First Part of Stage Two - Reality
Marriages suffer these days because many couples want to give up when the honeymoon feelings begin to wane, not understanding the hard work needed to keep those initial flames burning. These couples never delve into the depths of real love. They run at the first sign of trouble. A healthy marriage endures on a love so much more profound than what we see in the movies or experience in the early stages of a relationship.
So it goes with our spiritual relationship with God. Time passes and reality sets in. We begin to mature in the word and learn that there comes a time where God has to let us venture out on our own. We have to act on our faith and not expect Him to do it all for us. He’ll always be right with us, but He won’t always allow us to feel His presence. As in our early stages of love with our spouse, we become quickly discouraged when we don’t “feel” that initial, all-consuming love.
Our spirituality and marriage relationship continuously leads us down a path of learning and growing. A healthy, Christian marriage requires a healthy relationship with God. These two relationships have a spiritual connection and affect each other significantly. Their degrees of success usually parallel one another.
I think of the farmer in Matthew 13 who scatters his seed.
Matthew 13:3-7, “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.”
We as humans tend to let our emotions be our guide, especially in the early stages of love and spirituality. When we don’t expand those emotions to deeper levels, root them into solid ground, we are unable to grow and learn and reach maturity. Like the seed that the birds ate or the ones that withered or were choked out, that love and spirituality will cease to exist.
The early part of this second stage is a time of realizing that this relationship may take some work. It’s a time of learning to compromise and learning to put your spouse or God ahead of your own selfish desires. (It always comes back to “self” – the biggest hindrance to both relationships.)
In the unbelievably selfish society in which we live, is it any wonder that the divorce rate is so high? Most marriages experience a crisis at some point which will make or break up their marriage. Only half of us are willing to stick it out and work through the issues (according to current statistics) while the other half walks away. I wonder what the percentage is for Christians who walk away from God when the going gets tough.