I’m super excited about this week’s chapter in Balancing It All by Candace Cameron Bure because it focuses on the reason I originally started this book club – marriage. In chapter 13, entitled For Better or Worse, Candace expresses something that I’m sure we’ve all realized at one time or another in our marriages; “ when things get too crazy in my life, the first thing to suffer is my relationship with Val.” Have you noticed that about your life too? I certainly have! Just a few weeks ago, I mentioned in my post about maintaining balance during a major life change that when I start to feel stressed and overwhelmed I sacrifice time with my hubby in order to get things done. Thankfully I have a husband who will gently remind me that he wants to spend time with me and that the things on my to-do list can wait.
In this chapter, Candace gives us what she considers to be the 3 Keys to a Healthy Marriage.
(1) A healthy marriage is a marriage with sex.
Believe it or not, that’s Biblical! I’m not sure where in history Christians turned sex into something that’s taboo, but that’s never what God intended. The Bible actually tells us that when we’re married we should be having sex! Candace points out to us that 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
I’ll be completely honest, when I read that I actually went to my Bible to see for myself that it really said that because it seemed so contrary to the impression I was given after being raised in the church. Even in society, that can sometimes seem unusual. We all grew up watching sitcoms where the husband would do something to upset the wife, and as a punishment she withheld sex. I’ve done that to Taylor before, whether it was a conscious decision or not. After reading that passage, I hope I won’t respond in that manner anymore.
(2) In a healthy marriage, spouses regard each other as higher than themselves.
I’m sure it’s no surprise to you that this piece of advice is Biblical also. Philippians 2:3-4 says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” That’s not always the easiest thing to do in today’s society, but this is an opportunity we have to show the world that there’s something different about us as Christians. Both in our marriage and our relationships with those around us, we should be practicing this.
(3) A healthy marriage requires prayer.
The source of this advice comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:17, which tells us to “pray without ceasing.” Candace says, “I don’t think that means we have to pray every single minute of every day, but that we should make a habit of prayer.” And who better to pray for than the most important men in our lives? We all know that there is power in prayer, so just imagine what God could do in your marriage if you lifted your husbands up to Him in prayer on a daily basis!
Candace closes this chapter by saying this about her marriage; “We approach things biblically so that God will be pleased with each of us and with our marriage. It’s all about us being the people God wants us to be individually and as a couple.” I hope that we will each think hard about that idea, and try to approach our marriage in a way that is pleasing to God.
In lieu of giving you a challenge in the form of something to do, this week I want to give you something to meditate on.
I want to share with you one of the best pieces of marriage advice I’ve ever gotten. When I was in college, I was in a serious relationship with a guy, and my grandparents’ best friends (who were basically another set of grandparents to me) had us over for lunch one Sunday after church. They were the couple who had been married young, had raised a house full of kids, had a gaggle of grandkids, and anyone who spent more than 5 minutes with them could tell that they were still madly in love. I’ve always looked to them as the picture of what I want my marriage to look like in fifty years. Over lunch that day, they shared something with me that I’m sure some of you have heard before, but this was the first time I had heard it and it stuck with me.
Marriage is rarely 50-50. It’s about two people giving all they have. You’ll go through phases in life where you feel like you have nothing to give. If you’ve got a good spouse, that’s when they’ll pick up the slack for you, but you have to be prepared to do the same thing for them when they need you to. It’s not about keeping track of who gives the most. It’s about recognizing that at the end of the day, you’ve made it through the challenges you’re facing together.
I want to dedicate this post to Bill McCutchan, who was diagnosed with cancer shortly after he shared that advice with me. Even though he is no longer on earth with us, I hope that his wisdom will live on and that it can help many more marriages, just as it has helped mine.