Why is marriage so much WORK?

Don’t you long for the days when it was easy? It was so easy to love him back in the early days. . . before you really knew him. Back then you were soul mates. No two people were made for each other like you two. You knew just what to do to please him, and he understood you better than anyone else in the whole world. And you shared your innermost feelings and secrets with him. . . and now, it’s like living with a stranger.

Well, I hate to tell you, but you didn’t really know him back then. The longer you know him, the more difficult it becomes to look past all the things that you … now know! And you don’t really love him much now, unless you’re willing to love the whole him – mistakes, failures, imperfections, and all. And, it’s okay to acknowledge that you don’t love him like you should.

Women have to LEARN and WORK at loving their husband. And it’s hard WORK to LOVE and be intimate with a man that you don’t really know. It certainly doesn’t come as easily as loving your children! And yet, your heart craves and yearns for closeness and intimacy with your husband. And that’s the purpose of this blog – to help you learn to love your husband.

So, let’s get to WORK! If you believe the Bible (and you do, whether you know it or not – so, just trust me on this), work is rewarding, so much so, that God had to institute a day of rest, because without it, we would find so much satisfaction in our six days of work that we would just keep going on the seventh. So, God said, put away your tools for one day, and let’s just rest together. At least, that was before the curse.

You remember the curse, don’t you? When rebellion, disobedience and sin entered the picture, a destructive element was added to perfection – a curse that made work harsh, toilsome and painful. You can read all about it in Genesis 3. It’s not just a clever story to explain the world; it’s not an allegorical tale; this story is either true, or it’s all false. In that truth, there is wisdom that has power to help you understand life, and give you a purpose for living, and to give you strength to persevere in troubled times.

According to Genesis, in the beginning, marriage was a gift of God, meant to bring intimacy, contentment, joy, companionship, and help. But, along with rebellion and sin, came the WORK of marriage. Now, work and marriage seem to go hand in hand. Now, there is painful toil, misunderstanding, hurt, confusion, and yet the woman’s desire shall be for her husband, who ultimately is the source of harsh, painful toil, a seemingly vicious cycle.

If you read Genesis 1-3, you will find that woman was given as a gift to man so that he would not be alone, a helper that was formed from his very flesh, a bond that continues to cause man to crave the company of woman, even if there doesn’t seem to be a reason that he really needs her. They were designed to be as close as one flesh, and there was no shame or barrier to their intimacy.

After humankind rebelled against the Word of God, a curse was pronounced, and for woman, it was:

I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you. Genesis 3:16 NIV

Not only is childbirth painful, but the whole cycle of hormonal changes that occur in the life of a woman is painfully challenging. Every day, it’s a brand new day, and a brand new you – like it or not! And yet, through it all, we have a deep need and desire for our husband to love us, cherish us, understand us, accept us, and embrace us – for who we are (or who we happen to be on any particular day), even though it is painful – and a lot of WORK.

Our pre-epidural grandmothers knew all too well the price of the piper. Each knew that in exchange for loving her husband completely and intimately, she had a long, harsh labor to endure before the final push brought a climactic joy that eclipsed all pain, as her love for that babe turned her desire yet again. . . to her husband. . . the source of her pain. It was a vicious cycle that demonstrated quite literally the truth of Genesis 3:16 — the price for intimacy is harsh, painful labor.

And yet, with the promise of Christ and His redemptive work on the cross, there is a promise of a new Sabbath of rest for those of us who accept and believe it. There is a promise of intimacy that doesn’t bring pain, joy that is unspeakable, unity that brings pleasure, and a love that endures and is greater than faith and hope.

Are you willing to WORK hard for your marriage? Are you willing to get your hands dirty? Are you willing to sweat and grunt and groan like the Biggest Loser contestants as you get yourself in shape to enjoy this great gift of marriage?

Join me again as we explore how we can WORK on ourselves and our marriages. And if you want to do some additional research, I’ll post some of the verses and the Hebrew definitions that might help explain in greater depth the WORK of marriage.

You can do it!


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Won Without Words by Shari Popejoy is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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