From Vince Miller’s excellent handbook on marriage issues, Men & Marriage, 6 Unspoken Tensions, this excerpt draws these tensions out into the open and our attention. The workbook provides practical steps to tackle each of these topics:
Our Vision for Marriage
Let’s face it; marriage is not always what men (or women) expect it to be. This is especially true when we take a closer look at the original design. God invented marriage. He has a purpose and plan for marriage all his own. While most men think marriage is a human idea, it’s not; marriage is a heavenly idea constructed by God. Once we realize that God has an intent and purpose it should cause us to take a careful look at marriage. After all: marriage is his vision and his plan.
When Times Gets Hard
Marriages issues enviably bring hard seasons. It’s challenging to know how to get through these hard seasons. Privately we believe these seasons are unique to us, but every marriage encounters them. Ask any couple married 50 or more years and you’ll discover that every marriage faces at least one hard and impossible season where they did not think they were going to make it—one where they almost threw in the towel or one that lasted multiple years. Here is timeless biblical advice from these couples give to endure hard times.
Sex and Fasting
Now here are two words a man never wants to see in the same sentence — ever. But they appear together in the Bible, as crazy as it may sound. And sometimes, in marriage, we go long seasons into an unintentional (or intentional) sex-fast that develops into major marriage issues. But both of these topics, sex and fasting are amazing topics in surprising ways. Each teaches us a remarkable lesson about authority. They are activities, that when done in the right posture and from the right motivation can lead to incredible satisfaction. And who doesn’t want that?
Stop Building a Case
Conflict is inevitable in marriage. If you have been married for five minutes you understand this. Marriage will face occasional (if not frequent) challenges. But the Bible gives us all kinds of wisdom for traversing these challenges.
Some people mistakenly believe that when you get married all those wrongful sexual desires will immediately disappear by simply engaging in sex. But morally acceptable behaviors don’t change our wrongful desires. If this was true, there would actually be no need for Jesus Christ. We need to address the desires themselves.
The Grace Factor
All great marriages are built upon grace, not law. However, most of our questions are about the letter and lines of the law. Let’s look at one last teaching of Jesus as we try to understand the grace factor in marriage. It’s something we all need.