Door #2 - Crisis
Many marriages are in crisis and few have a clue. We have become the frog in the kettle. But instead of dying, we have mastered surviving. The goal has shifted away from shared dreams, lasting love and true intimacy. The marriage in crisis now has a new plan and it goes unspoken.
When a marriage is in crisis, all the energy goes into avoiding the tough issues, skirting the pain and avoiding the mirror. But the crisis is not so much about what is lost as much as what has never been attained. Marriages in crisis settle for too little and, in turn, learn to live in a state of relational coexistence. When we surrender the goal of true intimacy in marriage, we settle for “staying together”. This is not to say that a marriage in crisis should consider shutting down, it’s to say that this marriage is primed for stepping up. But let’s get real honest with crisis marriages. We can share a couple kids, a common checking account, occasional sex, and the same bed, but not share in the exchange of intimate love. Becoming glorified roommates is a risk for any marriage. Marriage without intimacy is like ice-cream without the cream.
But it’s survival methods are destructive. When a marriage is in crisis, the downstream effects are horrendous. Something always has to fill the void when martial love has run dry. When what God intended to fulfill our soul’s need is left unmet, something or someone will slide right in. Pornography increases, mental fantasies flourish, kids become our emotional crutch, career becomes god, we find someone else to make us feel alive, hobbies take over our margin, and busyness creates enough noise to drown out the cry of our heart. Technology is the friend of crisis because it keeps us moving and won’t let us stand in front of the mirror–the goal is to not stop long enough to see anything as it truly is.
Crisis is a station in marriage that is unavoidable. We will all land in crisis for at least a short time. Every truly great marriage has gone through crisis, but we don’t have to stay there. Crisis is where the majority of us live, too much of the time. We have just enough of a mask up to prevent probing questions and we’re so accustomed to what we’ve settled for that we measure up fairly well, in our own eyes. But God has more…oh, so much more. So muster the courage to look long into the mirror. Embrace the pain of what you see, lift your eyes just enough to see both what you don’t want and also the vision from God of what could be. Here’s the wonder and beauty of staring intently into the mirror of life: When we stop to see what is in crisis, we’re strategically positioned for God’s power to be the leverage that begins to radically change things.
Here's some practical things you can do...
- Pray...And I mean pray. God can prepare hearts more than we could ever know.
- Believe God for great things. When we are at our end, God is now able to do something great.
- Read James 1:2-5. God is growing you in strength through this crisis.
- Break the ice with an honest conversation with your spouse.
- Pray for someone who can shoulder your situation with you and cheer for you.