What to Expect – Married Life Part 1
What to Expect
Recently a friend of mine gave me a book called “What did you expect” by Paul David Tripp. Suspiciously i decided to read the book and see how it can be applied, not only to my marriage, but to the couples I encounter in sessions at my practice. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised at how the author approached marriage from a Biblical perspective. Usually the submit and lead approach is expanded on in these types of books, but the author uniquely identified some principles that are so obvious that we tend to overlook them in our marriages. A very helpful and practical guide indeed. But lets just examine how we can apply these principles in our daily married lives:
What is the purpose?
I want to help couples in giving them a perspective on the realities of married life. I do believe that most couples walk into marriage blindly without any preparation or pre-marital counselling. It is sad because statistically the divorce rates are extremely high and people walk out from broken relationships as broken people. Is divorce the answer? NO. Then what is? I believe in understanding the realities of married life is of immense importance. Married life is hard, work no doubt about that,but the rewards on the other hand is so fulfilling. Join me on this journey in a better understanding of “What to Expect in Married Life”
From Romance to Reality
I have worked with many couples over the years and have found that so many of them do not have the proper tools in order to have a satisfying and fulfilling relationship. Couples have this idyllic perspective that can only be described as “happily ever after”. In the start of a relationship couples tend to feel that they will conquer the world together and that their will make them the happiest person on this planet. Maybe there are some of you that do feel like but unfortunately and undoubtedly you are deceiving yourself. We tend to believe that our blissful and harmonious love relationship will remain like this for always and nothing will come between us and our partner.. Let me illustrate this in a more simplistic and truly South African manner: It is like when we have a bring and braai and one’s plate is crammed with food, from the sizzling meat to the garlic bread and all the nice sides dishes accompanying it. We all know this is when our eyes are muuuuch bigger than our stomachs and we gobble it all up waiting for the delicious chocolate mouse desert on the table. In reality we know the amount of calories consumed is not good for our bodies and our overfull stomachs tend to complain with pain, but all we can see is delicious food and how nice it tastes now at that moment. It is the same with relationships during the power of the pre-marital romance, it is very hard to look at the realities of what married life will entail and be honest with oneself that somehow, someday difficulties, hardship, hard work and sacrifices will have to be faced and made.
I also had this perfect picture in mind: That I was going to be the best husband ever and that my wife was going to be my queen and I was going to love her everyday unconditionally without failing. That in itself was a good and healthy desire but the reality was that I was not that husband I thought I would be. The reality was that I was far from it. I had to realize that I was part of the problem, my attitude, pride and stubbornness was part of my reality and was influencing my marriage negatively. Coming to the realization that I have failed, I can only look up to God’s grace. That is exactly where God wants us to be. The truth was that I couldn’t have the most fulfilling marriage just because of who I was, I needed God as the center of my life…I need Grace upon Grace, everyday.
As Paul David Tripp says: “somehow, someway, every marriage becomes a struggle” and that is the reality of every marriage. This fact is unavoidable and it will surely happen. The question is are you prepared for the unthinkable? Are you ready to own up to your mistakes and shortcomings? That you nor your partner is perfect that you are going to fail again and again. Sometimes it means that you have to serve when it is the last thing you want to do. Sometimes one needs to listen when our instinct is to defend ourselves and argue. Sometimes it means to love, at the times when it is less deserving.
Sometimes it means being willing to ask for forgiveness when we want to argue and be defensive. Sometimes it means to overlook small and minor offences. The only thing we can rely on is God’s Grace and his wisdom in this regard and by this we are transformed.
Many times I have heard people in my counselling room saying “I never thought he/she would do this to me.” These people come to my counselling room are crushed, hurt and broken and have lost themselves in the process. For many this is the reality and this is a sad reality.
But there is hope and grace if we are willing to surrender our own sin and shortcomings to God we can see ourselves and our partners in a different light. Marriage is a gift from God and it can be fulfilling when we do things the right way as it is intended to be. The biggest obstacle is ourselves as soon as we realize that we can step into a more satisfying and fulfilling relationship. We should prepare ourselves for marriage life, but you can only prepare so much because the real tests will come as soon as you are joint together.
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