I love marriage. I love the idea of marriage and the process of marriage.
But, marriage isn’t easy. It’s actually hard to have a good marriage.
One of the toughest verses in the Bible to obey is Ephesians 5:31, which says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
The process of blending two very different people is what causes stress to many marriages.
In my work with marriages, I’ve identified five of the major obstacles to making a great ONE out of two very different people. Sometimes simply understanding what obstacles exist and knowing they are common to most marriages—you are not alone—can help us learn to see them not as obstacles, but as God-given opportunities to grow a stronger “one flesh.”
The five major obstacles I have seen are:
Lack of biblical knowledge about marriage
There is very little premarital training in churches today or even in most homes that are raising children who will one day marry. When my boys got their driver’s licenses we sent them to four Saturdays of classes. How much training do most of us get for marriage? The fact is that most of us are somewhat surprised by marriage and we don’t really know how to make it work. We need to do a better job training people for marriage.
Differences in men and women
Men and women are designed differently by God—not just physically, but emotionally. We look at the world differently. We process information differently. We expect different things from relationships. We have wrongly tried to equalize everything when it comes to men and women. I strongly agree we need equality when it comes to things like workplace treatment or educational opportunities, but when it comes to matters of the heart, and especially marriage, we better know that God designed a difference in men and women.
Because of our differences, men and women communicate differently. Men tend to communicate thinking to thinking; while women tend to communicate heart to heart. One of the reasons Cheryl and I might have conflict is because I say things I intend for her mind to hear and it’s received with her heart. We need to remember that we communicate differently.