Auntie Em's Guide to Life

A guide to all the important things in life- marriage, family, cooking, gardening, reading, travel, Christian living… And whatever else grabs my attention!

Complete, Don’t Compete

on October 22, 2012

marriage complete each otherYou’re married to a sinner. So am I. And so are our spouses. That’s what’s wrong with marriages today. If you read yesterday’s  “A Merry Heart,” you know we hosted a FamilyLife Art of Marriage conference. In the “Love Fades… the Drift Toward Isolation” chapter, they said one result of sin is the tendency not to complete each other, as God intended, but to compete with one another. In Genesis 3:16, God told Eve, “…Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” I always thought it meant sexual desire, (then the promised pain of childbirth), but the scholars explained that the original language implies the desire to rule over your husband. The New Living Translation says it this way: “… And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.” (Biblos.com has many translations, plus scholarly articles at the bottom, if you want to read more.) So one of the results of sin was conflict in marriage. We all want to be the boss, because we are by nature selfish! Even with the first sin, Adam and Eve began throwing blame around: “It was the serpent’s fault! He tricked me!” “It was the woman’s fault! You know, the one YOU gave me!” Anything but admit that they did wrong! They immediately threw somebody else under the bus. We need to remember that at the bottom of most– all? — marital conflict is the fight to get MY WAY.  MY rights have been violated. And sometimes they have. But do we have the right to claim our rights if we are Christ-followers? He had the right to have everyone– EVERYONE– bow down and worship. They didn’t. He forgave. One thing to remember, though, is that our spouse is not the enemy in the situation; he is just doing what sinful people do. There is a spiritual battle taking place in every marriage.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (ESV)

The answer is seen in the following verses:

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11 (ESV)

Remember, we were created for relationship, intimacy, and unity with God, and in our marital relationships but sin blew that plan. The same Christ that built the bridge between God and mankind offers the bridge between husband and wife.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned– every one– to his own way. Isaiah 53:6 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God Romans 3:23

And Christ provided the cure:

“… in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.” 2 Corinthians 5:19 (ESV) “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

I love a quote from one of the scholars they featured, Paul David Tripp: “What the cross brings is fresh starts and new beginnings.” We’ve all needed those from time to time! So how about you? Do you need a fresh start and new beginning today?

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24 responses to “Complete, Don’t Compete

  1. Auntie Em,
    I heard a wise pastor say once that we want justice for everyone else but ourselves. . . Oh, that I should demonstrate the same mercy, grace, and forgiveness that God demonstrates toward me. So thankful that “his mercies are new every morning. Great is his faithfulness!” Visiting for the first time from Be Not Weary, and glad I did !

  2. Thank you for these good thoughts on marriage.

    I read this morning in Galatians 6:1 that “if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” I thought about that and realized that if we criticize our husband for his faults, and do not have the spirit of meekness, we could end up being tempted in that same fault or something worse. We often don’t like something in someone else which we happen to be guilty of ourselves, it is just that we are blinded to our own faults.

    I just wanted to also say that I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award!! I love your blog and the things you share here. I have been finding that I stop by often. If you don’t know what the Liebster award is, you’ll just have to stop on over to WholeHearted Home where I explain what it is. I didn’t know either until the other day!!

  3. messymarriage says:

    I love the title of this post, Auntie Em! And your encouragement here is so needed. Even today I was struggling with a situation and thought about how Satan wants to attack and make me feel that it is about the other person, when really he wants to destroy and bring disharmony to our relationships. Your words here were another confirmation of this truth. So I will keep my eyes on Jesus, since He is the only way I can make it in this messy world! Thanks for your great reminder here, my friend!

    • Auntie Em says:

      Oh boy, your confirmation is just the confirmation I need! I do pray that my words will encourage people who read it and help us all improve our love walks.
      Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  4. Pamela says:

    I love that–complete. I had someone tell me last week that the whole marriage vow thing didn’t work for them. I was so sad and wished I could tell them that the vows are beautiful and God’s gift to us. After 36 years I still want to please my sweetheart and hope we have another 36 together. He completes me and I want to complete him.

    • Auntie Em says:

      Thank you, thank you for your encouragement! I’m so happy to hear that you are still so passionate after 36 years (5 years longer than us!) thanks also for commenting!

    • kimahall says:

      What a sad testament for that person and her view of marriage, Pam. I can’t imagine not being married to my dear hubbie, and I pray for at least another 30 years of serving each another.
      A great message, as always, Melinda!

  5. LubbyGirl says:

    Coming up on nine years (both of us were widowed), and Lord willing, keepin’ on! By the way…Isn’t Paul David Tripp part of the Grief Share series of videos? I’m pretty sure that’s where I first saw his name, when we went through that program at our former church.

  6. So very true, my husband always says that no man is really an enemy, The devil only manipulates them especially if they are not saved. Thanks for sharing, those married to unbelieving men need only to keep trusting God and living right…
    Visiting from Matrimonial Monday, have a super blessed day!
    Love

  7. Thanks for linking up with WholeHearted Home this week. Your posts are a blessing and ones that I look forward to. You have a lot of valuable and needed encouragement on your blog.

  8. This is lovely! Thank you so much for sharing and linkin up!

  9. [...] Complete, Don’t Compete (auntieemsguide.wordpress.com) [...]

  10. This is so very true. When we learn that we are to be servant lovers in our marriage and not selfish lovers there is so much more joy, happiness, romance, and passion. My beautiful wife, Alisa, and I had to learn this the hard way. After 11 years of marriage and 2 kids we could have ended it right there. We decide to take up our crosses and instead of being selfish lovers to learn what it meant to be servant lovers. The last 5 years have been a complete transformation for both of us. We are now more in love with each other than ever before.

    The big thing is that we didn’t give up and each of us decided that we needed to be 100% committed to our marriage. Now the is more romance, passion, and intimacy in our lives. It’s a wonderful place to be.

    • Auntie Em says:

      I love God stories like that!! God’s principles are so enigmatic– if you become a servant, your needs will much more likely get met. If you give away, you will have enough. Thanks so much for your comment.

  11. [...] when your spouse has stepped on your last nerve that the devil is scheming against your marriage. Your spouse is not your enemy– Satan is, and all the authories and powers of this dark world. The armor that protects our [...]

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