In a culture that perpetuates the lie that marriage is all about personal happiness, acceptance, and fulfillment, Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker Karen Ehman is calling couples back to God’s original plan for marriage — and sharing how the Gospel can help “incompatible” spouses love one another better.
“The notion we get from society that marriage is designed to meet our every need is wrong,” Ehman told The Christian Post. “If we go into marriage thinking it’s going to make us happy, it’s never going to end well. There’s a greater purpose to marriage than that. It’s about displaying the Gospel to a watching world, when they see you keep showing up, wiping the slate clean, asking for forgiveness, showing grace, and giving the benefit of the doubt.”
“It isn’t just pastors who deliver a sermon,” she added. “Your marriage is a sermon, and people are watching you preach. Do they see the Gospel?”
With over three decades of marriage behind her, the New York Times bestselling author shares time-tested lessons about how to make marriage work and why “incompatibility” can actually become the strength of a marital team in her new book, Keep Showing Up: How to Stay Crazy in Love When Your Love Drives You Crazy.
“In a way, I wrote this book for myself because my marriage has not been a walk in the park,” she admitted. “My husband and I are not compatible; our marriage counselor told us we had a five percent chance of getting married because of our extreme personality differences. If we can do it, others can, too.”
“I also wrote this book for those who have hit a rough patch in their marriage; not talking about serious situations or biblical grounds for divorce or abuse, but maybe they’re bored or think they’ve fallen out of love,” she continued. “I want to encourage them to do the hard work of showing up on a daily basis.”
In her book, Ehman highlights practical ways couples can play to each other’s strengths while working on their own weaknesses; unearth the magic in the mundane; and how to avoid the temptation to mimic a friend’s marriage.
“We’re so prone to comparison, and I think it comes from screens — not movie screens, but tablets and iPhones,” she shared. “We get this notion that what we see on the screen of wedded bliss is reality. You see your friends putting their best foot forward, and you compare it to what happens within your four walls. You begin to think there’s something wrong and that you married the wrong person.”
Despite what many well-meaning people suggest, the mother-of-three argued that the key to fostering a Gospel-centered marriage is far deeper than simply going on weekly date nights or yearly retreats.
“Those things are good, of course, but the thing that is actually going to put some excitement back into your marriage is finding your unique calling as a couple,” she shared. “Instead of looking at the social media lives of others, look at someone who is in pain, and find a way to serve them.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leah MarieAnn Klett