Feels good to get to the “covenant” marriage part after chapter 4 describing the pitfalls of a “contract” marriage. I can say with all honesty that it has been freeing to be in a marriage where we have a covenant and not a contract. I’ve had conversations with friends before who have complained about, what they deemed as, inequities in their marriages when it comes to how much they do and how much their spouse does and whether it’s “fair.” Or, the conversations with those who feel that because they did this thing for their spouse that they think their spouse should do this other thing for them. I actually remember having that very same mentality myself earlier in my marriage and I also remember how it led to resentment toward my husband when I felt he didn’t meet his end of the “contract.” I’m happy to say that I joyfully get up each morning and make a lunch for him to take to work – not because he asked me to, but because I want to. I’m also happy to report that my husband has taken on tasks such as cleaning up my slow computer and repairing things around the house simply because I mentioned having an issue with them once – not because I asked him, but because he wanted to. And, in all cases we don’t expect anything in return (servanthood). Friends, trust me when I say that loving and giving to your spouse because you WANT to, and not because you expect something in return, will truly bring you joy. And, it’s so worth it.
The intimacy chapter made my husband cringe (and there is much more in intimacy later on as well). “Intimacy” conjures the word “feelings” to him (and maybe to you??) and this was uncomfortable for him. When my husband and I were in marital counseling we were almost forced into an intimacy – sometimes a pretty uncomfortable intimacy. Now, as we reflect, we joke at times about how we were stripped “nekked” (we are in the south so that’s how we say it) in front of each other for the sake of really seeing and understanding each other. That helped us in many ways and we still strive to keep that “nekked” feeling (think vulnerable, trusting, honest) in all that we do and it’s literally saved our marriage. So, intimacy . . . yea, it’s vital to a healthy marriage.
Oh boy . . . the “getting to know yourself” chapters (and, yea, there are more of these to come). This is probably the hardest thing to do – to really look at yourself and see the good, the bad and the ugly. There are more chapters on this so I will save that for next time. But, I do encourage you to pay close attention to these chapters because if you can honestly see yourself (all facets of yourself) then you are much better able to understand why you interpret things differently from your spouse. And, by the way, that is totally normal. Like I mentioned in a previous post, we are all different and we all hear, see and understand things differently.
I’d love to hear about how you and your spouse live out a covenant marriage (or how you’re trying to). Please share!