April 23, 2014

Medina
Mostly cloudy
42°F

Before & After You Say “I Do”

WeddingThink about your first “crush” growing up.

It may have lasted for a whole elementary school year, or it may have lasted for a whole elementary school lunch.

Perhaps you’re one of the ultra-rare people who still have your first crush in your life. Chances are you moved on to another hottie, learning along the way that everyone gets their heart broken.

This trend likely continued into high school. As you jammed to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack at prom, you wondered if the person you were with would call you after the night was over.

Soon you were an adult learning about Karaoke and how to make party dip so you could socialize at mixers. All the while you were silently singing, “Can anybody find me… somebody to love?”

Maybe you’re on the other side of all of that. You’ve been to the altar and said “I do” to your opposite-sex counterpart, hoping the love connection lasts. It could be you’ve even ended up on the other side of that due to a spouse passing away or the marriage hitting a wall no one could get past in their own power.

This is often when you get to a place of desperation and cry out to God, “Do you have anything better for me than all of this?”

The Bible offers some great wisdom. Before I share one with you, here’s a question:

How do you fill the awkward spaces in your life?

(Yes, that open area is there for a reason. What does it represent to you?)

Most people pour everything from relationships to careers and extracurricular activities into that gap. Eventually, those things dissolve away and leave you without a sense of direction or identity.

It’s why Jesus Christ said, “Give God first place in your life and live as he wants you to.” (Matthew 6:33)

How does this all play out?

Another section of the Bible compares life to a race. Look up 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 if you are open to reading it. Meanwhile, here are some takeaways if we apply that metaphor to marriage:

Understand that you are in a marathon, and not a sprint. People often treat marriage as something they’ll do until they run out of energy for it. Soon they’re onto another “sprint” somewhere else, be it a hobby that distracts them or another person they end up having an affair with. Think about what “I do” really means before you say it.

Push yourself past your perceived limits. We all have real limits that when crossed truly do constitute as abuse. Most of the time, couples struggle with perceived limits they end up amplifying through statements like, “I can’t go on in this marriage. I keep stumbling over shoes that were left out and projects that were left undone.” Those feel like real walls today, but (like any physical race) are just perceived limits you can find a way to push through.

Really run… no “Wii running”: When the Wii video game system first came out, families bought it and began exercising with the Wii remotes in their pockets. Over time, we all learned that if you even slightly move the remote it’ll give the system the appearance of effort – just enough to register, but not enough to make you sweat. Does that describe how you operate in your relationship with another person?

Cross an actual finish line: There are many benefits to putting God first in every area of your life. One of them is that when circumstances don’t turn out as you hope you can celebrate the effort you put into being faithful to cross the finish line anyway.

This is how real relationships work and thrive. Next week we’ll talk about what happens when you want to quit, but for now chew on these thoughts.

Likewise, consider how you tend to fill the empty, awkward silences in your life. Might it be time to turn off the TV, set down your golf clubs and put away your shopping list for just a moment?

Despite what Jerry Maguire says, another person can’t complete you. The gap inside of you is bigger than what a human being alone can fulfill. Do you want to keep looking for wholeness in however another person might treat you today, or enjoy the established love of a Savior who gave up His life on a cross to spend eternity with you?

Be still and let God overwhelm you. Wrestle with the fact that you are loved by your Creator in ways that can’t be defined by the religious practices you’ve tamed but only through a wild relationship you can’t control. Let Him break in through the walls of your heart.

Receive Him, and then start to love others like God loves you. In doing so, you can begin to bring wholeness into whatever your relational life ends up looking like.

The best way to find the right person to complete the rest of your life with is to become a complete person without them today.

Until then, see you next week… if not around town.

tony myles“Fully-Alive Living” offers weekly insights to serve you in taking another step forward in matters of the heart, soul, mind, body and relationships. With more than 20 years of experience and advanced education in working with people of all ages, Tony Myles and his family live in Medina where he serves as the lead pastor of ConnectionChurch. Email him at tony@connectionchurch.org, follow him on Twitter @tonymyles or read his blog

at http://tonymyles.blogspot.com.