Clear the decks: (verb) Prepare for a particular event or goal by dealing with anything beforehand that might hinder progress*
This nautical term was originally a command given aboard ships approaching battle. When thus instructed, sailors knew to remove any tools, ropes, or other gear that might hinder them from freely moving about the vessel.** Today the term applies to any preparation that positions us for unencumbered action.
In your marriage, it’s important to address any issues that might hinder you from moving forward and experiencing the largeness of what God intends for you. The intentional act of clearing a ship’s deck serves to keep the ropes from tangling with one another. If the deck is cluttered with debris or disorganized, it is easy, in hard times or rough seas, to trip over something that you could easily step around when sailing is smooth.
We don’t want you tripping or sinking. We want your marriage to be an ark that can withstand any storm you encounter. So let’s go after every compromising flaw that is rooted in selfishness, pride, and offense. Let’s cut ourselves free from every tethering curse and binding fear and let hope be our anchor.
Are you aware of any issues that need to be cleared from the decks of your marriage? What could leaving these things unaddressed cost you in the long run? Are you willing to do the hard work of addressing them now so that you can rise and build for the future?
This excerpt was adapted from John and Lisa’s new book, The Story of Marriage(Messenger International, 2014).
*“Clear,” Oxford Dictionaries, accessed April 19, 2014, http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/clear. **Mike MacKenzie, Seatalk, The Dictionary of English Nautical Language (Nova Scotia: 2005), keyword “clear the deck.” www.seatalk.info