with conflict in relationships, whether between two people, two friends, or two nations is that fact that a sinful craving or yearning to be satisfied is not being fulfilled. In a marriage it is crucial for the couple to understand the needs of the other.

What are the needs of the wife? Ephesians 5:25 instructs husbands to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” We are to be to our wives what Jesus Christ was to the church.

When we come to Christ he is never too busy to listen. We would never hear Christ say, “Wait a minute, I’m busy right now.” He is eager to hear the voice of those whom he loves. In like manner we should never be too busy to listen to our wives. Our wives need communication. They need to talk and we need to listen.

A wife needs to feel secure in the love of her husband. I’ve had men come to me and say, “I’m not sure if I love her or not.” And I say, “Love you wife.” “But you don’t understand.” Yes, I understand that a vow was made for better or worse, this is worse, for richer or poorer, this is poorer, in sickness or in health, this is sickness. We must be men of our word, men of integrity. We made promises, we should keep them. We promised to love our wives, we should love them.

But a wife not only needs to be loved, she also needs to have love demonstrated. I’ve also heard men say, “I’d die for my wife.” Maybe we should work on picking our dirty socks off the floor before we think about dying for her.

The leaves on the plant in our living room occasionally turn brown. I can pluck them off one by one or I can say, “I’m tired of looking at that dying plant, it’s time to get another.” Maybe the wiser thing to do would be to analyze the soil and purchase some plant food. Many live in dead, wilted marriages. Instead of looking for a new one maybe they should try to figure out what makes the marriage grow, what would bring new life into the marriage.

Every wife needs to feel like she is cherished by her husband. Not only will a concerned husband pray for his wife, he will also let her hear him pray for her.

What are the needs of the husband? A husband needs someone who is reliable. A wife who comes home and half-bakes some frozen nuggets for dinner and then retreats to spend the next four hours on the computer fails to fulfill the needs of her husband. She is sending a not so subtle message to her husband that her computer friends and fantasies are more important than he is. This marriage is in deep trouble.

A husband needs a wife who is honest about money. If she is sneaking around spending money without his knowledge the marriage is in trouble.

A husband needs someone who will respect him. Ephesians 5:33 instructs the wife to “respect her husband.” He doesn’t want her to speak badly about him to her friends.

The number of husbands in our culture who struggle with pornography is phenomenal. 50% of families have a pornography problem. 60% of pastors say pornography is the major issue in their churches. 2 of 3 divorces identify pornography as a significant factor. (1) How should a wife react when her husband confesses he has a problem with pornography? Railing him and demeaning him and making him feel worthless is not an effective way to change his behavior. Perhaps she should tell him how crushed she is. She should reveal the pain it has caused her. Then she should tell him she will pray that God will deliver him from his addiction. It is extremely hard to take this path but pornography is something that must not be shoved under the rug.

He made a marriage vow to her and then crushed her under his heal by making her feel she wasn’t beautiful or good enough. She was made to feel incapable of meeting his needs.

He feels disrespected. She feels unloved. He can’t love her until she respects him and she can’t respect him until he loves her. When her need to be loved and his need to be respected is not met, conflict is inevitable.

The vicious cycle can only be broken when we stop setting our own standard for love and respect. We are imperfect beings living in an imperfect world. We are to love our wives as Christ loved the church. The church isn’t perfect. Wives are not to set the standard for respecting their husbands. Any man knows that it’s much easier to live by God’s standard than their wife’s standard.

We often fail to understand that the primary purpose of our marriage is to show the relationship between Christ and the church. If we fail to do this we are being divisive and dishonest and we’ve lost an opportunity to reveal Christ to a

1).  Websense Internet Misuse Report 2003

Kevin Probst - Is a teacher of Apologetics and History at Calvary Christian School and Associate Pastor of Crosspointe Nazarene Church church in Columbus, Georgia.

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