The handsome, confident man struts proudly towards his appointed place at the front of the room. His friends and family sit close by, beaming teary smiles in anticipation. She appears at the back of the room and glides like an angel down the aisle. It’s perfect. He couldn’t have found a better match. They couldn’t have picked a prettier day. They are blessed beyond measure. As the Pastor pronounces a blessing over their new life together, they turn to face the happy crowd. Mrs. Perfect slips her delicate hand around his arm and they take their first confident step forward.
In a blink, the church fades away. They walk the aisle together, but the scenery has changed. Confused, they look back and forth between each other and the shouting crowd that fills the seats around them. The confident man’s confidence begins to waiver. The angelic beauty at his side is much less beautiful in the red flashing strobe lights. As they reach the end of the aisle, an announcer’s voice booms over the loud speaker offering the crowd the fight of a lifetime.
The crowd roars, thirsty for blood, and the young man and his bride meet each other’s eyes. There is fear there. What’s happening? This isn’t right. They’re supposed to be enjoying a life of happily-ever-after. How did they get here? Still sure that they’ll be fine if they believe in the power of their love, the new husband guides his young wife through the door into the octagonal ring.
Once inside the floor-to-ceiling caged ring, the doors close with a sickening lock of finality. The crowd fades to a blur behind the metal mesh walls. The gong sounds, and the two lovers square off and begin a confusing life-long duel to the death. Slowly and methodically she will undermine his authority and strip away his pride and honor. He’ll hit back where it hurts the most, neglecting her and making her wonder if he ever loved her to begin with. They’ll circle and jab and circle and block. For too many Christian couples, this “wedding dance” will comprise the next 40 or 50 years. Unless someone goes down after a particularly bad blow and decides to stay down and forfeit.
Christian marriages, Christian friends, are surrendering to defeat all around me. It’s an epidemic. I’m close to these people, these friends, these loved ones, and I’m watching the fight from a front row seat. God has stirred my heart to fight for the institution He created, because I’ve seen its blessings first hand. I’ve personally won my own cage fight and I have the big gold belt to prove it.
I can honestly tell you Ron and I have figured out the game. We know how to win. We aren’t fronting. We aren’t faking. We began in the cage like the rest of you and we spent the first two or three years circling each other, guard up, looking for an opportunity to leg sweep the other and gouge out an eye.
We ain’t perfect, don’t get me wrong.
This past December’s stresses sent us sparring, and we had a string of Saturdays where things didn’t feel as good as they normally do. Sometimes we blink and we’re back in the cage. But we have had an amazing Trainer. He taught us how to win together. He showed us how to get out of the cage. I’m passing on the secrets. Please don’t take my confidence as pride. We are only where we are by the great grace of Jesus, the same grace that is readily available for your marriage!
I think, as new couples, the biggest problem is that we aren’t trained fighters. And, more importantly, we’ve lost track of the real enemy. We’re just enamored, star-struck lovers thrown into a ring together only to be completely gob-smacked when we realize we’re somehow suddenly against each other. We went in thinking we’d fight together, and then found out how different we are from our spouse. What started out as two best friends joining, became a fight to the death. Like when Captain Kirk has to fight his best friend Spock on Vulcan in a fight to the death because of Pon Farr. They were best friends. They loved and respected each other, but an external force was making them hurt each other and neither of them wanted to. Not a Treky? Moving on…
Can any of you work a spinning wheel? How about a Cotton Gin? Times have changed. We’ve “evolved.” Very few people know how to use these “ancient” machines. Marriage is an ancient machine. It was created simultaneously with the first two people and it works best when used correctly. But the way it was intended to work doesn’t mesh with modern society. It seems “clunky” and outdated when we read how God intended it in the Bible.
All this submission and honor stuff doesn’t gel with us. So we’ve tweaked it. Men and women are equal and separate. Women make their own decisions. Men can cook their own food. “You’re hungry? I’m not your maid! Make yourself a dang quesadilla!” We give little thought to being “one flesh”––one single unit made up of two people who have been permanently fused together.
If perchance you suddenly had need of a Cotton Gin, who would you rather have teach you to use it? Donald Trump or Eli Whitney? Eli Whitney invented the Cotton Gin. Donald Trump is wildly successful and famous. I think a lot of us would foolishly choose Donald Trump in hopes that his fantastic success would “rub off on us” or mere exposure to him might start us down the road to riches. Do you see the problem with this? The question was how to work a Cotton Gin, but the prospect of bigger, better, and more led us away from the original intention.
The best Person to teach us about marriage is the One who made it. The back door that Ron and I dove through when we were maimed and lame in the ring was Biblical love. I went through first. I read a life-changing book called “Created To Be His Help-Meet” and it changed everything. We were dying. I hated him. He was a selfish, lazy, worldly, jerk. He never spent time with me. He worked a lot and watched tv in the mean time. We never went on dates. He couldn’t care less about reading his Bible. I rued the day I chose him. To be fair to Ron, my perceptions weren’t reality.
This book, “Created To Be His Help-Meet,” said a lot of other ladies felt the same way I did. The author, Debi Pearl, promised me that there was still hope. She said she had seen it time and again. She promised me that if I would treat Ron like a prince, he’d turn into one. What did I have to lose? We were shot. We had sunk to the lowest of lows. I decided to trust her. Praise Jesus, it was true.
In mere weeks, Ron transformed before my eyes. Maybe it’s more correct to say that I transformed. In mere months we were a different couple. A few years and our strength was solidified. After over a decade of following these Biblical principles, we are leading small groups to help other couples find their way through the little door, too.
I care about you. If you are reading this and your marriage is less than heavenly, I have fantastic news for you. You can have what I have. You can be madly in love with the person you married. This first post is the introduction to a series. I’ll write one a week for the next five weeks. They will be on these five subjects:
Denying Ourselves And Taking The Narrow Way – The Tiny Door.
The Power Of Time
A Testimony To Change Others And Why The Enemy “Will Make It Rain”
God’s Incredible Ability To Pick The Person Who Will Be The Best For Us (All The While Letting Us Think We Chose That Schmuck)
In the mean time, I’d like to pray for you. If you private message me on Facebook, I will pray for you and your spouse over these next five weeks. I won’t tell anyone that you wrote to me. Stick with me on this friend. I promise you can have the marriage you always dreamed of – no, better than that – without having to divorce the jerk you’re married to right now!