My Kingdom, my way - this was where my heart was Sunday. My husband took great strides over the weekend to serve me unselfishly. He made time for me to hike, he kept the kids busy while drawing a bath for me so I could listen to worship music and rest, and he listened to me while I talked about struggles I faced. And I loved it! Life was good because it was about me!
After church, he faced his own struggles and wasn’t able to continue to love me the same way, and I grew angry. Why? God revealed to me that the problem was that I was living/fighting for my kingdom and its purposes. In my kingdom, I am Queen and life is all about what I need and what I want. In my Kingdom, I see life through my lens, I grow angry when others hurt me. Have you ever fought this fight for your kingdom?
Paul David Tripp in his book What Did You Expect says we are all kingdom people who are constantly at war, fighting to defend our own little kingdoms. So often the conflict in marriage comes down to each spouse fighting for his/her own kingdom, his/her own way, he/she to be the ultimate ruler. In our self kingdom, our spouse is the problem. We don’t see our own sin, but their sin is glaringly obvious. We think, if only he/she would change, everything would be better. Tripp says, “When the war between kingdom of God and kingdom of self, which rages in all our hearts, is not being won, then we enter a marriage driven by little kingdom purposes.”
God’s purpose for marriage is to break us free from fighting for our little kingdoms. There is a reason he put two flawed, self-seeking people together into relationship, and that is to teach us about his grace. Marriage is meant to bring us to the end of ourselves so we can more fully know God’s love and commitment to growing us into BIG kingdom people.
“Real unity begins when a husband and wife quit trying to be sovereign over their lives. Real unity begins when a husband and wife quit trying to set the agenda for their marriage and begin, in practical everyday ways, to pursue God’s agenda together. Real marital unity begins when a husband and wife quit being kings and begin to willingly and joyfully submit to the plans, purposes, and call of the same King. The more each one individually loves and serves the King of kings, the more they will be drawn together, sharing one dream and its practical implications for their everyday life together. Prayer reminds you of a King greater than you and a kingdom better than your own.” - Paul David Tripp, What Did You Expect
Today, remember Jesus, who laid down his kingdom for the greater purposes of the kingdom of God:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross! -Phil. 2:5-8
Consider these questions taken from Paul David Tripp’s book, What Did You Expect? Take some time to discuss them with your spouse and pray - for prayer is the true way to acknowledge your great need for God's love and rule in your marriage!
"Whose kingdom shapes your marriage? What is it that you want so badly for your marriage to be? Could it perhaps be that what you thought was love was not really kingdom-of-God, other-centered, other-service love? Could it be that what you actually wanted was for that other person to love you as much as you do? Could it be that the troubles you face in your marriage, both big and small, are not so much hassles as they are opportunities? Could it be that just when you thought God had abandoned you and your marriage that he is really very near, giving you the best gift ever—transforming grace? This grace rescues you from the one thing that you cannot rescue yourself from—you. Reconciling your marriage begins when you begin to reconcile with God. It begins when you begin to pray this radical prayer: “Your kingdom come, your will be done, right here, right now in this marriage as it is in heaven.” Good things happen as the result of that prayer!"