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'Winging It

    by Stan Smith

The Fulfilling Marriage
Date Posted: May 15, 2024

What do you look for in a spouse? Is he right for me? Is she good looking? Is he successful? Is she funny? Will he support me? Will she support me? Men and women may have some differences in what they're looking for, and individuals may vary even more widely, but there is, I think, at the bottom a common core. "Will this person help me toward self-fulfillment?"

What do you want in a marriage? It probably looks fairly similar. Does he love me like he should? Does she give me what I need? Again, this stuff may vary, so perhaps the best place to look for an answer is in what kinds of thingsterminate marriages. At the top of the list are things like communication, finances, infidelity, unfulfilled expectations, lack of commitment, sexual incompatibility, and boredom. You know, "I don't have the things I want" or "she doesn't give me the respect and attention I need" or "he's not what I hoped he would be for me" or "she's not giving me the sex I need." Round that all up. "I'm not getting what I want or need." Hey, wait! That's self-fulfillment again, isn't it?

Contrast that with what the Bible says. "Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:22) "Husbands, love your wives as you love yourselves." (Ephesians 5:28) "Wives, be submissive to your own husbands." (1 Peter 3:1) "Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way ... and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life." (1 Peter 3:7) Strange thing. None of that sounds like "Seek your own self-fulfillment." Not a word. Sounds a lot more like self-sacrifice.

As it turns out, marriages predicated on and operated for self-fulfillment will almost certainly end up in frustration if not worse. On the other hand, the successful marriage is the marriage constructed on self-sacrifice. This successful marriage, ironically, will almost always produce self-fulfillment. It doesn't look that way from the outside, but that's the way it turns out.

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Biography Information:
Born and raised in a Christian home, I've been treated to immersion in the Word and squandered it. 'But God ...' I love the phrase. God has been faithful when I was unfaithful. At every turn He has crowded me to Him.

I'm married with four grown children and (currently) four grandchildren. My wife and I live in sunny Phoenix by choice. I hope to encourage people with my words and to share with others what God has shared with me.

For more writings you can see my blog at
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