A guest blog from Bruce McCracken, founder of House on the Rock Family Ministries. Over the years, Bruce and his wife Karen have spoken at Sandy Cove couples weekends and served as life coaches at Summer Together Family Camp. They also hold “Marriage Intensive” weekends at Sandy Cove throughout the year, to assist couples in crisis. You can learn more about Marriage Intensives here.
We do Marriage Intensives at the Marriage Hub…and many of our struggling couples come thinking that we have some new undisclosed information…a magic wand to wave…or secret sauce that will fix or heal their marriages. I tell them that if I had any of those things, I wouldn’t be sitting here. I would be sailing in my yacht or lounging on some tropical island paradise.
Instead I tell them of my quest to lose some weight. I went to the gym hoping the same things our couples hope for…an easy solution…a painless way to drop the pounds. Instead, the trainer said this is going to be hard as he picked up a set of dumb bells…and started working me hard. I was sore. I was tired. I wanted to quit. But when I started to see the results, the work became worth it and much more tolerable.
We all know that it’s true: anything worth having is going to take sacrifice, commitment and a lot of hard and potentially painful work to achieve. The problem is that we live in a culture that tells us the exact opposite by saying things like: "If it’s real love, then you shouldn’t have to work at your marriage.” Really? I believe marriage is not only worth the effort but requires some heavy lifting. Here are 5 benefits to doing the hard work in your marriage.
1. Hard work reveals and adds value.
We work hard at the things we want to see grow and prosper. We don’t waste time and energy on things that we don’t value. So a willingness to do the heavy lifting in your marriage is a sign that you treasure your relationship with your spouse. You are ready and determined to knuckle down and invest more effort which will deepen your commitment to strengthening your marriage.
2. Difficulty builds endurance and strength.
At the gym, my trainers believe the more weight and repetitions they add to my exercises…the stronger I will become. The exertion it takes to do this programmed hard work makes me stronger and burns more calories. The same is true in our marriages. It takes some planned and programmed hard work to help our marriages get stronger.
3. We protect the things we work hard for.
The more blood, sweat, and tears you invest into your marriage, the more fiercely you want to protect that investment. It’s more difficult to walk away from a marriage that you have poured so much time and energy to build. It is worth fighting for!
4. Diligence strengthens character.
When you’re pushed to what you think are your limits…and you experience a breakthrough…you feel euphoric. You’ve not only gotten physically or mentally stronger…your character has grown too. You see that your desire and determination are two key ingredients to success in any arena of life. Remember the admonition in James to be thankful for the trials that come your way. God is using them to build you into His likeness.
5. Heavy Lifting produces results
When you hear and see and do your exercises properly, you will see the results on the scale and in the mirror. When you learn how to positively work through the challenges in your marriage…you will notice that your commitment and communication are getting stronger. You might also notice that there is more openness, connectedness and intimacy growing too.
So don’t shrink from the challenges that your marriage will bring…instead make the commitment to do the hard work it will take to produce the relationship that both of you are longing for!