Loving Relationships are a 3-Ring Circus
by Ellie Marrandette
Published on February 5, 2024

Loving Relationships are a 3-Ring Circus

Flowers, chocolates, and romantic cards are all presented to loved ones on Valentine’s Day. Your spouse will smile and you’ll receive an appreciative hug. But have either of you asked the provocative question, “What’s the secret to our happy relationship?”

Great question. What makes some marriages work and others not? 

I think the answer is that God is at the center of that marriage. But I’ve also visualized a good marital relationship as a three-ring circus. (I know, you don’t have to say it: “Ellie, stop clowning around.”) 

No, I’m serious. Try visualizing a circus tent with its large center ring and two smaller side rings.  The large ring should represent all the activities a couple does together and the smaller rings on each side should represent the hobbies and pursuits of the other individual.

In a strong, loving, balanced relationship, a couple should allocate more time together than apart. Therefore, never stop learning and growing conjointly! Traveling, learning new skills, and enjoying activities as a couple is exciting. These build extensive memories throughout the marriage.

Some relationships, however, become unbalanced over time.  Any relationship invites trouble if the center ring becomes nonexistent and only two individually large rings remain. Becoming ‘ships that pass in the night,’ you have nothing in common anymore. The relationship becomes stale, so it’s common for individuals to grow apart. 

Sharing mutual interests keeps relationships fresh! This should be practiced not only in a marriage but also in your personal life and Godly relationship.

Many years ago, my husband and I lived in Germany. I was friends with a lovely newlywed who had just moved overseas and lived in an off-base housing community. I was the only English-speaking person she knew.

Her husband belonged to a missionary-based church focusing on growing its numbers. The pastor asked her newlywed husband to accompany him on his Outreach program nearly every night. My newly married friend patiently put up with this since she didn’t want to interfere with the Lord’s work. Without a husband’s companionship, few friends, and few English television programs to watch, she became lonely and miserable. She confided in me that she believed she made a big mistake and was contemplating returning home to the States.

I confided in the pastor and asked him to allow her husband to remain home more often. He wouldn’t hear of it and declared, “Growing the church is our main priority here!” Sadly, she eventually returned home.

Am I wrong or didn’t God create the Marriage Covenant first? It was Satan who broke up the original family, God would never. Always try to spend more time with your spouse, it’s what God intended. 

Relationships become unbalanced if one relinquishes their own identity (the smaller ring) allowing it to merge into the large one. It could be that one spouse finds an addictive, time-consuming activity like running, hunting, golfing, car restoration, fishing, or a work-related event that excludes the other. 

Then one of them finds themselves sacrificing their interests to spend more time with their spouse because otherwise they wouldn’t see each other at all. Now that sacrificing spouse doesn’t know if the other cares about the relationship anymore. He/she begins to feel unimportant, boring, stale, and unloved. Greener pastures start calling out their name.

If you’re feeling a void in a relationship, something will fill the emptiness. Food, alcohol, drugs, sports, or similar outlets only fill that void temporarily. As a counselor, I’ve seen this repeatedly.

Addictions like these only last until your next craving. Lonely, you reach for any feel-good, chemically addictive mood booster: alcohol, pills, chips, beer, nuts, pizza, French Fries, etc. You’ve become chemically unbalanced, making you irritable, lethargic, and not much fun to be around. You’re still facing marital emptiness and that’s a downward cycle. 

If you, as a couple, wonder where to turn, turn to Jesus. He should be in every single circle in that 3-ring circus. It takes commitment, patience, goodness, kindness, and instantaneous Scripture prompts to ensure relationship longevity. I know, I’ve been married 54 years.

It’s not selfish to retain time for yourself. Individuality and an interesting personality are what attracted someone in the first place! Never lose the uniqueness that drew you together! 

Sadly, many marriages are disposable in this throw-away society we live in. “If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just trade ’em in for a new one, haha.”  I realize there is justification for a marital split sometimes. I come from a horrifically broken home. I also recognize that if my violent father hadn’t abandoned our family, I don’t believe I’d be here today. Living through those tough times made me a much stronger person and I ultimately found a compassionate True Father, our LORD God. Praise Him! God has a purpose in everything He does.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Only God can repair relationships. Prayer restores relationships, nagging never does. Recognize pitfalls. Spouses are not mind readers. Communication is essential in a strong relationship. Nip any disagreements in the bud. Sometimes it’s simply a misinterpreted sentence or facial expression. How would we feel if God gave up on us? “Oh, that Ellie, I’m so tired of her, she’s not worth fighting for anymore. I think I’ll trade her in for someone in Boswanaville.”  

No God is COMMITTED to us. He’d never abandon us!!  He desires a strong relationship for us and with us! He walked in the garden with Adam and created the institution of marriage before the church or government. He selected the perfect mate for us. Cherish that relationship. God knows as a couple, you have value, trust Him!   

Deuteronomy 13:8 “It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

In the same way, commit yourself to each other. Appreciate the gift of love God gave you and have a blessed and happy Valentine’s Day.

Ellie Marrandette earned her Bachelor of Ministry (BMIN) from Trinity Theological Seminary. God guided Ellie toward a career as a licensed, certified nutritional counselor. After working with doctors, nutritional centers, and independently, she became the founder of New Creations Ministries, a faith-based solution in overcoming health challenges. In recent years, God has focused Ellie’s path toward writing. She is the author of four Christian novels, a novella, and a non-fiction book on healthy living entitled, Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese (Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us.) Her most recent book, God’s Furry Messengers was just published in July, 2023. All can be found Here. Her current endeavor is to complete a children’s devotional this year. For more about Ellie Marrandette visit her New Creations website.  

Photo by Gary  Barnes

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