Stage Two - The Survival Stage
Before I move on to the second level of spirituality and marriage, I want to share some thoughts from Gary Thomas, author of “Sacred Marriage – What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than happy?” They fit right in with what I’m talking about. (Excellent book – I highly recommend it!)
When asked “why should I get married?” Gary responds as follows:
“If you want to be free to serve Jesus, there’s no question – stay single. Marriage takes a lot of time. But if you want to become more like Jesus, I can’t imagine anything better to do than to get married. Being married forces you to face some character issues you’d never have to face otherwise.”
God meant for marriage to be much more than a joining of two so they could live happily-ever-after. That may be what gets us to the honeymoon stage, but if you desire to venture no further, then you are not living a married life the way God intended for you. Your marriage will not survive
Gary Thomas goes on to say, “If the purpose of marriage was simply to enjoy an infatuation and make me “happy”, then I’d have to get a new marriage every two or three years.
This is the perception a lot of couples take when saying their wedding vows. They go into marriage with “divorce” stored in their thoughts as an emergency exit. I’ve actually heard some say, “Well, if this doesn’t work out, we can just get a divorce.” No wonder over half of our marriages never make it through the second stage.
I call the second stage of marriage and spirituality, the survival stage, or the make up or break up stage.
ALL couples go through difficult times in their marriage at one point or another. The honeymoon stage fades, children come along, problems bombard you, and you see your spouse’s true character. Let’s face it; living with ANYONE is not easy, much less someone of the opposite sex whom you promised to love “for better or for worse.”
In the second stage we learn how to deal with all of the issues that present themselves. Either that or we divorce. (If you don’t figure it out the first time, you WILL carry it into any future relationships or marriages to deal with.)
As for our relationship with God, it’s the same way. We figure it out or we walk away from God. We will go through difficult times in order to grow and to test our relationship with Him. We settle into a routine of what works and what doesn’t work. We do what we can to get by, asking prayers for whatever dominates our lives at the moment, going to church as needed and learning to deal with trials we face as Christians.
More to come about stage two!