Too many people mistakenly assume marriage is a “meet in the middle” proposition, an arrangement in which two people fulfil their half of a “bargain,” relying on the other to do his or her part, as well. Sounds logical, doesn’t it?
If marriage were a business arrangement, then such a process just might work. But it’s not. Nor would we want it to be.
A business contract is a cold impersonal agreement made with the presumption that each party might fail to fulfil his responsibilities if not for a legally binding pact. It is a loveless pledge which bears no resemblance to the covenant made between two people who have vowed to “have and to hold” through every trial of life. If a couple endeavours to have found a marriage upon such terms, it will be a bitter ordeal, and they will seek to end it long before their fulfilment of the vow “till death do us part.” – Dr Ron Ross
Secular society has coined a phrase about marriage that is radically flawed. You’ve probably heard it before: “Relationships are 50-50. It is “give and take”, but your partner must meet you halfway”. That idea sounds nice – Olivia Spears.
If a couple gets a divorce and neither of the parties had a prenuptial agreement, then every asset that the couples have is added up and then divided in half. I understand that it is often more complicated than this but the reason I am bringing this up is to discuss the idea that we each own 50% of our marriages.
This way of looking at marriage makes a lot of sense, at least from a worldly perspective. I’ll do my 50% when they do theirs. – Aaron Smith.
Christian marriage, if it is to flourish as it is intended by God, cannot consist of giving merely half of ourselves, but absolutely everything we’ve got. We have to be all in, so to speak.
Think about it, we accept the 100% principle in most other areas of life. If an athlete wants to excel in his sport, is he told to just give it 50%? If a musician aspires to play at Juilliard, is she encouraged to give just half of herself during practices and performances? Certainly not.
Think about this for a moment. What is half the load or half the responsibility in your marriage anyway? Which spouse gets to decide what is fair and even? Let’s face it, everything you ever do will always seem to have more points on the marriage scale than what your spouse has done and vice versa. So, it becomes impossible to ever see the other person as doing equal to what you are doing.
Do you think our relationship with Christ will ever be equal? We will never be able to give anything even remotely equal to what He gave for us. This is the method we should take to our marriage. You must always do 100% in the relationship. If your spouse gives 0% you are still required to give 100%. This sounds harsh but it is actually the only way a marriage will work. I guarantee that if you were to live this way your spouse would have a very hard time not following your lead – Aaron Smith.
Some areas to demonstrate 100% marriage – Adapted from Joshua Becker
Commitment to love; Humility; Patience; Forgiveness; Time of togetherness; Honesty & Trust; Communication; Selfless sacrifices; Fidelity and Day to day running of the home.
Commitment to love
At its core, love is a decision to be committed to another person. It is far more than a feeling of emotion as portrayed on television, the big screen, and romance novels.
Feelings come and go, but a true decision to be committed lasts forever – and that is what defines true love. It is a decision to be committed through the ups and the downs, the good and the bad.
When things are going well, commitment is easy. But true love is displayed by remaining committed even through the trials of life.
I Peter 4:8 – Above all, have fervent and unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins [it overlooks unkindness and unselfishly seeks the best for others]
We all have weaknesses and relationships always reveal these faults quicker than anything else on earth.
An essential building block of a healthy marriage is the ability to admit that you are not perfect, that you will make mistakes, and that you will need forgiveness.
Holding an attitude of superiority over your partner will bring about resentment and will prevent your relationship from moving forward.
Philippians 2:3 – “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”
Because no one is perfect (we all have our strengths and weaknesses), patience will always be required in a marriage relationship. Successful marriage partners learn to show unending patience to their partner.
Galatians 6:9 – Let us not grow weary or become discouraged in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap, if we do not give in.
True lovers humbly admit their own faults and do not expect perfection from their partner.
They do not bring up past errors in an effort to hold their partner hostage.
And they do not seek to make amends or get revenge when mistakes occur.
If you are holding onto a past hurt from your partner, forgive him or her. It will set your heart and relationship free.
Eph. 4:32 – Be kind and helpful to one another, tender-hearted [compassionate, understanding], forgiving one another [readily and freely], just as God in Christ also forgave you.
Time of togetherness
Relationships don’t work without the time investment. Never have, never will.
Any successful relationship requires intentional, quality time together. And quality time rarely happens when quantity time is absent.
The relationship with your spouse should be the most intimate and deep relationship you have. Therefore, it is going to require more time than any other relationship.
If possible, set aside time each day for your spouse. And a night out once in a while wouldn’t hurt either.
Gen. 2:24 – For this reason, a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Honesty and trust
Honesty and trust become the foundation for everything healthy in a marriage.
But unlike most of the other essentials on this list, trust takes time. You can become selfless, committed, or patient in a moment, but trust always takes time.
Trust is only built after weeks, months, and years of being who you say you are and doing what you say you’ll do. It takes time, so start now… and if you need to rebuild trust in your relationship, you’ll need to work even harder.
Mt. 5:37 – But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’ [a firm yes or no]; anything more than that comes from the evil one.
Successful marriage partners communicate as much as possible.
They certainly discuss children schedules, grocery lists, and utility bills. But they don’t stop there.
They also communicate hopes, dreams, fears, and anxieties.
They don’t just discuss the changes that are taking place in the children’s life, they also discuss the changes that are taking place in their own lives also.
Prov. 15: 2 – A soft and gentle and thoughtful answer turns away wrath, But harsh and painful and careless words stir up anger.
Although it will never show up on any survey, more marriages are broken up by selfishness than any other reason.
Surveys blame it on finances, lack of commitment, infidelity, or incompatibility, but the root cause for most of these reasons is selfishness.
A selfish person is committed only to himself or herself, shows little patience, and never learns how to be a successful spouse.
Fidelity or sexual faithfulness in marriage includes more than just our bodies. It also includes our eyes, mind, heart, and soul.
When we devote our minds to sexual fantasies about another person, we sacrifice sexual faithfulness to our spouse.
When we offer moments of emotional intimacies to another, we sacrifice sexual faithfulness to our spouse.
Guard your sexuality daily and devote it entirely to your spouse. Sexual faithfulness requires self-discipline and an awareness of the consequences.
Refuse to put anything in front of your eyes, body, or heart that would compromise your faithfulness.
Heb. 13:4 – Marriage is to be held in honour among all [that is, regarded as something of great value], and the marriage bed undefiled [by immorality or by any sexual sin]; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.
Day to day running of the home
Typical chores include: Tidying all areas of the house;
Laundry (washing, ironing, folding and putting away), etc;
Grocery shopping, plus other store visits, etc;
Cooking, washing the dishes, etc;
Yard work, gardening and maintenance, etc;
Getting children to any extracurricular activities, medical visits, etc;
Pet care, including grooming, vet visits, feeding, etc;
I John 3: 18 – Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words].
The sermon was delivered at the Special Family Service on August 11, 2019.