The movie ‘Fireproof’ took the Christian world by storm back in 2008, and helped make all of Alex and Stephen Kendrick’s movies a huge success……with Christian’s and Not-Yet-Christian’s alike. I clearly remember seeing this movie, and thanking God that for the most part, I had a good egg in my hubbie. Sure, there were things that needed fixing, and a few things that I would have liked tweaked, but otherwise my husband is a pretty cool guy.
It wasn’t until I quit work and took my kids back from the world to start homeschooling them, that I began to look through God’s eyes at my marriage. Although Dave and I have always had an amazing love for each other, we were not living for each other like Christ lived for us. After taking the rose-colored glasses off that society had provided me, I began to see the serious cracks in our relationship.Wait…..What? You didn’t know about the rose-colored glasses? Oh, sure you do! When someone gets married, our American society gifts you with two pairs of ‘Rose-Colored Glasses” to make sure that you view your marriage though the worlds eyes. As long as you have the ‘basics’ in your marriage, then the world deems it a good marriage. AND, the glasses come with a ‘Guarantee’! If you don’t have the basics and you and your partner are unwilling to change, then you can simply throw the marriage away and go to the store and purchase a new one. The American Dream, remember? The world gives you these glasses for free, but the price you pay will be the steepest payment you’ll ever make.
What are the ‘Basics of an American Marriage’? Anything that can be embroidered on a pillow or painted on a plaque! Here you go:
1. Always Kiss Me Goodnight…….even if it is the only contact that we have all day.
2. Never Go To Bed Mad………just agree to disagree and sweep it under the carpet.
3. You Can Look, But Not Touch…….after all, we aren’t Dead, right?
4. All Because Two People Fell In Love………who cares if they are not compatible, nor have the same goals…..it’s all about passion, remember?
5. Love is Patient, Love is Kind, Love Never Ends……..gosh, whoever wrote that is probably making a mint selling wall stickies!
5. Fairy Tales Do Come True……….sure they do, and you never have to work at marriage, you will always get along, and the Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow!
6. Promise You Will Make Me Laugh Everyday……..and I will kindly forget all of our troubles and pretend they don’t exist.
7. Don’t Worry Be Happy……..just fill your life with material possessions, addictions and friends. Then you can pretend that all is well with the world and your marriage.
8. Always and Forever……..or until either one of you can’t stand it any longer, and you can get a cheap and quick divorce. Hey, practice makes perfect!
9. Say ‘I Love You’ Everyday……..even if you don’t mean it and you’re dying inside, but you figure it’s better than being alone or letting the neighbor’s find out that your marriage is a sham.
10. And They Lived Happily Ever After……..and you love the fact that you are not a divorce statistic more than you love being in your marriage.
Now, this may sound a bit cynical and a whole lot judgmental. It’s really just supposed to be funny……sort of. I think that everyone in America has heard of one or two of these sayings, and perhaps a few of the ironic definition’s I described just might ring true for you. They did for me. I was just proud of the fact that Dave and I loved each other, we never slept apart on a couch or something, we talked things out even though we were just secretly giving in to each other to end an argument, we believed in God for the most part, we loved our children, and we were committed to our marriage. Most of the married couples that we knew when we were first married divorced, so I figured we were doing great. Sure, I was crying all the time when I was alone, we yelled an awful lot at each other and we never talked about God or His purpose in our life……..but we were still making it work, therefore God would be pleased, right? Right? Um…..not so much.A very funny thing happens when you give your life completely and totally over to God. Every decision, every thought, every move……..He makes things almost crystal clear. You hear His voice, really hear it, yet now you obey it (for the most part, because we are humans and sinners). The voice was there before, but it was easy to tune it out or tell it to go away, because you really and truly believed that you were in control of your own destiny. The world teaches that everything in our lives is up to us, we are responsible for making our lives what they are, and that we only need God for the really tough stuff. We wouldn’t want to needlessly bother God with mundane and everyday problems, when we are clearly capable of handling those things on our own…..according to the world. My favorite lie that the world feeds us is, “God only helps those who help themselves”. It is a generations-old lie that our parents, grandparents, great-granparents, etc. believed, but it is not true. It does not say that in the Bible. There might be some truth behind it, like you have to make the initial decision to accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, but it implies that you have to help yourself all the time. I know for a fact that God helps me everyday, all day, even when I do not have the strength to help myself. He’s the one behind the scenes, the loving God who never leaves me, the Savior who saved my sorry self……even when I was sure that I could do it on my own. So one day, not long after He placed it on my heart to truly look at my marriage, he told me to research what a marriage truly meant from His perspective. It was hard, it was scary, and I was sure that my marriage could not get any better, because after all, I had worked so hard to make it everything I wanted and I had failed. I had failed. Did that make it absolute then, if ‘Kat the Almighty’ could not make something happen, then it was never going to happen? No, but I had to let go of the notion that I was Kat the Almighty. I was nothing compared to Jesus Christ, but I was enough for him to save me. Now, here He was saving my marriage. Not only did He save it……..he GLORIFIED it. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that I am one of the luckiest women on the earth. Dave is not the perfect husband, nor am I the perfect wife. Yet, through Jesus Christ, we are the perfect couple…….for each other. All because we trust Him to make the decisions and we trust His Word to be the foundation of the ‘Basics of a Christian Marriage”…..not an ‘American Marriage”.
A Christian marriage can be summed up with much fewer sayings…….and none of them would sound pretty enough to be stuck on a wall. ‘Basics of a Christian Marriage’ according to God:
1. Life is Messy, Clean it Up……..God gave Mary a child (Jesus), but He did not make her promises of perfection and easiness. Never in a million years did she think she would be cleaning up her Son’s blood the day before He died. Yet, His love made her do the task, and that same love sustained her. Do you love your spouse the way Jesus loves you? Do you forgive your spouse as many times as Jesus has forgiven you? Do you offer the same compassion, love, caring, tenderness, and devotion to your spouse (even if they totally don’t deserve any of these things) that Jesus gives to you every day of your life (which you totally don’t deserve either)? If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, you would be right……no matter who you are and how great your marriage is. Yet, if I asked you if you try to do any of those things with your whole heart, and then you said ‘no’, then you would be in the wrong. Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-402. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: Is that too many words to embroider on a throw pillow? 🙂 Why do you think that the manufacturer’s of pretty things only use the first few words and the last few words of this verse (nor do they ever reference that it is indeed a verse from the Bible)? Probably, because no one would ever sign up for this type of marriage! This verse is beautiful, but it also is very hard to do. Yet, Jesus does it for us every day. Although we will never be perfect like God, we owe it to Him to try to obey His Word…….even when our sense of self-justice screams otherwise. Your marriage will be rewarded, and you will be rewarded also. In the movie Fireproof, Caleb is talking to his Dad, John. He is so frustrated because his wife is not responding to all of the good he is trying to accomplish in repairing their marriage. This is what Caleb’s Dad tells him:
“Son, you just asked me: how can someone show love over and over again when they’re constantly rejected? Caleb, the answer is: you can’t love her, because you can’t give her what you don’t have. I couldn’t truly love your mother until I understood what love truly was. It’s not because I get some reward out of it. I’ve now made a decision to love your mother whether she deserves it or not. Son, God loves you, even though you don’t deserve it. Even though you’ve rejected Him. Spat in His face. God sent Jesus to die on the cross for your sin, because He loves you. The cross was offensive to me, until I came to it. But when I did, Jesus Christ changed my life. That’s when I truly began to love your mom. Son, I can’t settle this for you. This is between you and the Lord. But I love you too much not to tell you the truth. Can’t you see that you need Him? Can’t you see that you need His forgiveness?”Pretty powerful stuff. If you feel that your marriage could use some “fireproofing”, then check out the movie. If you already have seen it, or have read the Fireproof book on marriage entitled “The Love Dare”, than good for you! I have written a post on the books, websites, and materials that I used in my research for a better Christian marriage. They are worth checking out and so helpful in the roles that a man and woman must play to be a godly husband and wife. Check out my post entitled, “My Husband, My Best Friend, My Partner In A Fire……The Role of a Christian Husband and Wife here:
The best line of the movie Fireproof was said by Caleb’s friend, Michael: Fireproof doesn’t mean the fire will never come. It means when the fire comes that you will be able to withstand it.