It can be said that marriage is a series of rounds fought by combatants, managed by corners, monitored by a referee and viewed by an audience. Each factor add have a different affect on each combatant, sometimes bringing about the best in each, and other times, arousing the worst in each. Though all pieces should lead to a fair bout, too often we have found that the pieces lead to points deducted.
Each day; the two are placed in a ring to exchange thoughts, ideas, plans and procedures on how to approach life and the direction of the family. Each decision requires each participant to weigh options, using skills and strategies to emerge from each round. A sad reality of many marriages, is the misunderstanding of the fight, and the opponent. Where as both individuals are in the ring, they are on the same team fighting as a unit, not as combatants.
In the ring, one challenge that often strains the relationship is: 1. A Battle of Wills. The battle of wills refers to the desires, goals and plans of each fighter. Keep in mind, there are three in the ring; the man, the woman, and the adversary. In the effort to win, the man and woman must fight as a unit, realizing that there are many plans of a man that seem right, but only one way that of the Lord will succeed. Each partner must determine to not accomplish their wills, but submit to the will and plan provided by their corner (Yes, the Lord!). It is the couple that can stay focused on the instructions from the corner that will eventually emerge victorious.
The second portion of strain is: 2. Submission. Submission is a major part of a successful relationship. Each person must choose to place themselves last and the other as first; seeking to serve and not to be served. Submission requires each person, not just the woman, to deny oneself, determined to keep the peace, while following the image of Christ to victory. It one part is not submissive to the other, then success is unlikely because the same body will be following two plans.
Another challenge to a peaceful relationship is: 3. Goal of the Fight Vs Family. Often in a fight, combatants become so keyed in on a victory that they loose sight of the goal of the fight. The goal of each fight is to win the bout, but many fighters loose the fight fighting wild and free, forgetting the rules and the game plan seeking a Knock Out. Many marriages have been destroyed from one to two words that were placed so perfect that the fight was stopped even without the count from the referee. The goal of every fight is to win the spiritual war and to advance the family. Combatants must remember that the team (family) is at stake each time they enter the ring. Each time one punches below the belt or acts without considering the team, their reckless behavior inflicts wounds upon ones self that often end careers and empties corners.
One other key factor is: 4. Ignore the Crowd. Ignoring the crowd is key in that it is louder than the corner, but not always wiser. Often combatants find themselves fighting a fight that is directed by those who have either never fought, or not been victorious. Taking said advice can leave one with their hand raised in victory, but their head hung in defeat and other times, their chest stuck out in pride, but parallel to the ceiling in defeat. Hearing boxers punch themselves out of a fight seems impossible, but the crown can force a fighter to exert so much energy in one round that it is unable to fight in the ones to come.
In this, we find the need to: 5. Listen to the Referee. In the divine marriage, the referee is the Holy Spirit who holds each fighter accountable to the rules given by through the Word. During the fights, one must submit to one another and yield to the Holy Spirit who seeks to make sure each punch thrown is within the rules given. Opponents are allowed to fight, but are not allowed to destroy and or take the life of another. The referee makes sure that even in the heat of the moment, mercy is present and lives are preserved. Life is still precious even in a fight, and must be placed above the ego and above the emotional state of those fighting.
Lastly, we must: 6. Listen to the Corner. The corner is important because it helps with the game plan, with helps each fighter avoid confusion and emerge victorious. As the fight ensues, the battle within can cause one to loose a fight that they should win. The corner brings wisdom to each fight that will allow the combatants to adjust to the game plan of the adversary. Because they watch from the side, they are able to break down the strategy and formulate a strategy that will allow for success. In addition, the corner is able to reveal to the fighter how each person (hand) can be used to win. There are times when the jab is the key to victory and times the hook is just what the doctor ordered. The corners job is to make sure that the fight is balanced, that defense is used, and that each partner is able to be used in the most effective way to achieve victory for the team!
Time has shown that it is not always the strongest fighter that wins, but the one who is the wisest and most skillful in their approach to the fight. If marriages are to survive, we must find the ability to not only love like God loves, but use the wisdom provided by His Word to govern our affairs in such a way that we are constantly building on the foundation of love that exist.