Marriage Matters: The 3 M’s of Marriage

“May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” – John 17:23 NLT

photo credit: Jennuine Captures via photopin cc

photo credit: Jennuine Captures via photopin cc

Have you thought about your marriage lately?

The other day I was at the grocery store and saw this sweet-looking, older couple shopping in the deli section. It was busy, and they were talking eagerly with their noses pressed against the meat case. I stopped for a moment and marveled at them. Would my husband and I look like this when we reached their age?

I wondered. Imagining us as two peas in a pod (more than we already are) – enjoying the simplest and smallest parts of life. Where every moment is an “all in” exercise of devotion towards one another. No distractions or ulterior motives, just pure joy and love wrapped around two hearts.

Oh Lord, let us grow old to experience love like this couple, I prayed.

But in His ever faithful way of keeping reality real, God interrupted my daydream to show me things are not always what they seem.

“You ask him!” The woman suddenly screamed at her husband. “Why do you always make me ask?”

“I’ll tell you what you’re going to do!” The man replied in equal contempt.

And then it started. An epic argument right there in the midst of the honey hams and roasted turkey, but more importantly, for all the world to see.

Instead of witnessing a rare and genuine love, the other shoppers and I saw a horrible display of discontent and disgust between two people.

How long have they shared life and called it love?

When did sarcasm replace serving, or hostility take the place of peace?

The truth is I see it all the time. Maybe you do too. In my travels, I catch the remnants of mean and discouraging conversations as couples interact with each other. The indifference and disrespect between them hangs in the air like a heavy, cold fog.

But I didn’t always see it. It took my own marriage to fall apart before my eyes were open to what happens when words and love are treated like trash.

So how do we make our marriages better at any age, or stage?

It’s a question I ask myself a lot. My husband and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary this passed weekend. We’ve experienced a lifetime of love and loss in our years together, but none of it compares to how we choose to live in the day-to-day.

It’s the middle ground where the majority of our lives are spent together. Days absent of mountaintop highs and valley lows, where we form our habits of loving each other.

And it’s here where we have to work the hardest to preserve what God has brought together.

Over the years, I’ve come to rely on three concepts to help me keep my marriage on track. I’d like to share them with you today.

 1. Marriage is a ministry.

Do you long to serve in a distant land, minister to women, children, or the homeless? Does the preservation of puppies, polar bears, or trees rise you to action? While these are noble and worthy causes, have you ever thought of your marriage as a ministry? Ministry is a calling – not a preference. When we see our marriage through a ministry lens, we understand God called us into union with our spouse. It’s where He put us to serve, love, invest, sacrifice, and grow. It’s where we can answer His calling with worship, purpose, and as an expression of His love.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him. – (1 Timothy 1:12)

2. Marriage is a mindset.

Researchers say the average person makes thousands of decisions a day. Some are simple, quick, and done.  Some linger and are complicated, and some you have to decide on over and over. There is one question I ask myself everyday – sometimes more than once.

What kind of wife do I want to be?

When my marriage was struggling, I wanted God to heal it quickly. But I realized He could do no such thing until I could answer this one question. When I faced what I brought to our marriage, and understood how my words and actions granted life or imparted death, I could get a better vision of who God was calling me to be, and who I wanted to be.

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! – (Deuteronomy 30:19)

3. Marriage is a mashup.

Our marriages cannot survive if we are the only ones who care about them. There is too much in this world that will overpower us. Engage your spouse in the protection of your marriage. Talk through fears and insecurities, and anything that is a threat. Then invite the Lord to come into the middle of your marriage. Call on Him to change and mold each of you in your individual ways in His vision. When we are a cord of three – husband, wife, and God, marriage becomes a joy and a success.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. – (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

I pray, even though you are different individuals, you and your spouse will join in unity for all the world to see Christ’s love. Commit to seeing your marriage as more than just another relationship. It’s a legacy, and a gift, filled with mercy and blessings for generations to come.

In what ways do you keep your marriage on track? Share in the comments!

6 Replies

  1. Elise Hartmann

    Hi Raye! Love your post. A strong marriage takes work. We’ve invested a lot of time & energy into our marriage through classes, retreats, books, counseling, etc. We’ve certainly been through our share of rough patches, but we are both committed to making it a priority and the payoff has been such a blessing. We celebrated 21 years this summer. I hope your beautiful message encourages others to invest in their marriage.

    1. Raye Wortel

      Thank you Elise! You and your husband our a testament to love, and are leaving a beautiful legacy. Here’s to many more years together!

  2. Jeanette Pittman

    Soooooo goooood! Thank you, Raye. The three concepts you share are golden! I will print this out and read it often. We will celebrate #30 this year and there is always something to learn/apply. God Bless You!

    1. Raye Wortel

      Congratulations on 30 years Jeanette! What a beautiful thing to hear. So glad you found this post helpful. Thanks for your kind words!

  3. Carrie

    GREAT post! I have been reading all of them but, I just haven’t had a moment to comment lately. So often I look at the cute older couples and send that same prayer up. Sometimes I experience the reality & how harsh they can be towards one another. Sometimes not though and I’m allowed to continue with my daydream of their perfect life together. I know that no marriage is perfect. BUT, we do need to treat our marriage for what it is; “a legacy…a gift”. So, thank you! Happy Anniversary & God bless…

    1. Raye Wortel

      Thanks so much Carrie, glad you enjoyed it and pray you are feeling well!

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