“There is such restoration in creation to relieve stress” – Susan Winter
Many marriages would benefit if spouses put the above sentence into practice!
God created man and woman to come together in holy matrimony to reflect His glory and love through the marriage covenant.
“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.” (1 John 4:16)
IN THE BEGINNING
When we first get married we are in love, we want to honor each other and as believers we want our marriage to reflect God’s glory so we are willing, in the beginning stages of our marriage, to gloss over the not so nice character traits in our spouse or the fact that they do not react as we expect them too. We tend to make excuses for our ‘better’ half and often blame ourselves if things aren’t going as smoothly as expected.
The reality is this: each one of us brings our past and our expectations into the marriage. Whether we like it or not, we are programmed to a large degree because of our past, to react in certain ways.
A husband may have grown up with a mom who stayed at home and did all the household work and cooking and just assumes that is what his wife is going to continue to do. Or his mom may have worked and he expects the same from his wife. The wife may have grown up with brothers or a father who helped in the house and shared the cooking and, therefore, her expectation may be that her husband will likewise share these duties equally. Or her mom may have stayed at home and raised the children and this is what she anticipates will be what she will do once the children are born.
There are so many ‘truths’ as we know them stored in our subconscious minds that are very different from the ‘truths’ that are stored in our spouse’s subconscious mind.
The traditions and assumptions around birthdays, Christmas, Easter… any number of things may also be entirely different, and if these expectations have not been expressed, our reactions to not having our assumptions met could cause many misunderstandings.
AS TIME GOES ON
After a few years go by, we may notice that resentment begins to creep in. Unmet expectations begin to fester and boredom of routine may set in. Disillusionment and hurt have ensured that you and your spouse have grown further and further apart and both of you are so stressed that you are beginning to think that you have made a huge mistake and this is not the person you want to spend the rest of your life with after all.
Hence this thought being so meaningful for a marriage: “There is such restoration in creation to relieve stress.” (Susan Winter)
BRINGING IT BACK HOME
Restoration is the act of restoring or bringing something back to its former position or condition. We need to actively work at restoring our marriages, to bring back the love we had for each other.
Creation is the act or process of bringing something into existence. We need to bring our love for our spouse into existence once again. As Martin Luther King Jr. put it:
“There’s something about love that builds up and is creative.”
Relieve has two meanings and both are appropriate in restoring our marriages.
The first one is to relieve or cause pain and distress to become less serious and severe. The second meaning is to take the place of or stand-in for someone. We need to actively think about how we can help relieve our partner of the pain that has been caused in the marriage and we need to ‘stand’ in the place of our spouse and try and imagine what they feel and think about the marriage.
Stress is pressure or tension exerted on something or someone. It is accompanied by feelings of worry, anxiety, and strain.
What stress are we causing our partner with our past and present behavior?
We need to find creative ways to relieve that stress on our marriage.
We need to “Be kind to each other, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32).
We need to learn to “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:21)
“So far as you continue to entertain what makes you unhappy, you shall always dance to the tune of what will make you unhappy. A mind-set change can cause a great change.” ―Ernest Agyemang Yeboah