Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Parallel Living or Intertwined?

Post 3 of the day.  Trying to catch up.  :)

Let's talk about marriage.  Most of you know it's a topic I'm passionate about.  I'm sick of hearing story after story of marriages falling apart and the enemy winning.  Marriage is one of God's greatest blessings IF we work hard at making it a priority. 

One of the biggest battles in marriage is parallel living.  He is focused on his roles.  She is focused on her roles.  He becomes provider.  She becomes mother (this is ESPECIALLY true for moms of young children and stay at home moms).  I'm not even talking about time spent apart enjoying your own hobbies.  I'm just talking about daily living.  

Especially in regards to stay at home moms and homeschool families, it is VERY EASY to slip into the role of mother and teacher and forget that you are wife FIRST.  It's extremely hard to balance the needs of everyone.  There never seems to be enough hours in a day to get everything done!  Even moms that work outside the home battle this same issue.  They spent their days focused on being an employee, come home and try to give their children full attention, work on homework, prepare dinner, etc...  It's EXTREMELY easy to fall into a rhythm that puts EVERYTHING ahead of the marriage. 

Even though husband and wife might be on the same page and working towards the same goals, they are running parallel.  We end up going along in our daily lives so much that we lose sight of what is REALLY going on in the life of the one that should matter the most to us.  We lose sight of the "heart".  It happens gradually.  How many couples have you heard of the end up getting divorced after their kids are grown because they just really didn't know their spouse anymore?  Strangers living together. 

We are designed by God to have different roles in life.  There are some things that I am best at and there are many things that Kevin is better at.  It's partly gender roles and it's partly the gifts and talents God has given us.  While we are designed to have different roles, we have to purposely intersect our lines so that they we don't continue to go in opposite directions as we focus on those roles.  PURPOSELY.  It just doesn't happen.

The opposite of parallel living is being intertwined.  I've always said that without Christ as the center of a marriage, it's impossible.  You can NOT convince me that a marriage lacking Christ as the center is a happy, fulfilled marriage.  Even if you think it is, you just really don't realize what you are missing.  God designed marriage to be "three strands".

Ecclesiastes 4:12 describes that concept.  "A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."

Alone, I can easily break.  Alone, Kevin can easily break.  Together we are strong enough to withstand many things, but not all.  Our third strand, Christ, binds us together in a way that just can't be broken. 

For marriages to succeed, we  have to move from parallel living to that of an intertwined three stranded cord.  The closer we individually come to Christ, the closer we come as a couple.  The stronger we are together. 

It takes purposefully connecting with each other.  It means stopping and focusing fully on the other person.  It means letting your children know that though your love for them is immeasurable, your relationship with your spouse is top priority.  THAT isn't always easy, but it is necessary.  It means being intimately connected---both physically and spiritually.  No way around it.

Don't settle for parallel.  It's a slow fade.

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