Character of Marriage - Courage2

COURAGE TO FACE MYSELF

The character of courage in a marriage starts with the courage to marry. True courage in marriage includes the courage to face my own "stuff" in marriage.

[see the first part of Character of Marriage-Courage]

The courage to face myself and my contribution to the problems I have in my marriage may be the hardest part of marriage.

It means that I have to quit blaming the problem on my spouse, my past, or my job. Regardless of who I am married to and how that person acts, I can respond in a godly way. I don’t have to attack back when I feel attacked.

Regardless of my past, I can see the power of God’s Spirit transform me, so that I don’t have to repeat the unhealthy patterns and habits of my parents.

No matter what the people I work for or that I work with do, I can do my job with integrity and honesty and wholeheartedly, and not neglect my family.

When there is conflict in any area of my life, I can ask God to show me what the issues of my heart are in the situation.

Psalm 139:23-24 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
It takes courage to face the fact that I may be angry at my spouse because of the hurt from my parents. I may have unrealistic expectations of the people around me because I never felt like I measured up. So, I have high expectations for myself and for those around me.

It takes courage to ask my spouse what she/he sees in my life that is damaging our relationship. And when she answers, I don’t get defensive, blame others, or attack back.

It takes courage to take responsibility for emotional mood swings, irritability, anger, or erratic behavior. Then more courage to ask for forgiveness and ask God to help you change in that area.

"It takes more courage to reveal insecurities than to hide them, more strength to relate to people than to dominate them, more 'manhood' to abide by thought-out principles rather than blind reflex. Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles and an immature mind."  Alex Karras

When we ask God to show us what our part is God doesn’t beat us down with condemnation. In fact, He says in Romans 8:1, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
But God is faithful to stick with me and help me work through those difficult times.

“Courage is not limited to the battlefield or the Indianapolis 500 or bravely catching a thief in your house. The real tests of courage are much quieter. They are the inner tests, like remaining faithful when nobody's looking, like enduring pain when the room is empty, like standing alone when you're misunderstood.” Charles Swindoll

He will give me the courage if I move towards Him rather than trying to figure it out on my own or moving away from Him. He says that we can conquer the hard parts of life.

Later in chapter 8, (verses 31-32, 35, 37-39) What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? …..  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? …… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The more I press into the Lord, the more He strengthens me. Then the more courage I have. Even Epicurus, the Greek philosopher, recognized the link between courage and facing difficulties. He said "You don't develop courage by being happy in your relationships every day. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity."

Victor Hugo, a French novelist, who wrote Les Miserables, said, "Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake."

Character of Marriage - Courage

During the days of dating and engagement, not many couples look at whether the other one displays courage. We usually think of courage in regards to situations of physical danger. We rarely think of the courage in terms of how to relate to each other.

The dictionary defines courage as "The state of quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger with self possession, confidence, and resolution. 'Courage suggests a reserve of moral strength on which one may draw in time of emergency.'"

THE FIRST COURAGE OF MARRIAGE
One of the greatest steps of courage is to get married, to make that commitment.

It doesn’t take a lot of courage to make a promise, but it takes a lot of courage to keep that promise.

It doesn’t take a lot of courage to have fun with someone, but it takes a lot of courage to continue to initiate fun with that person when they have hurt you.

It doesn’t take a lot of courage to find someone that you want to sleep with; it takes a lot of courage to commit to love her even if she physically is unable to meet your sexual needs.

It doesn’t take courage to follow someone into sin, it takes courage to stand firm in following what God wants for you both.

For a marriage to be great and all that God has in mind for us, we must have courage.

Real courage is needed to face those small, everyday, and sometimes trivial events of marriage - to respond with courage when it is tough and to not give up.

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow.’” Mary Anne Radmacher

GODLY COURAGE

Biblical courage is not the result of self-reliance or self-confidence. Biblical courage is the result of surrender and sovereignty - our surrender to God's sovereignty, and our trust in God's strength, not in our own.

In the Old Testament, 11 times, God tells his people, “Be strong and courageous.”

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

In the New Testament, Jesus encourages those who encounter Him with the admonishment, “Take courage!”

Matthew 14:27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Mark 6:50 because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Acts of courage often bring a lot of publicity. Godly courage  can draw extraordinary attention.

Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

Jesus gave us examples of extraordinary courage. Peter and John showed courage, after Pentecost. God says we can have that kind of courage as well.

1 Corinthians 16:13 Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.

One of Paul’s deepest desires was to have the courage to glorify Christ.

Philippians 1:20 I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.

That “reserve of moral strength on which one may draw” comes from Him and because of Him.

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear." Ambrose Redmoon

[More posts to come on courage in marriage in the days to come]