A God-centered relationship too often feels like a nice idea that is always out of reach. We want it, but we aren’t sure what it looks like. We might even try a few ideas on for size, but usually give up in frustration.
Marriage is one of God’s laboratories in which he brings two uniquely different people together to become one. Intimacy and unity is the end goal of this sanctifying process. But too often we let our uniqueness get in the way of our oneness. We focus just on our own needs and not on the needs of our spouse or our relationship.
One of the most common complaints of couples who come to me for counseling goes something like this: “My spouse should know what I want without being told. If he really loved me, he’d know what I need. I shouldn’t have to spell it out for him.”
Somehow we come into marriage wanting our spouse to be so attuned to us that they will be able to pick up on the tiniest of cues, know us better than we know ourselves, and intuitively discern exactly what we want and need from them at any given moment. We expect our spouse to read our mind.
Many years ago, a Christian marriage and family therapist I knew celebrated his birthday by surprising his wife with the news that he wanted a divorce. He called it his “gift to himself.”
Tragically, this man did not realize that he wasn’t doing himself any favors by divorcing his wife. What was truly best for him would have been to learn to love his wife, to invest in their marriage and to keep their family together. He did what seemed easiest and sacrificed his long-term best interests. He celebrated self-centeredness and called it self-care.
I can remember being one of lead climbers on a high ropes course in the Costa Rican cloud forest. One of the students was trying to make it across something called “the x-rope.” Even though she had two lines attached to her harness, she thought she was going to fall. She desperately clung to the ropes, immobilized by fear. She thought she was going to die. Fear had overthrown her ability to listen. We calmly tried to instruct her, but to no avail. The only way to help her was to go out and get her.