Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a [spouse] finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord. In marriage the right spouse is a good thing. He or she makes life good. He or she brings God’s favor. He or she brings spiritual compatibility, character compatibility, emotional compatibility, communication compatibility, and physical compatibility. The spouse makes life good.
By Pastor Delbert Young
Adventure In Marrying Well 2
Adventure In Marriage 2
Scriptures: Proverbs 18:22, Proverbs 19:13, Proverbs 27:15, 2 Corinthians 6:14-16
As we said, there are some things in life you can get by with a mess up and they won’t make too huge a difference overall. However, there are some things you just can’t afford to mess up. If you do, these things will go with you the rest of your life. At the top of the list of “do not mess up” is “don’t make a mistake when you choose a marriage partner.” We talked about this last time and I want to finish up Adventure In Marrying Well today.
Solomon wrote proverbs as instructions to his son. Proverbs is written from a male perspective. I want to read these verses gender neutral so we can all appreciate them. I’ll place in brackets what I “gender neutralize.”
Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a [spouse] finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD.
The Lord desires we find a spouse and, when done correctly – his way, we receive the Lord’s favor meaning all of life works well. However…
Proverbs 19:13 A foolish son is his father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome [spouse] is like a constant dripping.
Proverbs 27:15 A quarrelsome [spouse] is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; restraining [them] is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand.
Nothing is worse than an out of control spouse. He or she will stress you out and attempting to get life back in control is like trying to hold back the wind or hold oil in your hand. Selecting the correct spouse is vital for a correct life.
Last time I gave us seven deadly detrimental mistakes to spousal selection from the book Finding the Love of Your Life, by Neil Clark Warren. I will quickly read over them.
(1) THE DECISION TO MARRY IS MADE TOO QUICKLY.
(2) THE DECISION IS MADE AT TOO YOUNG AN AGE.
(3) ONE OR BOTH PERSONS ARE TOO EAGER TO BE MARRIED.
(4) ONE OR BOTH MAY BE CHOOSING A MATE TO PLEASE SOMEONE ELSE.
(5) THE EXPERIENCE BASE IS TOO NARROW.
(6) THE COUPLE HAS UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS.
(7) ONE OR BOTH MAY HAVE UNADDRESSED SIGNIFICANT PERSONALITY OR BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS.
Those were the “do not’s” of spousal selection and we covered those last time. I began flipping this over giving us five core “must” similarities to be in the mix of a successful spousal selection. The first one was:
(1) SPIRITUAL COMPATIBILITY
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?
Marriages, at best, struggle when both partners are in disagreement spiritually. There’s nothing in “common,” “fellowship,” “agreement,” or “harmony” in the deepest part of our core. You may agree on shallower issues, but not at the depth of your core. I ask you, what core value goes deeper than a person’s spirituality? What goes deeper into a person’s core identification than when they find a love for God and God’s love for them? We can probably weather a disagreement about dancing, sports, politics, or even the children. However, when God is at the very center of your life and pleasing him and walking with him is foundational to whom you are and cannot be debated, this will make the marriage.
This is where we stopped last time. Let’s talk about the next four core similarities we must have in spousal selection.
(2) CHARACTER COMPATIBILITY. Character incompatibility will destroy any relationship. If one partner is honest, but the other is not, there will be huge problems. If one partner is responsible concerning commitments, but the other isn’t, problems are on their way. If one partner is wise about money, but the other is foolish and deceitful, watch out. No matter what the area be if sexual, or addictions, or righteousness, etc., if character is not there, the marriage suffers. Don’t marry someone with serious character problems.
(3) EMOTIONAL HELP COMPATIBILITY. This is a mutual understanding of each other’s backgrounds knowing your life together will not be impaired by the events of the past. The wonderful person you hold hands with, think about, and think you want to spend the rest of your life with grew up with imperfect parents, imperfect siblings, a few whacked out relatives, and some sin tainted friends. Don’t go into marriage thinking he or she made it into your life without some experiences along life’s path. The question is can you deal with all this? Has it been discussed? Are they moving on, or have those experiences caused emotional damage haunting you? I have talked to people planning to get married to a person with maybe an alcoholic mother and an abusive lazy father and they didn’t see any problem there. There may not be if the person is moving on, but there could be serious complications. Many marriages suffer and die because of one or both spouses’ parenting or past. Ask questions like, “What hit them in life making them feel they were not going to make it? What left a scar?” This scar needs discussing. One day it will be discussed. You better discuss it before marriage.
(4) COMMUNICATION COMPATIBILITY. The ability two people have to engage in soulful “deep” heartfelt conversations will have a huge determination on the success of their marriage. Partners must be able to express deep concerns and loves to one another without drawing blood. They must be able to express hopes and dreams and hurts with each other without feeling foolish. They must be each other’s best cheerleaders. Communication compatibility is crucial.
(5) PHYSICAL ATTRACTION. Physical attraction is the magnet. God designed each of us to experience a strong measure of attraction toward certain people. It can’t be the only thing, but it must be a thing. We must be physically attracted to the person with whom we plan to spend the remainder of our lives. If we are not then something isn’t right. God gives it to us to not only make better the good times, but to help us through the rough times. Rough times attempt to drive us apart. We need the “attraction factor” to help bring us back together.
I want to spend a few minutes talking to us who are already married. Any marriage you find sustaining success over the years is because both partners invest into the relationship. They spend time together. They go on outings and trips together. They have some sort of “date night” together. They play together. Even if they don’t specifically enjoy doing something the other partner enjoys, they invest into the other partner by doing it for them. A wonderful loving marriage can deteriorate and die because of nothing other than neglect. How sad it is to see something once very precious and meaningful neglected until it ends dying in divorce court.
Your marriage will be stuck. It’s sad, but it will be stuck. You will say bitter things. You will be mad. You will be tempted to throw in the towel and give up on it. Before you do, go through every option. I am not an encourager of divorce, although there have been times I didn’t see any other way for people. I am not an encourager of divorce, but I am an encourager of a time of separation. The water must clear and stop being stirred. The dust (dirt) must settle. Air must clear. Tempers must cool. The “attraction factor” must have a chance. If you still can’t come to agreement, get some professional counseling. Don’t only talk to YOUR friends. Your friends will tend to agree with your side and what you need is someone who will see both sides. Think long and hard about the ramifications especially if there are children. No matter what anyone says, divorce injures children and sometimes horrifically. Divorce spins children out into the world unbalanced and wobbling. Don’t give up until you explore every possible option. Admit you need help. Usually when marital difficulties are addressed and all options explored, the marriage can get back on track and move on in life. There’s love there. It was buried under the conflict and junk, but it’s there.
If you’ve been married ten years or less, please stand even if your spouse isn’t here. I want you to know you are in the most vulnerable era of your marriage. Most marriages, if they break up, break up around years five, six, and seven. You are still forming your relationship. You are still forming patterns. Don’t get careless with each other. Find ways to invest into the relationship. Don’t neglect it.
If you have been married ten to twenty years, please stand. You have shared about half your adult life with your partner. You’ve already beaten the statistical odds against you. You have weathered many storms. It’s time to say, “The best is yet to come.” Though a lot has happened there is a lot more to happen. Be careful and don’t take each other for granted. The enemy can still slip in and cause death.
Those who have been married between twenty and thirty years, will you hobble to your feet? These are the payoff years. Usually, it’s now the children become more independent. You have more time and more money. The children will leave and one day you will look at each other and say, “It’s just us again. This is why we walked down the aisle all those years ago.” I want to encourage you and congratulate you. Only you know the battles you have won over the years. I pray a prayer of blessing and protection on you. You have probably decided you made good vows and this marriage will take you all the way to your grave.
If you have been married more than thirty years, please stand. You are so old, but look at you! You are smiling. You are living proof even in this wacky society how it can be done. Years ago, you made a commitment at a marriage altar. With God’s help and a lot of hard work, you did it. You are an inspiration to everyone. You represent what we all want out of a marriage. To you, there are no options to marriage. You know it’s until death do you part. I want us all to rethink romance.
Let’s look at our beginning scripture one more time.
Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a [spouse] FINDS WHAT IS GOOD AND RECEIVES FAVOR FROM THE LORD.
The right spouse is a good thing. He or she makes life good. He or she brings God’s favor. He or she brings spiritual compatibility, character compatibility, emotional compatibility, communication compatibility, and physical compatibility. The spouse makes life good. Without them, life is missing something extremely important.