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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Marriage for a Lifetime

We are a people who are always looking around. We are always comparing what we have to what others have. We notice how our neighbors keep their yards, the cars they drive, the way their children act and we notice their spouses. Sometimes we are deluded into thinking that others got a better deal than we did. They are where they are because their parents were rich or because they are smart or because they just happened to be at the right place at the right time. Our own covetousness can make us believe that we deserve what they have received. We can even want what they have. We don't think it is fair.

So, we make our comparisons. "You got Wonder Woman and I got Ugly Betty," or "You got Superman and I got Jughead," becomes our thoughts. These will not make your marriage better. It will cause you to be open to "new" opportunities. It is a short trip from dissatisfaction with your spouse to disaster.

Many people in my church are in the Navy. They go through frequent and long deployments away from their spouses. It is hard on their families. Anything unstable in their relationships will be multiplied because of the stress that they are in. Most of them do very well considering their circumstances. They are faithful to their spouses throughout their military careers. However, a little instability at home before a deployment will be multiplied during a deployment.

There are men and women stationed on ships today. A tenuous relationship at home, being confined on a ship with members of the opposite sex, loneliness and time together with members of the opposite sex who are not your spouse can stress marriage. It is absolutely vital that each person keep his or her commitment to the spouse by guarding every look and thought. It is absolutely necessary that each one guard his or her heart and keep the Lord at the very center. The pull of the natural flesh will be hard to conquer otherwise.

Why not look around? Why not be unfaithful?

You will hurt your spouse in ways that you cannot imagine when you are unfaithful. Even pornography is unfaithfulness because it compares the intimacy of a wife to that of an unknown woman. Unfaithfulness from a wife makes a husband feel extremely inadequate. It destroys who he is. It robs him from his strength. It takes any measure of leadership away from him and gives it to another man.

It seriously damages you and your faith. You simply cannot walk in the Spirit and the flesh at the same time. You may be able to hide it from your church and your friends but it will never be hidden from your Lord and yourself. You will know what sort of hypocrite you really are.

Families are torn apart with unfaithfulness. Children have a harder time understanding the love of a God who will be with them always when they cannot see it in their parents. The children's stability in school and self esteem is damaged. They somehow believe that they caused the problems between their parents. They love both parents and are often forced to choose between them.

Unfaithfulness does not create more faithfulness in the spouse who was hurt. He or she may see that they should be able to do as has been done. He or she may be more open to unfaithfulness because it seems justified. Of course, this is not true but it is an act that often follows the unfaithfulness of a spouse.

Marriage is intended for a lifetime. God wants you to love your spouse always. He expects you to guard your eyes and your hearts. He expects you to raise your children in the presence of godliness. He expects you to grow old together and take care of one another.

Marriage for a lifetime is better for your too. Make that commitment. Do it for your spouse. Do it for your faith. Do it for your children. Do it for yourself.

Proverbs 5:15-23 (NIV)
15 Drink water from your own cistern, running water from your own well. 16 Should your springs overflow in the streets, your streams of water in the public squares? 17 Let them be yours alone, never to be shared with strangers. 18 May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. 19 A loving doe, a graceful deer-- may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love. 20 Why be captivated, my son, by an adulteress? Why embrace the bosom of another man's wife? 21 For a man's ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths. 22 The evil deeds of a wicked man ensnare him; the cords of his sin hold him fast. 23 He will die for lack of discipline, led astray by his own great folly.

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