An exclusive interview with Addison Road.
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Marriage not only brought me face-to-face with my dream girl, it brought me face to face with my selfishness. Sure, I knew I was self-centered. But prior to marriage I found ways to minimize the seriousness of my problem. I could blame someone else for making me mad or getting in my way. I could avoid people who surfaced my selfishness. Or, they could avoid me.
Marriage placed me in an apartment with someone who consistently wanted things done her way. It locked me in a relationship from which I couldn’t escape. And my selfishness surfaced in some nasty ways. Of course, it also revealed the self-centeredness of my charming and beautiful bride.
If you’re single . . . you can look forward to this. If you’re married, you know what I mean. Couples who fail to bridle their selfishness live in marital misery. Over the years I’ve talked with countless couples who have destroyed their marriage because they refuse to put the other person’s needs before their own. The good news is, there’s hope.
Jesus performed amazing miracles. He opened the eyes of the blind, healed lepers, cast out evil spirits, and raised the dead. In each of these instances, Jesus did for others what they couldn’t do for themselves. At its core, that’s what Christianity is about. It’s about God doing for us what we can’t do for ourselves. Just as we can’t earn forgiveness and eternal life, so we can’t overpower sin and selfishness. We must rely on Christ to accomplish that work in our lives.
When we marry, we enter into a relationship Christ wants to empower. Apart from him we’re a sailboat without wind, a plane without a prop, a car without an engine. He alone possesses the strength to break the cords of selfishness so we can love one another. Yet, we must ask him to enable us to act selflessly . . . to serve when we want service . . . to give when we want to take.
Such prayer activates our faith and unleashes the power of God’s grace in our lives. Just off the deck of our home stands a massive old-growth fir tree. Years ago half of it broke off, leaving a jagged tooth-edged top. During the early morning hours of summer, turkey vultures use the top of the tree to sun themselves. They look like statues as they spread their massive black wings (six-feet across), lift their featherless pink heads, and absorb the sun’s warmth.
Once rested, they leap from the tree and soar into the sky. If the wind currents are right, they’ll glide higher and higher, covering miles of space without flapping their wings. Even ugly turkey vultures look graceful when they fly. Of course, those giant birds don’t create the air that lifts them heavenward. Before they jump, unseen air moves around, over and under them. But the ever-present air has no lifting power until they jump. Only then will the birds soar above the pull of the earth.
Similarly, our faith in God enables his invisible grace to lift us above the gravitational pull of selfishness. We must spread our wings and leap into his ever-present and invisible grace–trusting him to do for us what we can’t do for ourselves.
The next time your selfishness is driving you to put yourself before your spouse–or girlfriend, if you’re single–leap into God’s grace. Ask Christ to live his life through you. Ask him to enable you to love as you’ve been loved by him.
Bill Perkins is a sought-after speaker, former pastor, and prolific author. Read more from Bill at BillPerkins.com. Used with permission.
Do you and your spouse have mentors for your marriage? Forging a friendship with a couple who has been married longer than you can be a great way to gain support and insight into married life. It’s important for you and your spouse to connect with another committed couple that’s passionate about marriage–and about guiding the two of you toward lifelong love.
Marriage mentors can help during all of the three seasons in your marriage; we call this the Marriage Mentoring Triad. We look at the triad as three sides of a triangle that make up three major seasons every couple experiences:
Let’s take a deeper look at how your marriage mentors can help you navigate each part of the triad.
It’s important for you and your spouse to connect with another committed couple that’s passionate about marriage.
During the Prepare phase of your marriage, you and your spouse are starry-eyed and full of young love. This is the launching phase of your marriage; maybe you’re engaged or newly married, and you’re just setting out on your adventures together.
Marriage mentoring can be very powerful during this phase of marriage because after you’ve crossed that threshold and the honeymoon is over, you’ll realize marriage isn’t simple. In fact, it can be downright hard, even during the early years.
Having mentors who can provide constructive and helpful perspective on the challenges you’ll face after the wedding will help lighten the emotional load you and your new husband or wife might be feeling. Your mentors can help bring humor back into a situation that might feel tense and unsteady, now that your new reality is sinking in.
Your mentors should be willing to share stories from their early years of marriage and be willing to be vulnerable enough to share both their missteps and victories. You should be able to ask them for their take on things like first conflicts, first holidays, financial management, and clashing family expectations. They’ll help you see that you and your spouse can survive the challenges you’re experiencing because they did, too.
The Repair phase of a marriage is the most difficult to go through, but at some point, every couple has to walk through it–sometimes more than once. If you and your spouse are in the Repair phase after going through some really difficult or traumatic times, you’ll want to seek out a marriage mentor couple who has not only experienced something difficult together, but who has also come out on the other side stronger than before.
Couples who have been through difficult times themselves have a story to tell about their marriage. When you’re in the trenches, you need a loving, experienced couple who knows what you’re going through and has walked in your shoes. The ideal mentoring couple will have gained strength and health in spite of the challenges they faced, and be willing and able to extend help to you and your spouse.
When you’re going through a hard season in your marriage, nothing compares to having a mentoring couple who have faced catastrophe together. Whether you’re dealing with financial disaster, infertility, unresolved conflict, or infidelity, connecting with a couple who has weathered the same kind of blow to their marriage is so helpful. Through the relationship you develop with your mentors, you’ll be able to see that if they made it, so can you.
Often, couples don’t tend to think about the status of their marriages until they’re in a crisis; it happens to the best of us. But what if we considered the state of our marriages when we’re in a good place? The Maximize phase is a great time to bring in marriage mentors who can help us take our marriage from good to great.
If things seem to be going smoothly in your marriage, it can be easy to just maintain status quo and avoid rocking the boat. But why not intentionally look for ways to increase your marital satisfaction–even just by 10% in the next year? Seeing that kind of growth in your relationship could make a world of difference for you both.
During this season, connecting with a mentor couple can help you get inspired to set and meet specific goals for growth in your marriage. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn from your mentors’ mistakes so that you have the chance to avoid making the same ones yourself in the future.
Think of mentoring as an investment for your marriage. Not only will you make lifelong friends and learn a lot along the way; you’ll also nurture the lifelong love you launched when you said, “I do.”
Copyright © 2017 Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott, Check-out the SYMBIS Assessment
God led me to your sight this morning and for that I give Him all the glory. Thank you for your heart for a Godly marriage. Julie
©2018 Growthtrac Ministries. Growthtrac Ministries is a 501(c)(3) Christian, non-profit charity.