Christian Marriage: How Could Everything Change So Dramatically?

August 29, 2011

Has any other married Christian person ever pondered this question?  Today I would like to share a powerful quote that you will likely find relates to the struggles you have experienced in your Christian marriage.

“The difficultly with marriage is that we fall in love with a personality, but we must live with a character.”

– Peter Devries

We can only appreciate this statement when we come to true understanding of what is meant by CHARACTER.  “Personality” is easy to understand. Your “personality” is how people experience you. It’s your public persona.  But let’s dive in today’s discussion on character which leaves many of us with 2 fundamental questions:

1. What is “character?”

2. Why is “character” so crucial in your Christian marriage?

Character is who you are when no one is watching.  As church-going Christians, I tend to think in terms of how we treat our spouse and/or children when we are not at church?

You see, when you and your spouse met, you met each other’s PERSONALITIES. You showed your spouse and you were shown by your spouse your public personas. I’m not saying you tricked each other. It’s just your personality…how you display yourself to others.

But marriage, unlike other casual relationships lasts too long in too close quarters for anyone to sustain a public persona. Personalities eventually give way to an INNER SELF that gets revealed for the first time. And there you each stand, naked as if no one is watching. But someone is watching. Your spouse!  And that’s when you meet for the first time…again!

In most of our Christian marriages, this is what will definitely be the less romantic meeting.  Neither of you are charming each other’s friends, buying gifts for each other’s parents, smiling from ear to ear. No, this time it’s a meeting of your CHARACTERS.  In many cases, it’s not only that you’re meeting each other for the first time, but it’s that you’re meeting YOURSELVES for the first time.

Most people wouldn’t be caught dead treating anyone the way they treat their spouse sometimes. Most people don’t recognize their own behavior. “I’m just not myself with him/her.” Well then who is that person? That’s YOU…it’s your
character. (And your spouse meets their character.)

The reason so many people fail at marriage and an attempt at marriage renewal is NOT that they don’t like their spouse. It’s that they don’t like THEMSELVES.  And while everyone else in their life is like a mirror reflecting their personality; their spouse is a mirror reflecting their character. And most people don’t like what they see. Sometimes I know I do not.

Many people would rather choose to be with someone else than remain with their spouse and have to continue to be with themselves.

Marriage renewal and individual character development go hand-in-hand. If you want to improve one, you are working on the other too.

Challenge:  Take 5 minutes to reflect on the last time you encountered a ‘character” meeting in your Christian marriage.  Did you see anything in the mirror of your own character that needs some improvement?  Pray about it, share it with your spouse (if you feel comfortable), but ultimately work on it this week.

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