After the series I recently wrote dealing with codependency in friendship, a few people presented a very natural follow up question: If codependency isn’t ok in friendships, then should it be ok in marriage?
Remember, I’m defining codependency as tying your emotional sense of well-being to another person. To say it another way, it is giving more weight and importance to a person than to God. Assuming this definition, then codependency is NEVER ok. Even in marriage.
Unfortunately, codependency in marriage is an assumed reality for many. The truth is, most of us struggle to believe God is enough for us, so we are continually looking to people to make us feel ok. Because of this, a marriage can become a place where we finally feel like being codependent is acceptable. We hope, like the movies have portrayed, that we can bank on this person to fill the deepest parts of our longings and be the one on whom our general sense of wellbeing rests.
“When we are completely immersed in a society of people who consider a particular idolatrous attachment normal, it becomes almost impossible to discern it for what it is.” –Tim Keller
The culture around us is like a current, gently pushing us along according to its philosophies. Unless we are regularly clinging to the Truth and taking our thoughts captive to obey Christ (2 Cor 10:5), we will mindlessly drift along with this worldly current. This is why Paul encourages us to “see to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Col 2:8)
There is a new trend that seems harmless on the surface, but it is anything but safe: the romanticizing of friendships. Though you may not have noticed this shift, it is very present. Just do a quick search of “best friends” or “BFF” on pinterest or google and here are a few things you will find:
“Friendiversary: anniversaries aren’t just for lovers anymore.”
“20 Best Friend Date Ideas.”
I love Revive Our Hearts. God has used this ministry to change my life and bring peace to my heart through the teaching of the Word of God. I have yet to find a better ministry dealing with Biblical womanhood in such a God-centered, balanced, and humble way.
A few months ago I was surprisingly given the opportunity to become a contributor to the Revive Our Hearts blog, called True Woman. (Umm… to say I was excited is a serious understatement.) What a sweet gift this has felt like from my Heavenly Father to allow me to write for a ministry that is so dear to my heart and has been so precious in my own walk with Him.
Sooo… in light of all that, I’d love for you to check out my first post on the True Woman blog titled The Best Marriage I Never Wanted. While you are there, take some time to read a few other posts or listen to some of the radio programs.
Here’s a excerpt from my post:
I married a humble, godly, romantic man at twenty years old. Did I mention he just happens to have a phenomenal voice and is a gifted songwriter? He writes me songs, loves Jesus like crazy, and because of his music career, we’ve traveled the world together. Every girls’ dream, right? Yet, exactly two weeks into marriage, I wrote this in my journal:
“Why am I so unhappy? So scared and confused?”
Surprised? I was too. Let me explain.
“Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” ~Jesus, Matthew 23: 32-33
You’d think these words were said to a murderer, or a sexually perverted or promiscuous person, or a thief. But no, Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders of the day.
Wait, did you catch that… Jesus’s harshest words of judgment are to the religious leaders of the day. This should cause the ears of this religious church girl to perk up and listen. Why such harsh words? And what did these religious people do to merit such severe judgment? And how do I make sure I am truly following Jesus and not the path of these anti-Jesus religious people? These are questions I should have asked in my early years of following Jesus.
Even though I fell in love with Jesus early in my life, there grew an inward bent of my soul, slowly and stealthily, that was hardly noticeable. I’m not sure exactly how it started. Maybe it was the subconscious joy I found in the acclaim of people in being such a “good Christian.” Maybe I couldn’t help but notice how much “better” I was than my peers. Somewhere along the way, I began to delight in my good works more than the work of Jesus. My heart started to reflect that of a Pharisee more than Jesus.
The Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18:9-14)
No matter how it started, a root of pride began to grow in my heart and for years it was watered with the praise of others and my own comparison to my peers. I became really good at “being a Christian.” In the morning, I trusted my ability to have a good quiet time and memorize scripture. In the evening, I found peace in my “maturity” to worship with hands raised. I no longer needed Jesus as my savior. My good deeds had become my functional savior. I knew the right words to say, the right things to do to look like the best Jesus-follower out there.
“I think he might be the one!”
Aren’t we all waiting to get to that moment in a relationship? There is this concept that has been propagated through an abundance of romantic comedies as well as our American Christian culture that we all have one perfect soul mate out there somewhere. But I want to propose that this idea of “the one” is a myth and is an idea that is actually bringing more harm than good to those who embrace it.
First, let’s talk about what I mean when I say “The One.” There is a right way and a wrong way to view this. As Christians, we know that Psalm 139 says “all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Because God is aware of what will happen throughout the course of our life, he obviously knows who we will marry if we get married. This is 100% Biblical and a correct way to think. If this is how you see “the one,” then this article is not for you.
But there is another, more common way that “the one” is viewed that is not Biblical. It defines “the one” as the singular other human on the planet who can complete you, satisfy all your longings, and the only one with whom you can have a successful marriage. We see this concept in movies like Jerry Maguire (the famous “You complete me” line), and Twilight (“You’re my only reason to stay alive.”). This concept of “the one” is what I am addressing in this article. The idea of hoping in one person to complete and satisfy you might not seem that bad on the surface, but underneath it results in numerous problems in marriage and singleness.
Before I get into my topic for today, I wanted to give you a brief update on my blog. Because I think it is incredibly important to be purposeful in everything you do, I recently wrote about the purpose of my writing and this blog. You can check it out here: “No Apologies.” In that post I had asked for any topic suggestions or questions that you had for me. After reading through the responses I received, I’ve decided to write about some of those things in the coming weeks. Here are some posts to be on the look out for:
- Becoming a Jesus-Follower: My testimony
- A Day in the Life: My life being married to a recording artist
- The Sabbath: The forgotten command
- Sharing Your Faith: How to live a lifestyle of evangelism
- How to Encourage Others Effectively
- Dating & Marriage: The purpose of romance in the believer’s life
For today however, I wanted to write about the powerful influence of a woman. I am currently reading through 2 Chronicles and am greatly enjoying it! I have learned so much through studying the history of the Israelite people in Kings and Chronicles and strongly encourage you to read straight through these books if you never have. (This is actually my first time to read straight through them!)
Chapter 21 describes the reign of King Jehoram, the son of Jehoshaphat, grandson of Asa. Jehoshaphat, though not perfect in his reign, was known for how he sought after the Lord. He was humble and trusted in God in moments of adversity. And Asa, his grandfather was also a man who sought after the Lord and trusted God in hard times. With such a rich spiritual heritage, I expected Jehoram to follow in their footsteps. But to my surprise, this chapter starts out with Jehoram killing all his brothers as soon as he became king. It doesn’t even give a reason why he did this. He also led the people of Judah astray by enticing them to worship other gods (v. 11). So what happened to Jehoram? How did a guy with such a great start to life turn out so bad?
Twelve-twenty a.m. is probably way too late to be starting a blog, but I can’t seem to get this topic off my mind and have been aching to write about it for a couple months now. (Thank you faithful blog readers for your patience by the way.) So give me grace as I work through this topic in an exhausted yet caffeinated state of mind.
Jimmy & Lively
I love being a wife and a mother. Investing in a family is what I have always wanted to do with my life. I consider it my primary ministry to serve these two wonderful blessings pictured to the left. I am constantly researching ways I can improve in these roles, whether it be learning how to help my teething daughter or how to create a more welcoming atmosphere for my husband to come home to. This is my job and I love it! But to what end am I seeking excellence in these roles? Is it because that’s what I’m supposed to do? Or because Scripture calls me to consider others as better than myself? I know that God values my roles as wife and mother, so maybe that is why I am supposed to strive to be good at them. Maybe it’s simply because I love my husband and daughter and serving them is a natural response.
Though all those things are good reasons, there is still a greater end than this. It is simply and decidedly the GLORY OF GOD. The end goal of excellence as a wife and a mom should be THE GLORY OF GOD. I know this sounds like your classic Sunday school answer, but don’t check out. What does it really mean to do something for the glory of God? The Word glory literally means “heavy” or “weighty” in the Hebrew. To bring God glory means to give weight to Him, in a positive sense. If something is weighty, you don’t take it lightly. Rather, you have to seriously consider it and deal with it. In the same way, by bringing God glory, I give weight to Him and cause others to take Him more seriously and to have a more positive view of Him than they did before. This is bringing glory to God. And this is the reason I should seek to be excellent in my roles as a wife and a mother.