How to THRIVE in Your Marriage Vows Series - Part 3
Disclaimer - Because of sin, there is serious dysfunction in some marriages today. This series does not mean to whitewash any problems inside of broken marriages. Instead, it is my desire to uncover the beauty of the vows thru a Biblical worldview and how they are meant to play out in a healthy marriage.
“This is not what I signed up for!” I fumed as I drove down the road. My man had made a decision of which I did not agree. The discussion of said decision quickly escalated into an argument. Like a ping pong match, opinions flew back and forth. We were getting nowhere fast.
I needed space. I needed to breathe. I needed to get away.
As I was muttering and sputtering to the Lord in the car, He gently reminded me that this is exactly what I had signed up for when I said the second line in my wedding vows: “I, Tammy, take you, Remy, for better or for worse.”.
As these two contrary thoughts played tug-a-war in my mind, I had a choice to make. Would I continue to believe the lie, “This is not what I signed up for!” or replace it with truth, “I signed up for the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
I knew that if I continued to marinate in the lie, it would fester and cause division and strangle the oneness of my marriage. The choice was clear: I needed to eradicate the lie and replace it with the truth.
What is “For Better or for Worse”
This ”for better or for worse” type of love is like the unconditional love which the Lord has for you and for me. Regardless of how we act or don’t act, God loves us 100%. His love is a love given to the undeserving.
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us
while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8
For Better or For Worse is 1 Corinthians 13.
4Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
5It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8Love never fails
Even healthy marriages have "for worse" moments or seasons. "For better or for worse" is the mindset:
- Whether the outcome is good or bad, I’ll be by your side.
- Regardless of how I FEEL, you can count on me for support and encouragement.
- When needed, I will gently correct you without degrading or mocking or minimizing you.”
How to live “For Better or For Worse”
After I cooled down and had some time to think and pray, the Spirit gently pointed me to 1 Peter 3:1-4. My flesh bristled. “That’s not fair, Lord,” I muttered. “I don’t long to submit. I don’t want to be gentle. I certainly do not have a quiet spirit.”
But I also don’t want to be the cause of strife and disharmony in my marriage. I just needed to die to self and do it. Bleh.
“In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands.” vs. 1
Jesus girl, please don’t tune me out. God, in all His kindness, gave us Jesus as the ultimate example of submission (1 Peter 2:21-24) and asks us to follow His lead. We can do this!
In the military, someone has to lead, and someone has to follow otherwise there would be mass chaos. The same is true in a healthy marriage. Someone needs to lead, and someone needs to follow. We may feel strong when we lead, but ironically, we’re stronger when we as wives choose to submit.
God instructed us to follow our man. Therefore, we're putting to death our will by submitting to God’s will and leaving the results to Him.
If it is God’s will (1 Peter 2:13-15) for me to submit to my man, He’ll give me the strength and ability to do it.
Side note: In a future post, I’ll discuss when a wife shouldn’t submit.
“when they see your respectful and pure conduct.” vs. 2
Respect. I covered this in my “love him like Jo loves Chip” post. For some reason, when our man doesn’t do what we think he needs to do, we go into mothering mode, or worse, a mocking and demeaning mode. This stems back to the curse from the Garden. (Genesis 3:16)
Yet, it is God’s will for us to speak and act respectfully (polite, well-mannered, gracious) toward our man. Respectful and pure conduct requires us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and to gently restore. (Galatians 6:1)
If it is God’s will (1 Peter 2:13-15) for me to respect my man, He’ll give me the strength and ability to do it.
Why do we live “For Better or For Worse”
"the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God." vs. 4
This is the prize, my friend! I am so glad you stayed with me to this point. Ready? When I’m submissive and respectful to my man, God finds it precious. That needs to mean the world to me.
Precious meaning very costly, excellent, and of surpassing value. What does this bring to mind? Yup, Proverbs 31:10.
“An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.”
It’s like the gold star in school or the blue ribbon at the county fair or the gold medal at the Olympics! Woohoo! My friend, it’s the highest achievement we as wives can attain: God’s approval! Our all-seeing God, witnessing us dying to our flesh, submitting and respecting our man, and saying, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
God's will and approval need to outweigh my way in my marriage.
How I choose to thrive in “For Better or For Worse.”
I pointed the car back towards home. I asked the Lord for forgiveness and guidance as I walked in my door. I apologized to my man for my attitude and words. I sought forgiveness from my kids who heard me speak disrespectfully to their father. I then calmly and respectfully talked the issue over with my man. And I left the results in God's hands. With these simple acts, peace replaced chaos in my house as well as in my marriage.
Even healthy marriages have moments or seasons of "for worse." Following Jesus's example, we can press in and thrive during the "for worse" times in our marriage. May God find us faithful and true in the good times as well as the bad times.
Wedding Vows Series
I Do? What in the World Did I Sign Up For? - Part 1
Heat Up Your "To Have and to Hold" - Part 2
Winning Solution in "For Better or For Worse" - Part 3
Do You Feel Weary in Your "in Sickness and In Health" - Part 4
You CAN Meld Love and Money in "For Richer or Poorer" - Part 5
Love AND Cherish no Matter What? - Part 6
Till Death Do We Part - Part 7
If you don't know the rest of our story, you can find it here.
Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Confidante. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.