You are creative. You cannot be otherwise! You were made in the image of God, who by nature is the Creator. So creativity is built into you by design. That looks very different in different people. You may create art or music, but you may also create solutions to software problems, buildings that last, business structures, learning opportunities, children. And you can create in your marriage also.
When marriage becomes broken, hurtful, or mundane it’s hard to imagine past the pain to anything beautiful. You feel at the mercy of your spouse, or the emptiness or toxicity your relationship is swimming in.
But that is never the end of the story. As hopeless as things may seem, God’s very nature is to create beauty out of ashes. (Isaiah 61:3) And He always invites us to co-create with Him in that process.
Scientific research also shows that when couples face big problems but persist in working through them, the connection and satisfaction on the other side of those problems becomes greater than it ever was before. That’s both with external things (financial pressures, illness, etc.) and internal things (broken communication, infidelity, etc.).
A big step is to ask yourselves, What beautiful thing do you want to create in your marriage?
Creating in Your Marriage
When you raise your sights that way, it becomes much more than solving problems. You’re not only clearing the land of briars and thorns; you’re landscaping a beautiful garden. You’re not only removing the spines that harm each of you any time you get close; you’re building a relationship space that nourishes you both with life and joy.
There are three important pieces involved in creating anything of beauty in your marriage. Two half-people don’t make a whole when it comes to marriage. The two of you must each grow and mature and deal with your own stuff. You are not codependent on each other, or micromanaging each other’s journey. You each work directly with God to become the human being He created you to be.
And the third important piece is the relationship itself. This is where so much creativity can come in. You work on the “us-ness” of your relationship. The way you communicate, express intimacy, worship God, and bring yourselves as a couple to the world can become a unique demonstration of co-creating with God that blesses both you and others.
Discovering How to Create
That sounds good. But how do you do it? Some important steps:
Imagine. Individually, picture in your mind what you would like your marriage to become in, say, a year, or five years. This is not your spouse suddenly meeting all your needs. It’s what you want to create in your marriage as a couple, what you want your marriage to look like.
Dream Together. Unless your spouse has an evil heart, it’s important to dream together. Your individual desires for your marriage won’t be identical; that’s where talking about it and dreaming together becomes so creative. Imagine together what you want your relationship to be in a year, five years.
Get Help. Every single marriage is complicated by sinners; there are no other kinds of marriages on earth! Most of us need some outside perspective, support, encouragement, challenge, skills. Shame and old patterns of hurtful behavior don’t go away without a safe place to become seen and known – a knowledgeable pastor or counselor, a small group, a more seasoned couple to connect with, etc.
Take Small Steps. Anything of beauty takes time to create. A garden needs weeding, watering, sunlight, and time. Your individual souls and the relationship itself need tending and regular investment. The actions you take along the way are how you create.
Co-creating does not deny the reality of the mess. It will often take painful slow work to create something of beauty. But like ancient Japanese art of Kintsugi, the places in your relationship where mending was needed can become the most precious.
Beyond the Two of You
A word to those who feel this cannot apply to them. It does take two to create a marriage of beauty. God can miraculously transform anyone and anything – where He is given opportunity to do so. If your spouse has an evil heart there are times God releases you from your marriage. In marriage both you and your spouse get a vote, and not even God will override your spouse’s vote.
But don’t run away just because it’s hard. Both of you may feel hopeless about your marriage. That’s when you need some help. Don’t discount God’s ability to turn something horrible into something of beauty. And He invites you to partner with Him in that process.
When you do so, the impact goes far beyond you and your marriage. Whether others know the details or not, what your marriage becomes will be a thing of beauty that demonstrates to the world what can happen when two people devote themselves to co-creating, with God. Your marriage can make an impact far beyond the two of you.
And by the way, if you have children, the most impactful thing you can do for them is to demonstrate that you persisted in creating a marriage of beauty, even when it’s hard. That will mean much more to them than any words you say.
So, what thing of beauty do you want to create in your marriage?
Your Turn: Just that; what thing of beauty do you want to create in your marriage? Leave a comment below.
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