Why do our hopeful dreams for marriage so often end in nightmares? Most of us who are married – whether it’s been for 30 years or 3 months – realize that at some point the expectations we had for marriage weren’t realistic.
It’s not that having hopes and dreams for a great marriage is a problem, it’s that most of us don’t understand what marriage really is or what it takes to make it work. We all want a marriage that’s good but knowing how to get there is something else entirely.
When I came into my marriage, I had all of these amazing expectations and hopes. As a young Christian couple, my wife Teresa and I loved each other, we prayed for one another and served in ministry together. So I figured when we got married things were only going to be wonderful and we wouldn’t have any arguments, right? Boy, were we wrong!
Like most people, Teresa and I came into our marriage with a lot of emotional baggage from our families and past relationships. So it wasn’t long before we began having huge difficulties. Although it took a lot of work, prayer, and commitment, we were able to experience the deep and meaningful relationship that God always longed for us to have. But it took effort.
Here’s what we learned: God designed marriage and He has a dream for yours. And not only that, He also wants you to experience the dream He has for your marriage.
So what does God’s dream for marriage look like?
In the Bible, there is a pivotal passage that shows us what God’s idea of marriage is all about. Genesis 2:24 says, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
God designed marriage so men and women would experience “oneness” and intimacy by leaving, cleaving and becoming one flesh. This means we leave our parents becoming emotionally and financially independent. Then we cleave with our spouse – or bond together at every level – essentially becoming one flesh.
This oneness or bonding is meant to be experienced deeply on every level:
- Spiritual (agape love) – This is the unconditional love we experience as fellow worshippers when we come together before God and worship Him in spirit and truth.
- Physical (eros love) – This is the passionate, sexual love of a husband and wife.
- Emotional (phileo love) – This is the love of best friends who connect on a soul level. Our soul is made up of our mind, will, and emotions.
Remember, marriage was God’s idea. That’s why the greatest thing we could ever do in our marriage is walk with God. When our sufficiency is dependent upon Him, not only are we are freer to give to our spouse but we can also have more realistic expectations of one another.
This week, we’re starting the series Experiencing God’s Dream for Your Marriage. In it, we’ll embark on an exciting journey to discover God’s plan for a thriving marriage. Together, we’ll learn how to have better communication, how to “fight fair,” and how to overcome barriers to intimacy in our marriages. If this series resonates with you on a heart level, I also encourage you to preview the group study and take a bold next step by sharing the truth about God’s dream for marriage with others.
Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip