Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is There a ME in Marriage?

There's a billboard near our house advertising diamonds that says, "She'll owe you big time!"  Of course the idea is that if he buys her their beautiful diamond engagement ring she will be somehow obligated to him later. He'll get something in return for him. Wow. Really?  Now there's a great motive for marriage.

On the other hand, it's a fair question to ask, "When people marry do they totally give up themselves?  Is there no place for ME in my marriage?"  Or to use the old cliche-laden idea, there is an "I" in marriage, isn't there?

Well, as presidents so often like to say, let me be perfectly clear.  Marriages won't make it and really aren't much of a marriage if either or both partners is more concerned about themselves than the other person.  Marriage is truly a union, a spiritual union as I see it, that is more than two people signing a paper, living in the same house and having sex.

It requires an understanding and acting out of sacrificial love, care for each other, the willingness to share hopes, dreams, finances and the future. It involves an emotional and spiritual meshing of two lives where they become better and stronger as one than they ever were separate.

However, they do not and cannot lose their individuality.  Married people don't and shouldn't become some amorphous blob where each person disappears. Let me suggest several ME actions that we as spouses must take if we want to keep our marriages thriving, healthy and growing.

First, we must continue to do those things that fill ME up emotionally, spiritually and physically.  Some of those things we may do together as couples but some we may not.  We need time to think, to read, to ponder, to relax and to plan. When our "tank" is empty we then have less to give to the other person.

Second, we must have freedom and a forum to express ME thoughts and emotions.  This is one that both spouses must encourage, welcome and embrace for the other. Too many couples make little time or rarely give permission for their spouse to be honest, authentic and struggle emotionally.  Some spouses treat other out there ideas from their partner as silly and unrealistic. We're often pretty lame at listening and understanding each other.

Third, we must protect ME if abusive or dangerous situations arise because of our spouse.  There's nothing noble or loving about staying in a home where your life is in danger. In a healthy marriage people don't just take it when things become critical.

Fourth, we must keep affirming our own worth and value.  We may not feel lovable, smart or that we have purpose but we do matter in spite of our past or current circumstances. We may not deserve it in human terms but God's love is bigger than our weaknesses.  Jesus said we must love others as we love ourselves. So we must learn to love ourselves as He loves us, not in some arrogant way but with humble thanks.

In fact, when we feel more confident about who we are we demand less that the other person somehow make us feel good enough.

So you see there is an "I" in marriage and it is worth thinking about ME.  It fact it's vital and important. Just don't make everything at home about ME.  Then you just become a pain.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gary and Jacky!
    All the best for you!
    I love you.