Tom Smith from The House Modesto joined us for part 3 of our series “Feed The Monster: The Monsters of Marriage and Relationships.” Pastor Tom revealed to us why Paul warned us in 1 Corinthians 7:28 that “…those who marry will face many troubles in this life…” Most likely that is not the verse you want quoted on your wedding day. No one wants to receive this kind of word over his or her marriage. So why did Paul even mention it? If marriage was God’s idea (Genesis 2:18) then shouldn’t it be free of trouble?

The truth is, men and women have many differences. Therefore, becoming one through marriage takes time and dedication. Not only do men and women have distinct differences, but we are also in a constant state of change. How marriage worked in the 1950s is drastically different from how marriage works today. The advice used to be things such as, “When your man gets home, listen and respond to his needs,” whereas today it’s, “Listen to him, but don’t let him have the last word.” Last words become terminal words. Last words like, “I wish I never married you,” or “I’ll never forgive you for this,” are terminal and can lead to divorce. Proverbs 25:11 states, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.” One of the biggest differences between men and women is the way they communicate. It’s important to use words that invite communication such as, “I wonder if…” or “I hope we can…” The truth is, men and women are not mind readers. We must communicate openly in order for relationships to thrive.

The way men and women’s bodies function are significantly different from one another. A few of those differences are seen in their muscle mass as well as their brain function. A woman’s body is generally 20 percent muscle and a man’s body is generally 40 percent muscle. A woman thinks bilaterally, meaning she can access both sides of the brain simultaneously, whereas a man can only access one side of the brain at a time. Women tend to access the right side of the brain whereas men tend to access the left side of the brain. The right side is the emotional side of the brain and the left side is the factual side of the brain. Men speak the language of the head (facts) while women speak the language of the heart (emotions).  That’s why children tend to run to their mothers when they are hurt instead of their fathers.  Women are more nurturing and access the emotional part of their brain, causing them to comfort the child. Men will usually assess the facts of the situation and lecture their children on why they got hurt in the first place and how to stop it from happening again.

Another reason why Paul decided to warn us about the troubles of relationships is because men and women are motivated by and find significance in different things. Generally, men are motivated by praise and find significance in what they do, whereas women generally are motivated by security and find significance in maintaining the home. Ladies, if you want your husband to take out the trash, don’t nag him to do it. Let him see for himself that it needs to be taken out and then praise him when he takes it out. If the end result of taking out the trash is praise, then he will be motivated to take it out again and again. Men, if your wife feels secure (loved, valued, safe) with you, she will do anything for you.

Another cause for trouble in relationships is the pain of the past. When you get married, the pain of the past does not just disappear. Whatever you’ve experienced, good or bad, your spirit has also experienced. So, when you put both spirits together and haven’t dealt with your issues prior to marriage, it can cause some problems. The good news is that Jesus came to set us free and doesn’t want us to carry the burdens of our past.

Women often struggle with pain of the past even after God has forgiven them and they’ve forgiven those who have hurt them. Why? Because they don’t understand what the enemy has sown in their lives, and because women are nurturers at heart they often times nurture things that need to be neutered.  Matthew 13:24-25 explains the scenario perfectly: “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.” The enemy has sowed tares in our hearts throughout our entire lives and it’s time to cut those things off. We can no longer nurture the things of our past because it’s not what we were created for.

1 Peter 5:6-7 states, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” God invites us to cast our cares on him, to throw down the things that we care about. “Care” in the Greek means, “the things that you are anxious and concerned about.” You are so valuable to God that he wants you to throw down things that make you anxious, but you have to choose to throw it down. God has no problem in making the things that are bothering you leave you alone. His problem is getting you to throw them down. When we surrender the pain of our past to God instead of nurturing it, the enemy loses his authority to taunt us with it.

When we surrendered our lives to Jesus, we became new and we were seen without blemish. We must do the same with our marriages. If we surrender our marriages to Jesus we allow Him to renew our marriage spirit. What we came in with can be made new. God cares about us so much that he doesn’t see us in our mess. He’s sees us in our freedom and will do anything for us to walk in it. In fact, He’s already done everything, and now is the time to receive it!