Second-Guessing In Marriage

Steve Arterburn

At some point, almost every man feels incompatible with his spouse. During those times, most men secretly wonder if they should’ve married someone else. They harbor that secret from their wives for fear of hurting them. But truth be told, from time to you’re your wives probably entertain similar thoughts.

 

The real news here isn’t that people sometimes wish they’d married someone different; it’s that they’re misdiagnosing the issue at hand and the challenge it requires of them. Everybody goes through difficult periods in marriage. At times everybody feels like throwing in the towel. And if you want to know the truth, everybody’at least in one sense’did marry the wrong person!

While teaching a marriage course at Notre Dame, a professor used to give his students one absolute: you always marry the wrong person. ‘It’s a reversible absolute, though,’ said Hauerwas, ‘You always marry the right person. The point is we don’t know who we are marrying.’

Professor Hauerwas is right. The knowledge you have of your spouse on your wedding day is unavoidably incomplete. Furthermore, both of you will change and develop over the course of your lives. Consequently, neither person knows exactly what the promise they’re making to one another will entail. The promise is bold, challenging, and ripe with reward.

Therefore, rather than ask if you’ve married the wrong person, try asking how you can learn to better love and care for the person you’ve married!

Narrow Path To Living Water

Men, God doesn’t have a giant roulette wheel in the sky that determines our destiny. Nether are we subject to fate. Our lives are governed and guided by the merciful will of God, and His plan for us is one of blessing.

 

Blessing, of course, doesn’t mean the absence of suffering or conflict. For God brings these events and circumstances into our lives in order to facilitate growth and maturity. God will certainly give us what we need amidst them, and what He wants to give us most is the blessing of Himself. He longs for each of us to know intimately that a loving relationship with Him is sweeter, and more valuable, than anything else possible.

 

As God restores our souls, He also purifies our desires. He wants us to stop taking detours into the world’s glittering paths of possessions, power, and superficial pleasure. He wants us to stay on course and continue to move toward Him.

 

The narrow path leads us to Living Water’pure and deeply satisfying to our thirsty souls. I know this from experience. Even though the refining process is marked by periods of pain, I have found that knowing God is the only thing in the world that I truly desire. When my heart is right with Him, all of my other joys will follow. This, then, is my prayer for you. That you will walk the narrow path that leads to the Living Water. 

DipSea

There is a race that starts in San Anselmo, California, tracks over the north bay-area’s most famous hill, Mount Tamalpais, and finishes at Stinson Beach (about 7.1 miles). For over 90 years this race has been in existence and known to be one of the most challenging hill races on the west coast. The DipSea Race has a long history of respect and it is an honor to be invited to participate in the race.

The course begins in the small town at sea level, just below 671 stairs. From the top of the stairs a runner will then proceed to climb and climb and climb to just over 1300 feet above sea level. In the accent, there are numerous hill challenges to conquer. Some of those hill challenges have been given the most daunting and haunting names (such as Cardiac, Windy hill, Suicide etc’). Then after the long push upward the decent is seemingly a welcomed process. But, as in the accent, the decent has numerous names (such as Insult) that would cause a reasonably sane person to reconsider or avoid such complexity overall.

For eight months I have been training to run this race. And two months ago I applied, hoping to be invited. Yes, training began long before I even applied to be in it. The race will contain about 1300 racers, of which only about 500 are invitation spots. The other spots are for those who ran the race last year and received a significant time qualifying them to race again.

I have thought about entering the DipSea race for over eight years and now see that the last eight months of training to possibly participate in the race has been a spiritual journey for me too.

Running a good race is beyond ‘pacing yourself.’ It truly is about appropriate physical training and mental conditioning. As referred to earlier, the names of the challenging spots on the course are for a reason. One would be a fool not to look into the course and see why these multiple areas are referred as ‘the valley of shadow of death.’

It has been my experience in life that there are many opportunities to participate in races. For example, job opportunities, church activities, and leadership positions are all types of races. But in my training and process of life I have found it profitable to first recognize whether or not I was at all emotionally and spiritually fit to perform such a task. To take an opportunity that would have life implications towards others without considering my true grounding status can lead to disasters not only for myself but my family and those whom I would serve. So I find it wise to ask, Can I take that hill? And once I get to the top of the hill, can I come down the other side with the same endurance? The honor to be asked to participate in a life race is ego-boosting; however, if I have not done prep-work to increase strength in areas that need attention, such as sexual integrity, then I risk damage in a variety of ways.

When I enter any race if I have not prepared and primed myself physically and mentally for what is before me I will become a hindrance for those who are racing along side me. I must even prepare myself for future ministry so that if and when a potential situation occurs I can approach it grounded and in the best possible shape to discern what decision needs to be made.

Entering the race to heal from sexual addiction is about training and conditioning. There are hills that will pose challenges to work through but they are definitely ones that can be conquered. And yes there are names for some of the challenging hills and valleys that can cause a runner to turn away and not face the opportunity for success. But once through those challenges, you can come out a stronger and grounded man of God.

All the training for the last few months may seem to be a waste if not accepted. However, at this point it is no longer about being accepted, but being prepared for it. And if accepted into the race the next task is to perform strong enough to be automatically brought back to try the hills next year. Irregardless, a large degree of the training and conditioning over the last eight months has made me stronger and more confident in a variety of areas.

Join the race; you don’t have to face that hill of your sexual addiction alone. And if you think you can do that race alone, you are heading for some results that will not play out well. Consider attending Every Man’s Battle as a start to your training for sexual integrity. At the EMB conference you will be challenged and you will have the opportunity to become cognitively, emotionally, and spiritually fit to take that race on.

Also see our Resources for Men.

Martin Fierro