The Marriage Ship

Marriage is not like a vacation cruise where you are to be pampered and served.  You can sleep as late as you want, someone prepares and serves you food, everyone wants to make sure you are happy and entertained and there is a captain that you might get lucky and meet before you disembark.

Marriage is like working on one of those Bearing Sea Alaskan King Crab ships.  There are times when you can rest and enjoy the journey and beautiful scenery BUT most of the time it is hard work for everyone on board.  Work that must be done together, done properly and done in the right order so everyone remains together safely.

Marriage can be dirty, sweaty, bruising and exhausting work!

Oh, like the crabbers on TV, there are times of fair skies and smooth seas, and those times should be cherished!  But there are times of freezing cold, high seas, busted equipment, busted bones and empty nets; these are all part of the same reality and must be dealt with TOGETHER.

The work is tough and the opportunities for crisis are numerous. Things break, sometimes the nets are bare or full of trash and your partner sometimes messes up – big time.

If one is overworked, overlooked or overburdened someone is getting hurt or the ship is going down into the cold grasp of the sea forever.  When someone gets hurt the entire venture is in danger.

If one thinks they are a king or lord to be served they will quickly learn failure.  If someone is a primadonna there is a wakeup call coming.

If one thinks they can slack off the whole team suffers. Crabbers do not tolerate the lazy, the privileged, the arrogant or the lone rangers; neither should marriages.

If someone gets mad and leaves the deck the other must work harder until they return.  Sometimes one must leave the deck and go after the one who left, deal with the issue and return to work together.  No problems can be dealt with in separation.  Deal with them the only way they can be dealt with – together.

On the crab boats we watch on TV there is much passion, stress and sometimes anger.  They argue and sometimes they fight.  They can be passive-aggressive; or just plain aggressive.  A good argument is tolerated but physical violence is strictly forbidden by the boar owners; there is too great a chance of danger, injury and death.

There are times when the biggest and sturdiest ships sink.  Maybe the storm was too big, the necessary maintenance was not done or the crew just gives up.  Many times the sinking ships could have been saved with a little work or some wisdom to not head out in dangerous times.

Abuse, Addiction and Adultery have sank many relationships.  They didn’t have to though.  A little maintenance, some humility, hard work and a little wisdom may have prevented the tragedy. Especially the wisdom to stay away from dangerous activities to begin with while remaining faithful and devoted to your spouse and family.

Sometimes there will be times of passionate disagreement in marriage; issues that must be dealt with properly and safely; and without physical and/or emotional violence.  There is too great a danger of injury and/or death from allowing or accepting any type of violence in a marriage.  This cannot be tolerated and must be dealt  with quickly.  On a crab boat the offender is punished legally (demotion, share cut, etc) or terminated.

On a crab ship the safety of the crew is first and formost, then the safety of the vessel and then the financial gain of the harvest.  Marriages need to be properly prioritized as well.  God first, Spouse second, then the family, finances and everything else.

Marriages begin to sink when one or both “crew members” begin to prioritize their own desires and addictions above everything else.  I think that is one reason the Bible teaches us that “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”   ESV     1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is not about you.  Love never demands it’s own way.

Everyone is a greenhorn at the beginning, but if we stick with it and work hard in unity while we learn we will soon become grizzled veterans who can survive anything.

“Deckhands” learn to trust each other with their work, enjoy their time at work and at rest, build humor and accountability into their relationship and share the fruits of their labor.

There is always a boat captain, but his focus is keeping everyone and everything working together so all finish the journey safely and obtain their reward.  His is the greater responsibility. He must answer to the boat’s owner about everything that happened on the boat under his watch.

The reward of a hard-working team is immense, if everyone pulls their own weight and worked hard.  The feeling of working hard and accomplishing a goal, personal fulfillment, the respect of your co-laborer and the reward from the ships creator and owner.

No, marriage is never a cruise ship!  It is a working vessel, provided by God for the Family.

Marriage is definitely a “All Hands on Deck” adventure that requires every ounce of strength, courage and patience they have!  Marriage is not “50-50” – divorce is “50-50”; marriage is 100%+100%X100% of the time!

Ephesians 5:22-33 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”   ESV

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Luke 7:18 – 23     Persistence – Hang in there

I wish I was more like John the Baptist.

  • Radically devoted to his faith.
  • Knew Jesus from before he was born.
  • Served God faithfully, even in tough times
    • PLUS He wore Camel hair and a leather belt
  • He is well known and respected for his Faith and Works to this day

But, John was not perfect.  John sometimes wondered…..

  • John was wondering if Jesus was indeed who he thought He was
    • After John had baptized Jesus
    • After John saw the heavens opened and the Holy Spirit descend upon Jesus
    • After John had heard the Voice from heaven proclaim to Jesus “You are my beloved Son, with You I am well pleased”

Now John was wondering

  • Are you the REAL DEAL?
  • Did I make a mistake in telling others you were the One?
  • Should I be offended by You?
  • Did You claim to be someone You were not?

I think John had a picture in his mind of what Jesus would be doing and what Jesus was actually doing did not match his thoughts

  • Many of the Jews thought Jesus would become their earthly king right then and there
  • He was to deliver them from the Romans/Government
  • He was to reign and rule
    • Not preach
    • Certainly, Not be a poor carpenter
  • John was wavering in his faith
  • John was wondering if he had been wrong and he should change his focus and start looking for the “real deal”
  • We do the same thing today
    • We may have the same questions as John
    • We may wonder the same as John
      • God, why is this happening if You are here?
        • God, aren’t You supposed to be KING?
      • Why are these things happening to good people
        • Why are these things happening to me?
          • I work so hard for You
          • I sacrificed so much for you…
          • I waited so long for you…
        • God I asked you for this yesterday….
        • God I do not understand….
        • Is it You God? Is it really You?
      • Jesus was sending a bigger message to John
        • Hang in there, John
        • Yes John, I AM!  Here is the proof!
        • I am THE REAL DEAL
        • Psalm 46:8-11 “Come, behold the works of the Lord, how he has brought desolations on the earth. He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God.  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”  The Lord  of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. ESV
        • Persevere John! Keep doing the Work I gave you
        • I got this! Persevere in the faith
        • Hang in there! He Hung there for you!
      • John, God led Me to you
      • When you have times of WONDERING or WANDERING
        • Go back to God
          • You don’t have to be ashamed of your FAITH
          • Do not be offended – Keep preaching – Keep serving
        • You do not have to find someone else to ask for you
          • People will take advantage of your weakness for their gain
          • GO TO GOD!
        • ASK HIM! We wonder because we do not ask!
          • We don’t have because we do not seek Him and Ask Him
        • You do not have to be ashamed of Him
        • You certainly do not need to be OFFENDED by Him
          • Hang in there! God’s Got This!