The first principle Paul Tripp points out about marriage is that a "marriage of unity, understanding, and love is not rooted in romance, but in worship".
Consider this truth: All mankind was born for worship--not to BE worshiped, though don't we all think so at times, but TO worship another, namely our Creator. If you need a little convincing, ponder your experience of the most recent sporting event you watched or attended, an amazingly scrumptious meal or dessert you ate, or even a museum you walked through. It's likely either you or another were participating in inferior forms of worship...what the Merriam Webster dictionary would call the giving of "extravagant respect or admiration for or devotion to an object of esteem".
Worship is innate. It is something we were born to do. But, the object of our worship for which we were created is often replaced by lesser things.
Romans 1: 25 says, "They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised".
Daily, in some form, we make this exchange. We forget or deny that we were born to worship One and only One, and it's not ourselves.
What does this have to do with marriage?
There are many implications of this truth on marriage, but the one I'm going to focus on first is this: When we are not worshiping God, our Creator, giving our devotion and respect and ultimate admiration to God, we can assume that in some way we are worshiping ourselves. I am tempted a gazillion times a day to take God off the throne of my heart and put myself in His place, mindful only of what I want, what I need, what I feel. When that happens, there's bound to be marriage problems.
Here's one example of what it looks like for me...
My hubby comes home from work and I am tired from a full day of homeschooling, running errands, doing housework, breaking up sibling squabbles. I am not interested in serving another person. I've served all day. At that moment, I am really not thinking about anyone else's needs or desires or feelings other than my own. And, boy am I acutely aware of my own. I describe them in vivid detail almost every evening to my husband.
I want my husband to come in and take over, to know precisely the "line" I've required my children to tow all day and not lower the standard thereby undermining my authority. I want him to correct and train and encourage the children so I can emotionally and mentally "check out". If he'd help with the dinner dishes and picking up the house, that would just be a bonus.
So, when the kids don't respond to my call to come set the table or they complain about the meal I prepared and LA doesn't verbally jump all over them for it, if he's just a bit slower to respond than I normally am, I can absolutely lose it...on him and on the kids. I make the assumption that he was never going to address the children, he doesn't care or see the level of disrespect they have toward me. It goes further then to character judgments as well--he's checked out on us emotionally or is being lazy not wanting to address my children's hearts or behavior. He's apathetic toward my feelings.
All this happens within a snap.
Ever been there or somewhere similar?
And, you can imagine that what comes out of my mouth (because this girl has trouble keeping it shut!) is harsh, judgmental, accusatory and disrespectful (oh the irony). On the rare occasion I do manage to keep my mouth shut, the silence and slamming ensues. Slam cupboards and dishes all while pursing my precious lips tightly shut.
Believe it or not, I am worshiping in these moments. What I want, for my husband to engage with my children, is not a bad thing. It's a good thing; I should want that. When it takes the form of worship in my heart is when I am wanting it more than I am wanting God and His will for that moment in time. He wants me to grow in patience. Perhaps, He wants to help my children grow in hearing and responding to His Spirit convicting them in the quiet of their thoughts and heart versus being reprimanded immediately by their parent. He certainly doesn't want me to be bitterly spewing angry statements at my husband.
So, what do I do knowing my inclination to worship my desires, needs and wants?
Where do I go when the worship of myself has eclipsed the worship of God?
I'm grateful that God continues to stop me in moments like what I just described to convict me of my self worship. Sadly, I don't always bow to His conviction right away. Sometimes it takes me awhile. But, God's Spirit, thankfully, always wins and brings me to a godly sorrow over my sin. And, it is then that I can confess that sin, run to Jesus, the One who bore all the wrath of God that I deserved for all my moments of self worship.
And, God reminds me in I John 1:9 that when I confess my sin, HE is faithful and just to forgive me of that sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.
Then, I think upon God, upon HIS perfection, HIS wisdom, HIS righteousness, HIS beauty, goodness, grace and mercy and bow again to HIS will for this small moment in my life.
In "real life", I ask for forgiveness from Lawrence (and my children if they were witnesses of my behavior or speech) and think on things that are excellent and praiseworthy about those brief moments around the dinner table. I think about what God may have been seeking to accomplish in my life, in my children's lives and in my husband's life at that instant. And, I consider God's redemption of my wrongs. I ponder all the ways God could be making good on my bad, and it's at this moment that I'm typically undone....for at least 3 minutes before something else may tempt me toward self worship. ;)
It's moment by moment here in my world. The little moments DO matter.