Someone once told me that opinions are like buttholes - everyone’s got one. I have always loved and lived by that piece of well-spoken wisdom. Everyone knows how you should be living your life or what you should or shouldn’t be doing in your relationships. Most people will be more than willing to share their inflated knowledge with you, usually without you even asking.
When navigating marriage, there are so many hurdles and challenges to work through and overcome. You are going to need advice. You are going to need counsel and guidance. With opinions flying around from every side, how can you know who’s advice to take to heart and apply and who to just smile and nod at as their words just bounce off your forehead? How can you discern who's just talking out of their hind ends and who is actually offering genuine help and wisdom?
The Folly Of Rehoboam
I propose we start by looking at 1 Kings 12. It is a long chapter, and I highly recommend you read it for yourself and come back. I will do some summarizing though just in case you are like me and tend to not follow instructions. (:
1 Kings 12 tells the story of King Solomon’s son Rehoboam as he acquires the throne of Israel after his father’s passing. When he became king the people of the nation approached him and told him that his father had been a strict leader and that his leadership had weighed heavy on them. They vowed to serve him as their king if he would promise to ease up a bit and lighten their loads.
Rehoboam asked for time and then approached his father’s counsel and asked what they thought. These men were all peers of his father, Solomon. They were older and had served and worked alongside the wisest man ever to have lived!
They told him to agree to the request. Lighten their loads. They encouraged him to take the role of a servant for this moment and in return, the people would serve him forever!
Rehoboam then went to his buddies. People that were his age and had no experience running a nation or being a leader. They told him to tell the people that if they thought his father was strict, they should wait and see how harsh he’d be. They even told him to use scorpions as punishment.
Long story longer, he took his friends advice, and as a result, the nation rebelled and split in two. He lost over half of his kingdom.
We can learn a lot from Rehoboam's folly. Not all advice is considered equal.
Here are four verses to consider as you decide who should make up your inner circle of guidance.
Likewise, with the female elders, lead them into lives free from gossip and drunkenness and to be teachers of beautiful things. This will enable them to teach the younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, and to be self-controlled and pure, taking care of their household and being devoted to e their husbands. By doing these things, the word of God will not be discredited. TPT
Rehoboam chose to value the opinion of his friends over the guidance of wise older people with a proven track record. People with experience are an asset to have in your life.
Sometimes it can be our parents. Other times parent-like people the Lord has brought into our lives. Sometimes they are much older than us, and sometimes they're the same age, but they possess more experience and wisdom in an area than we do at that moment. Sometimes their expertise may come from their success in marriage and other it may even come from their failures at it.
Regardless of the package, you want help from people who know what they’re talking about and are familiar with what you are going through either by experience or wisdom gained through the Word of God.
People lose their way without wise leadership, but a nation succeeds and stands in victory when it has many good counselors to guide it. TPT
You need wise people who will remind and encourage you to fight the right fights. People who won’t just be your cheerleaders like Rehoboams friends but who know that there are two sides to every disagreement and that there's value in servanthood. You need people who are faithful to remind you how loved you are by God and who will help you remember who your enemy is and how he behaves.
Fighting the right enemy leads to the most substantial victory. You can choose to listen to people who rile you up, and you can make your spouse you enemy, and sure you may feel like you’ve won some small battles.
Wise strategy is necessary to wage war, and with many astute advisers you’ll see the path to victory more clearly. Proverbs 24:6 TPT
Your spouse is not the real enemy. Your spouse is your partner. You have a real enemy who hates marriage. He hates all that it represents, and he is gunning for the demise of yours and everyone else.
Guys this truth saved my marriage when a wise friend reminded me of this and helped me see I was fighting against the wrong person and focusing on myself way too much.
Rehoboam's friends said "show em how big and bad you are! You're the king. They don't make the rules!" The wise advisors said, "Listen to your people. You are here to serve them. Help them. Find solutions their problems, and they'll serve you in return forever."
The best people are going to help you pursue a connection with your spouse by serving and understanding what's happening in their heart and mind. Husbands and wives need counselors like this.
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21
And don’t be one who scorns prophecies, but be faithful to examine them by putting them to the test, and afterward hold tightly to what has proven to be right. TPT
I have wise friends that are my age. I am not saying never listen to people in your age bracket. I also have received terrible advice that wreaked havoc on my marriage by people who were older than us.
As 1 Thessalonians says, you have to put all counsel to the test. The best place to turn is to the Word of God. It’s our standard and the ultimate source of Truth.
That’s also why there is safety in an abundance of wise counsel. Wise people make mistakes too. They have bad days and give less than stellar advice. Being able to feed what you’re thinking and planning through more than one trusted source helps you form a solid plan.
“So above all, constantly chase after the realm of God’s kingdom aa and the righteousness that proceeds from him. Then all these less important things will be given to you abundantly.” TPT
It is mind-blowing how often we forget about the tools and weapons we have at our disposal as believers. How could we forget that our Father has left us armed and equipped to handle life’s ups and downs?
As a child of God, you have Holy Spirit within you. His name is Helper!
The Bible is an excellent source of advice! I don’t think we look at it that way often enough. It’s the words of God. His guidance and counsel for how to navigate life.
I know this may all sound super obvious but in reality how often do we turn the Helper or scripture when we need advice?
Ask Holy Spirit to take over and lead you and your relationship. Begin to evaluate yourself rather than your spouse and take in the Word of God and let God counsel you.
Finally don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and ask for help from people you trust and whose lives bear fruit that you’d like to see in your own life.
If you feel you don’t have a ton of people like that that you can turn to, then ask the Father and expect them. In the meantime find a good Christian counselor. Even if your spouse isn’t interested in going, you go, and you just work on you. You’re the only person you can work on anyways.
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