When Tom and I first started The Romantic Vineyard there weren’t many marriage blogs focusing on the positives of married life–romancing your spouse, date night ideas, honoring and respecting your spouse. Most were focused on the struggles marriages encounter and how to deal with them. Both are good. Both are needed.
But things have changed.
Marriage blogs are all over the internet now, offering advice from the benefits of staying physically fit to how to recover when your spouse has been unfaithful. There are thousands of tips on how to manage your finances to how to romance your spouse. You can find any information needed and not all of it is good.
If you endorse same sex marriage, you can find a blog that supports your conviction. If you believe having a girlfriend and a wife is okay, there are blogs to support it. You can even find blogs that say that pornography in marriage can be a useful tool for a healthy sex life., or that sexual bondage is a good thing.
Really? Yes, really. We live in the age of information, and blogs allow anyone to give information whether it’s true or not, whether it’s healthy or not. This can cause guilt to abound, even in those marriages where you are genuinely wanting what’s right that will help your marriage last a lifetime.
So it matters what blogs you read.
It matters what information you absorb, because information stored becomes what convicts the heart when failure to adhere to that standard happens.
Our standard is established in the Bible. It didn’t originate with us; it’s God’s plan for a marriage that glorifies Him. We believe marriage isn’t for our happiness as much as it’s for God’s glory. We are a reflection of Him and His love for the church. So how we treat each other should mirror that eternal relationship. This is Truth to store and from which to draw to grow your marriage.
I know there are times when you just don’t want to work on another problem or face another issue in your relationship. Sometimes you want to escape from it all and simply enjoy life. I get it. Marriage is hard work. It takes a willingness to make yourself do what you may not feel like doing.
For instance, I remember a time when I was not in the mood for Tom’s affectionate advances. I knew he was wanting intimate time with me, but my feelings were no where in “the zone”. I wanted space. I wanted to do what I wanted and not give in to what he wanted. So I gave hints to that effect…not responding to his touch or kiss. Sighing when I knew he would hear me, etc.
It pains me to confess this, but if I’m going to be a marriage blogger, it’s my responsibility to be honest and open. Tom and I haven’t arrived. Our marriage is still a work in progress. We need daily grace and daily forgiveness. We must resist our selfish tendencies and humble ourselves for the good of the other. Why? Because God has ordained our relationship to be an example to others, our children, our grandchildren, our friends and those who know us from afar.
We know that some of our posts can make you want to click over to Words With Friends or Candy Crush and just.not.think.about.it. And sometimes it’s okay to do that. Why? Because absorbing truth for lasting change takes a lifetime. Hearing Truth is like pouring water on parched ground. As it sits, it seeps, and the ground is eventually softened making the next watering easier to absorb.
I don’t know where you are in your marriage vineyard. You may be well on your way to growth and you’re starting to reap the fruit. You may be past the harvest and having to crush some grapes to extract what’s good and throw away what’s not. You may be realizing that not all on which you’ve built your marriage is good ground. There may be times where you both have to dismantle some of what you’ve built, and conviction is the first step.
Our encouragement to you is to resist the temptation to avoid hearing the truth. When truth hurts it’s usually because there’s an area that needs to hear it.
God knows the areas in which our marriage needs to grow. And when He focuses on the sore spot our first tendency is jerk away. Instead of doing that, try digging deeper and see if the pain doesn’t lessen.
Consider a child with a splinter in her hand–when her parent tries to use tweezers to remove it, she pulls her hand away not wanting it to hurt. But the hurt of removing the splinter is exactly what she needs to find relief, not in pulling away.
What marriage topics cause you guilt? Is the guilt godly or does it stem from wrong beliefs? Once you know the guilt is valid, then we encourage you to hold your hand still and let God do what only He can do–that’s when the healing begins.