Nobody comes into marriage knowing how to be married. We might think we know, but it doesn’t take long to realize “you don’t know what you don’t know.” Even if you had good role models growing up, there’s much you didn’t see that contributed to a lifelong marriage. Much of what happens in marriage are the little things. The wrong little choices pull us apart and the right little choices keep us connected. It’s our God-tool of wisdom that keeps us making the right little choices.
Learning about marriage is a lifelong journey. Even couples that have been married for decades need to keep seeking wisdom on how to be the right person, how to better understand the differences, how to deepen intimacy—both sexual and non-sexual, how to stop the fades, and how to handle anything that life throws our way.
We gain wisdom from the Bible, from the knowledge and experience of wise people, and from our own experiences. Some people look at the Bible as a book full of rules. What we need to see, however, is a book full of direction and guidelines that protect us from the consequences of foolish choices. Living life God’s way doesn’t protect us from bad things happening in our lives; this is a broken world after all. The wisdom in the Bible, however, does protect us from the consequences of our own poor choices.
Maybe your spouse wants nothing to do with making your marriage any better. Maybe you feel like “what’s the use? I’m the only one truly making an effort here. Why am I trying so hard when he/she doesn’t seem to be?” Before we go any further, there’s an important piece of God’s wisdom you need to focus on. It’s found in Colossians 3:23, “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord, rather than for people.” No matter what your spouse does, you have to be motivated by doing the right things for God. Not for a specific result, but simply because God asks you to do things His way. The beautiful thing about this is that you will gain wisdom! You will be changed! And if one person changes in a marriage, the marriage changes!
Much of the mess I (Mark) made in our marriage happened because I disregarded the wisdom from God’s Word. I knew what God said about anger being out of control (Ephesians 4:26), but I still let anger consume me. I knew that God’s Word said that if you looked at a woman lustfully, God considers that committing adultery in my heart (Matthew 5:28), but I still clicked on pornography. I knew it wasn’t wise to talk to an old female friend on Facebook (1 Corinthians 16:13), but I did anyway, and those conversations fanned the flames of an affair. In other words, wisdom was a tool in my marriage tool belt I knowingly chose not to use. Sure I wasn’t thinking of that in the moment…or maybe I was, but I was choosing to ignore that still small voice of wisdom and accountability in my head.
Humility and wisdom go hand in hand. In fact, Proverbs 13:10 tells us, “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.” Humility allows us to hear the wisdom of others. Humility opens our hearts to the wisdom of God’s Truth. Humility lets us take a hard look at our experiences and determine whether we should repeat the same actions or run in the opposite direction! Now that’s wisdom we all desperately need!
‘But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. ‘ James 1:5
What about you? Where do you need to seek wisdom in how you’re responding in your marriage?