Poker, yes you know – the card game. Did you know there are some marriage truths illustrated very nicely by poker?
Now first, I don’t advocate gambling. It is a foolish past-time and poor stewardship of your money. I’m just referring to the game of poker as a way to draw out an important illustration about marriage. Again, don’t gamble with your life, money, or eternity. And don’t take any wooden nickels.
When you play poker, the dealer first gives everyone their cards, bets are placed, and then more cards are revealed. This happens again until all the cards on the table have been revealed. Several more rounds of betting occur while the players to try to decide if their opponent has a better hand than they do.
After the betting is finished, all the player’s cards are revealed and the winner is decided based on the best hand.
Right. So where is the marriage lesson? Oh yeah!
You never know what hand you’ll be dealt
Have you ever been surprised at something you’ve learned about your spouse? You can’t possibly learn everything about the person you will marry in the short time of dating and betrothal. And while it is good to learn as much as you can and pray about who to marry, you never know exactly what you are getting until you walk down the aisle.
We’ve all heard a horror story or two about someone being duped by their spouse, who is finally found out after the marriage is finalized. Nobody wants to wake up next to serial murderer the day after their wedding!
However, most marriages are not like that. We know who we are marrying, but we don’t really know everything that makes them tick, or what they struggle with, or how they will handle certain crises in their lives.
A missionary recently visited our church who had been married for about 10 years or so. He said from the pulpit, that in those 10 years he had managed to discover some things about his wife that he didn’t like. He also admitted that his wife had also found a few things about him that weren’t on her wish list either!
The point is that when two sinners get married, there will be some things that you didn’t predict that you will have to deal with in your marriage. For better or for worse.
You have to play YOUR cards
In poker, if you are dealt a 7 and a 2 and neither of those cards are of the same suit, that is considered the worst hand in poker. You can’t win very much with low cards like that. If you get those cards you can’t trade with the dealer, or swap cards with your opponent. (Of course, you could discard them – but that doesn’t help the marriage analogy!)
You have to play your own cards. You were dealt a hand to play when you married your spouse. Unlike a poker hand, you even got a say in who you got to marry. Don’t waste time thinking about how much nicer you think it would have been to be married to someone else. First, it’s not a moral option and therefore not an option at all. Second, if you were to swap spouses with someone else, you’d only discover that person was a sinner too!
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses including the man or woman you married. Enjoy their strengths and pray for their weaknesses. Be a vital part of your wife or husband’s spiritual journey to become more like Christ.
At the end, all will be revealed
If you are serving your spouse and you are doing it “to make them happy” you will discover two things. First, they’re sinners and didn’t really deserve it, and second you’ll suddenly discover that you’re not happy for doing it. That’s because when we act selflessly towards others, we shouldn’t do it for them or for ourselves, but because it pleases our Saviour. Only then will it provide us with a lasting peace knowing that we do what we do because we want to serve God.
Serve God by serving your wife. Earn spiritual rewards in heaven by serving your husband.
Put aside all thoughts of, “It could have been different if only…” If both partners have this attitude you will have many good years to look forward to!
At the end of a poker game, everyone lays down their cards and the winner is declared. When we enter eternity, we will all stand before Christ to be judged on how we managed our time, talents, and treasure. Treat your spouse like a treasure from God! You won’t regret it.