Where is the fog in your life? Has a gray gloom drifted into your marriage? Has it chilled your closeness with your spouse? If someone were to ask you, “How’s your marriage doing?” Would you be tempted to say, “It’s OK,” while uncomfortably aware that it is not as OK as it should be? Is there a subtle haze of loneliness hanging between you and your mate and between the two of you and your children?
Or perhaps there is an all-out rebellion in your home. Your kids scream out or act out trying to get your attention. Your mate goes from whispering, to shouting, to silence, sometimes concluding in his or her isolation that the person he or she married is lost somewhere. And you wonder when the fog rolled in. When did your dream marriage begin to deteriorate?
We can tell you from our own experience that your hearts are under siege. A fog can blanket you with complacency, apathy, or resignation, and convince you that your marriage is good enough when it really hasn’t been that good for some time now. It may be an OK marriage, but it is far from the dream of marriage you two started out with.
You Can Win the Battle
As you come to grips with the reality of the assault on your marriage and family, you may be wondering, “Can I win this battle?” The answer is, “Yes, you can.” It doesn’t matter where you are in your relationship with your spouse and your children. It’s all about your heart. Where are you vulnerable and what do you do about it? Is your heart broken or out of tune with your family members?
You may be saying at this point, “Wait a minute! Our marriage may not be perfect, but it’s OK most of the time. Why would I want to stir up a hornet’s nest by going into battle for a better marriage?”
It all has to do with your legacy. Each of us is composing a letter with our lives that others around us—and those who come after us—will read. It’s your life story, your legacy. What do you want your story to reveal about you? How do you want to be remembered as a husband, wife, or parent? What do you want to say to the world—and more specifically, to your children and grandchildren—about love and marriage?
Solomon said, “The memory of the righteous will be a blessing” (Proverbs 10:7 NIV). Will future generations look back at how you and your spouse lived out your relationship and say, “What a blessing!”? You get to decide what your life and your marriage will say to others. You can coast along with an OK marriage, doing the best you can. Or you can draw a line in the sand and say, “No more. Our marriage and family will be shaped by truth, love, and grace in our lives.” Your choice will dictate the legacy you leave behind.
If you are like us, you desire to have a greater impact as a husband or wife and parent than you have had to this point. You want to be remembered as a man or woman who was sold out to loving and nurturing your mate. You want to be remembered by your children as being lovingly and actively involved in their lives. You want your friends, your coworkers, your players, your neighbors, your fellow church members, and anyone else within the sphere of your influence to note you as someone with crystal clear priorities:
A loving commitment to your spouse.
A loving commitment to your children.
It boils down to this: We need a plan for erecting strong boundaries around our hearts if we are going to protect them from invasion and contamination and destruction. We need to be on the alert, ready to live without regrets. We don’t want to waste our short time on earth pursuing dead ends, wrong turns, and aimless detours. We want a life that makes sense, a life that points toward a destiny beyond time. We desire a marriage and family relationship that, upon close inspection, may reveal plenty of mistakes but which is also rich with repentance, forgiveness, and grace.
Is this your heart’s desire as a husband or wife? If so, we want to coach you on how to guard your hearts and create a legacy worth remembering in your marriage and family. We call it guarding love. As you learn to guard your heart and the hearts of your mate and children, you will begin to recapture your marriage dream and to create a legacy that will enrich countless marriages and families around you.