Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Marriage is like an Alliance of Two Castles

I've always been a nerd for Medieval history. Whenever I study this era in history I think about all the complex alliances and perilous battles that the people of Europe experienced, as well as the errible diseases that nearly wiped some cities off the map.

This is probably not the way you are expecting me to start a blog post about marriage and dating. Well, what if I could tell you that marriage and dating is in a way very similar to Medieval times?

People are like castles. Through their own experiences, they build up their town (or personality) inside themselves. When people are with their friends, family, or partner, people tend to open the gates of their castle and allow these other people to come into their lives and shape their character. However, when people are hurt or defensive, people tend to shut the gates and keep people locked out of their life.

Marriage is the ultimate alliance of castles. It unites two people into one body. The castles' gates are open and their is free exchange of information and goods between each castle, allowing each castle to grow, thrive, and prosper. In a perfect marriage, people are extremely blessed through their sacrifice and teamwork with their mate. Yet, in many marriages people are so hurt by their mate, friends, family, or past experiences that they do not open their gates and they effectively shut their mate out of their life.

When we shut people out of our life and try to deal with bitterness and sorrow alone, we allow roots of bitterness to grow and infect our marriage and life, robbing us of our joy. Deep bitterness is like a plague that so commonly destroyed Medieval communities. Someone or something comes into the castle and brings an infectious disease with it. What can seem like something trivial at the time, like a harsh word, can spread like wildfire inside the soul of a person if they do not properly resolve their pain. Terrible experiences from childhood, negative actions by a mate, and other unresolved trauma can destroy a person from within.

With God and his word we can become freed of your anger! Ephesians 4:26 commands us to "not let the sun go down on our anger." Whatever hurt you are holding on to, you need to forgive and let it go. Forgiveness is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of strength. Forgiveness enables us to heal and begin a life freed from the pain of the past. 

Many times when people are hurt and dealing with bitterness, they close the gates, shutting out their mate. All communication is cut off and the infected castle slowly dies from within. While the disease spreads, the neighboring ally has a doctor with the cure that they can send to the other castle if they knew the other castle. The ally wants to help its suffering neighbor, but they cannot do that if they never know there is a problem and if the other castle will not open their gates.

When two people are in the alliance of marriage, it is truly required that the couple be completely open with each other, sharing all pain and all joy together. The gates need to be open at all times and communication needs to always be clear and unhindered. Couples need to tell one another about their past. Couples need to tell each other about their transgressions. In short, couples need to be completely open and honest with one another. When the gates are not open, we try to deal with our problems on our own when, in reality, God has give you a partner--an ally--to encourage you through your joy and pain. It is your calling as a spouse to actively want to lay down your own life for the betterment of your spouse. 

I've been through a lot of pain from various experiences in my life, including things Marisa has done to me. Marisa has been through a great deal of pain as well in her past, and has at times shut me out of her life like the infected castle that has its gates closed. With time, Marisa and all people with their gates closed can be encouraged to open their gates to their mate if the following 2 characteristics are seen in their partner:

1. The Ability and Desire to Listen: It's one thing to tell your partner that you care about them. It's another to have the ability to listen to their problems and troubles and empathize with them. Spouses must train themselves to listen like the way James encourages us: "Be quick to listen and slow to speak." Know that many times your opinion and advice is not wanted, simply your encouragement and understanding. If you want to give your mate advice, always remember that "a harsh word stirs up anger, but a gentle word turns away wrath." Never be harsh or tense with your spouse and NEVER assume that you really understand where they are coming from or what they experienced.

2. A Complete Place of Security: If your mate tells your something that is troubling them, it means they trust you. Do not turn around and use what they tell you as a dagger to stab them in the back. Open communication goes two ways and it is always assumed that if your mate tells you something troubling that it is confidential unless they give you permission to speak about the matter with other people. Mutual security in each other is the foundation of trust and honesty in a relationship.

The beauty in knowing that Marisa and my relationship is going to result in marriage, the ultimate commitment, is that our relationship allows me to practice patience, kindness, and gentleness with her. I've not always been perfect in this regard, in fact far from it! But I am learning through this commitment how to love and live just as Christ did. Every day we renew our commitment to keep our gates open and strengthen our alliance with one another in Christ!

I sincerely hope this post has blessed you and that you are learning something as Marisa and I blog about our journey together. We always look for feedback from our readers. If you have a response to one of our posts or you want to share your own story or advice with us, please comment below or email us at showinghearts@gmail.com. We love you and look forward to hearing from you!

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