What is it about relationships that are so universally challenging? I’ve often wondered how even the best of relationships can often quickly disintegrate into a toxic, painful mess, after years of effort and defeat. Not to mention, I’ve experienced the painful ending of long-term relationships a couple times too many. Not wanting a repeat of past mistakes,in my 30’s, I spent hundreds of hours pouring over the Bible, self-help relationship books and talking to relationship experts to find one common thread: the most fulfilling and fruitful relationships are founded on God’s purpose for marriage.
So what is God’s purpose for this relationship between men and women? In the pursuit of personal happiness, we often forget that a new set of goals must be set within the construct of a committed relationship. The goals extend beyond individual needs- its the relationship that we must tend to and care for in order to see it thrive. When God is the foundation and cornerstone to our relationships, our goals shift and we place our hope in Christ who never fails us.
God’s design and purpose for marriage is not for us to simply “be happy”, but rather to Glorify Him through the relationship.
And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12
In other words, He aims for us to serve one another, forgive, submit and seek the best interest of our partner in order to glorify God. By trusting God to work on our own hearts and the heart of our partner, we can solely focus on our own growth and areas of improvement. And on this journey, we get to achieve so much more than we ever could on our own.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. – Philippians 2:3
It may sound oh-too simple, but I assure you, the perspective shift from striving to get your own needs met- to meeting the needs of the relationship– does allow you to pause, reflect and reevaluate your actions in a clear, new light. It leads to an eventual shift in priorities and an even better ability to hear and understand your partners needs.
Coming from a broken home myself, I find God’s blueprints for my relationship a relief. I know for a fact that I will fall short and fail Luke over and over again; I understand the limitations of him meeting my every need as well.
How do you think making happiness the goal of your relationship may create problems in your relationship?
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