The 3 C’s of Marriage

So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”Mattuew19:6

Socrates once advised a young man, “By all means get married. If you get a good wife, you will be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher!” Which explains why I’ll never be a philosopher …

Here are 3 C’s for a successful Christian marriage:

Marriage begins and continues when there’s COMMITMENT. Faithfulness to one partner is essential. You’ve got to hang in and hang out but never hang up. When Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ford celebrated their golden wedding anniversary, a reporter asked them, “To what do you attribute your fifty years of successful married life?” “The formula is the same one I’ve used in making cars,” said Ford. “Just stick to one model!” That’s sound advice. Marriage is for keeps – nothing less. Too many people go into marriage too lightly. You must be true to your spouse through thick and thin. You’ve got to be in it for the long haul. It isn’t something you can contemplate getting out of at any minute. When the going gets tough the tough stay put. They stick to one model – for life. There are always going to be grounds for divorce, what you have to keep finding are grounds for marriage. God’s Word is clear, “Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” Matthew 19:6.

COMMUNICATION. Most of us understand the importance of it but few of us are adept at it. Even though words are my stock in trade, they fail me when my wife says, “Do you think I look fat?” If you know nothing of fear then you’ve never had to answer this question. The moment I hear it I break out in a sweat. For I know that if I say “no,” it means “yes.” If I say “yes,” it means “yes.” If I try to be smart and say, “It all depends on a person’s point of view,” it means “yes.” If I reply with a question and ask, “What do you mean by fat?” I’ve as good as cooked my goose. And if I have a facial tic, a slight shifting of the eyes, or even a little smile, Karen will say, “I know what you’re thinking!”

It can get worse. A woman went to a marriage counsellor for help. She said, “I’m fed up with my husband and think I should sue for divorce.“ ”Do you have grounds?” asked the counsellor. “I have two acres on the other side of town,” replied the woman. “Do you have a grudge?” asked the counsellor. “I have a carport for my car,” said the woman. “Does your husband beat you up?” asked the counsellor. “I’m up an hour and a half before he is every morning,” replied the woman. The counsellor asked, “Why are you considering a divorce?” “Because I can’t communicate with him,” said the woman.

Which illustrates how men and women are different. We think differently, feel differently, and see things differently. These differences will only be overcome when we learn to hit the “mute” button and master the art of listening. For a successful marriage is directly influenced by our ability to listen. As an old Spanish proverb puts it, “Two great talkers will not travel far together.” James agrees. If he was a marriage counsellor today, I’m sure he’d say that “everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” James 1:19.

But commitment and communication, in and of themselves will never be enough to hold a marriage together without CHRIST. For it is Christ, and Christ alone, who supplies everything we need to love one another with a love that will endure to the end. Paul spells it out saying: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her …” Ephesians 5:21-25.

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