Monday, April 26, 2010
Clarifying Marriage As Sanctuary
I feel the need to explain my comments from last Friday's post about marriage being a sanctuary. I understand not everybody feels this in their marriage and I can't say Kevin and I have always had it. My purpose in mentioning it is not to make anyone feel bad about their own relationships, but to point out what marriage CAN be. For me all the hard work and struggle is totally worth it if I'm shooting for sanctuary. Knowing what my relationship CAN be makes me persevere in the tough days.
Saying marriage is a sanctuary does not mean everything is roses and butterflies. Conflict still happens. Feelings still get hurt. Effort is still required from both spouses. But sanctuary is knowing THROUGH the difficulties there is confidence in your position with each other that never changes. Sanctuary is security.
Achieving sanctuary requires a mindset, a firm commitment separate from our emotions, a determination that no matter what, no matter how you FEEL, you will be there for each other. I know some will say, "I have that mindset, but my spouse doesn't." I'm a firm believer in the cyclical nature of marriage. If we consistently behave a certain way, CONSISTENTLY stay committed, the effect will rub off on the other. They'll eventually get it! When we were first married, I had this recurring nightmare where Kevin was placed in a room with a group of women of which I was a part and then told to pick one. I always woke up in a panic at the point where he was to make his decision. You think I questioned my position with him? Remember I called it a NIGHTMARE! But through the years he's CONSISTENTLY shown me he will pick me and I'm finally getting it. My fear is gone. He has made me feel like a priority, which makes me more likely to do that for him, which makes him feel important and return the favor which causes me to work harder for him. . .you get the idea. It only takes one person to get the ball rolling.
If you look at your own marriage this way and call it a sanctuary right now (despite the way it FEELS--I can't stress enough that this is not a feeling!), doesn't it well up in you a desire to protect it and fight for it and build up your relationship at all costs? If I think of my husband not as the annoying guy who never does any laundry, but as my SANCTUARY, I already honor him in my mind and start the cycle of improvement in our relationship.
Sanctuary is God's design for marriage. Why not point that out?! Some may worry I am setting people up with unrealistic expectations and I suppose that is a danger, but I'd rather think of it as giving others a reason to make it work. If we never give people the target, they'll never hit it.
Sanctuary is not endless bliss. It is a mindset, an attitude spurred by commitment, a sense of security. Hard to achieve? Absolutely. A condition reserved for a blessed few? Absolutely not.
Photo Credit: jcoterhals