Ernest Shackleton stood on the ice with the rest of his crew, watching his beloved ship as she was slowly crushed by the shifting ice. The cracks and groans of the wooden ship, their home for the past fifteen months, were heart-rending. Within minutes, the ship was crushed by the ice and disappeared, leaving the men standing on the coldest surface known to man in the middle of nowhere without any hope of rescue. They would have to find their own way back, surmounting incredible obstacles – unspeakable cold, lack of food, and a myriad of dangers as they went.
Today we’re going to tackle Obstacles to an Excellent Marriage. All of us come into marriage with obstacles, either of our own making, or obstacles that are put there by the Devil himself. Let’s take a few minutes to clear out some of the obstacles in our lives that may be preventing us from having marriages that are all that the Lord wants them to be.
1. Selfishness – “He should be taking care of me!” We often tend to think selfishly, wanting folks to cater to our wants and desires. Taking that attitude into marriage is can be quite a large obstacle.a. Solution: We need to be careful to examine our hearts and ask the Lord if there is selfishness rooted in our heart that He needs to remove. “Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes” Song of Solomon 2:15.2. Laziness – (an offshoot of selfishness) “I just don’t feel like putting any effort into it.”a. Solution: Realize that, without effort, your marriage will disintegrate. “By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through” Ecclesiastes 10:18.3. Fear – “I’m afraid I’m going to run out of _________” Fear is a very big and real foe. We can fill in that blank with one, or several of any number of things. We may think we will run out of love, or that we will not have enough energy. “I won’t have anything left for myself!” we think.a. Solution: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love” 1 John 4:18b. Always remember the widow’s pot of oil which kept on going as she was pouring it. Only when there was nothing left to do, did the oil stop.c. Remember that it is God who works through us, and He never runs dry! “For we are labourers together with God:” 1 Corinthians 3:9