Thursday, September 13, 2012

Where the Grass is Greener

   “The grass ain’t always greener on the other side.  It’s green where you water it.”  Now don’t stop reading if you recognize that as a line from a Justin Bieber song and you’re not a fan.  I’m not really a fan either, and I certainly don’t have Bieber-fever.  The line is actually delivered by Big Sean in the rap section of the song As Long As You Love Me.  When I heard this on the radio for the first time (at the time I didn’t even know who the artists were or what the song was), I was struck by how profound that one simple statement was; “The grass ain’t always greener on the other side.  It’s green where you water it.”
            Have you ever thought about that within the context of your marriage?  All relationships take time and effort.  The more you invest into a relationship, the better the relationship will be.  Relationships begin to breakdown when our focus turns selfish and we no longer seek to nurture our mates and “water” our marriages.  If someone goes too long without “watering” his/her relationship with his/her spouse, then the relationship will eventually dry up and die.
          Please understand that I am not talking about a “needs based” approach to marriage that fosters a self-centered or manipulative mindset.  “Watering” your relationship is about putting God at the center, recognizing your mate as a true helpmate who completes you, and fully engaging in the divine mystery of husband and wife becoming “one flesh.”  It is about doing the things that feed a healthy, God-centered relationship.  It is also not an occasional or half-hearted effort that only surfaces when things become strained.  Instead, it is a continual desire to love and seek the well-being of your mate as the visible evidence of your love for God.  It is living lives of love, forgiveness, grace, healing, restoration, submission, and sacrificial living toward our spouses.
          Why is an 85-year-old man able to live in a very difficult circumstance, caring for his wife who is so stricken with Alzheimer’s that she doesn’t even know who he is?  Because even in his season of sadness he knows he’s cultivated a lifetime of watering his own marriage.  Why does a 28-year-old woman know she can devote the rest of her life to caring for her husband who is in a wheel-chair for the rest of his life due to a tragic car accident?  Because even in her uncertainty she’s committed herself to a lifetime of nurturing her own marriage.  How can a couple deal with a child who’s trapped in addictive behaviors?  Because even through the pain of their disappointment they don’t lose sight of what it means to make sure their marriage is secure first.
   It is amazing how many people in our world today are more than ready to give up on a relationship.  For some reason, our culture perpetuates the idea that it is easier to throw away what you have, and then put in all the time and effort needed to start a new relationship, rather than investing that same amount of time and energy into healing and strengthening your current marriage.  Instead of trying to figure out how you are going to do it different the next time, why don't you concentrate the same effort into discerning and doing what you just might need to be doing different this time.
  I understand that we live in a broken world.  So many factors play into our relationships, and especially our marriages.  Selfishness, betrayal, physical or mental illnesses, or countless other things can drastically affect spouses.  But think about whether or not you’re “watering” your marriage now.  If you’re in a good marriage, find ways to nurture and grow it and make it better.  If you’re in a strained marriage, don’t give up.  It might take a long time to repair the damage done, to regain trust, to feel like things are good once again.  Where ever you’re at in your marriage, just remember, “The grass ain’t always greener on the other side.  It’s greener where you water it.”

I am blessed to be able to present this 3-hour workshop on Saturday, Sept. 29th.  We will laugh and have fun together as we learn some powerful truths about Christian marriage from God's Word that can immediately impact your relationship for the better.  There's no cost and it is appropriate and applicable for anyone from teens who are looking toward dating and marriage in the future to couples who've been married for over 50 years.  Please be praying for this effort, come join us, and invite your friends.

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