My desire for each of you is that you might have a very close walk with Christ, that you might live out His abundant life for you – filled with His Spirit, totally yielded to Him as the Master of your life, overflowing with thankfulness, joy, peace, God’s love, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, patience and self-control. I long for each of you to have vibrant relationships with other people and to love them with the very love of Jesus. I long for each of you to be found faithful in God ‘s eyes and to please Him above all else in this life. I long for each of you to live lives without regret full of the blessings of God and the joy of walking in harmony with Him, not full of the consequences and ravages of sin.
WHAT EXAMPLES DID YOU SEE?
Whether God calls you to marriage or to singleness, you will have obstacles to overcome in order to love God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and you will have obstacles to overcome in loving people with God’s love. One of the obstacles will be that you will have to be willing to look at the examples you had in your own life and to determine what things from those examples (of your parents and others) are God-honoring, healthy and good and what things from the examples in your life are ungodly and destructive that have to go.
All of us will tend to default (particularly during conflict) to the examples we saw in our parents’ lives. This is especially true in our dating/courting relationships. I don’t say this in order to condemn any of our parents. All of our parents are human. All of them did the best they could at the time with what they knew about God. Whether we are aware of it or not, the way our parents handled conflict and conducted their marriages and other relationships dramatically impacted each of us. Whatever they did, how they thought and how they spoke became our “standard of normal.”
We will each default back to what we experienced with our parents when we experience conflicts and as we navigate difficulties in relationships unless we very purposely evaluate what we learned from our parents and other influences and very purposely choose to reject anything that was ungodly/destructive and very purposely choose to build our lives on the truth of the Word of God alone. And please keep in mind, if you are considering marriage, your man will have his own issues and baggage to deal with, as well.
SOME UNHEALTHY EXAMPLES WE MAY HAVE SEEN:
– yelling and screaming
– name calling
– character assassination
– avoiding conflict
– passive aggression
– physical abuse/hitting/punching/pushing
– acting like nothing ever happened
– shutting down
– holding on to resentment, bitterness
– broken trust
– running down the spouse to the children
– slander/telling others all about what a spouse did wrong
– quick temper
– withholding sex
– separation/divorce in cases where divorce was not done for biblical reasons
– right fighting (“I’m always right, you are always wrong.”)
– making the children a higher priority than the marriage or God
– making the marriage or spouse a higher priority than God
– trusting self. Not Christ, depending on self to fix things instead of resting in God’s sovereignty
– living in fear, anxiety and worry
SOME HEALTHY EXAMPLES WE MAY HAVE SEEN:
– genuine forgiveness, mercy and grace
– speaking respectfully of one another to the children and others
– respect, honor
– godly love like I Corinthians 13:4-8
– honoring the marriage bed, being affectionate with each other and careful to meet each other’s sexual needs
– total submission to Christ as Lord
– passion for Jesus
– passion for godly masculinity, godly femininity and godly marriage
– a desire to teach children to love God and His Word and to train them in His wisdom
– calm, respectful discussions even when there is disagreement
– biblical submission on the part of the wife
– godly, servant-hearted leadership and selfless love on the part of the husband
– no fear of conflict
– a sense of security because the husband and wife always made the marriage and unity and Christ higher priorities than the outcome of particular decisions
– a desire to grow individually and together
What are some unhealthy ways you saw your parents relate to each other as you were growing up that you know you do NOT want to imitate?
What are some healthy, godly ways you saw your parents interact with each other that you DO want to emulate?