Monday, October 3, 2011
Mismatched or Mismanaged? : Marriage Monday
The implosion of a marriage is a painful thing to witness.
A couple in our church, both of them in leadership, people who genuinely loved God (I believe), simply fell apart before our eyes. One day everything seemed fine (to the outside observer) and the next day an affair was exposed. A short time later, they divorced and went their separate ways.
About a year later, it happened again with another couple, friends of ours in ministry. I wept for them, ached for both of them as their relationship ruptured, rumors spread and reputations were damaged. The dissolution of a marriage is painful for everyone involved – children, friends, church, family, coworkers, neighbors. It's like watching conjoined twins be ripped apart without benefit of anesthesia.
Adultery was exposed in another marriage within the same time frame. And it wasn't the first time. Part of me (flesh) wanted to hire a hit man to administer suitable punishment to the offending party. I was mad. The "offendee," however, was far more spiritual than I, choosing to stay and make it work through forgiveness, through wise counsel, and behavioral adaptation. When we stand before Jesus in heaven I know there will be a huge jewel in the crown she lays at His feet...
In the fourth situation, the wife was, in my opinion, "a pusher." Ambitious for success in ministry, she had an agenda, and her husband was part of her plan. He couldn't take the pressure, and fell away... not just from the marriage, but from his calling and from the church, as is often the case in such situations.
When you don't know the people involved, it's easy to judge. It's easy to point fingers and say, "it's her fault" or "it's his fault," but when you are friends with both parties, suddenly things are a little more complicated. It's also easy to fall back on some of the classic Christian cop-outs like, "We weren't even saved when we got married." Or, "We must have missed God. He didn't mean for us to be together." Hmm.
If you've been married for any length of time, you've probably wondered at least once (in a moment of distress) if you "missed God" when you married your spouse. (If not, hats off to you!) What if you'd married so-and-so? What if you hadn't married at all? I think the enemy (and the world) like to get us over in that "what if" mindset. If the devil can convince us that our marriage is a "mismatch," we lose hope and quit putting forth effort when the road gets rough for some reason.
Frequently, however, what looks like a mismatch is often a case of marital mismanagement. In the same way a corporation can be mismanaged, so can a marriage. Failure to communicate, or poor communication skills; lousy leadership skills; misunderstanding of motives and needs; or misplaced expectations on either (or both) sides that lead to disappointment and disillusionment.
Here's the good news: mismanagement can be corrected, if both parties are willing to cooperate. Before you yield (or let someone you're ministering to) yield to the "mismatched" theory, consider the possibility that mismanagement on one, or both, sides is the problem, and that can be fixed!
About the Author: Niki writes fiction, blog posts, articles in the local newspaper, grocery lists, and Facebook status updates. She can be found at her own blog, In Truer Ink, in addition to posting here and at The Pastor's Wife Speaks. She was a 2009 finalist in the Faith, Hope, and Love "Touched by Love" contest. She and her husband pioneered a church plant in 1998 and pastored that church until 2011 before turning the work over to another couple. Nowadays, she's enjoying being a grandma to her first grandbaby and waiting to see what God has in store for the next season of life!