Marriage, or any other part of life, cannot give you the wholeness and pleasure that a relationship with God offers. Even so, there have been plenty of letdowns in marriage. This easily arouses a temptation to grow cold and give up hoping for your marriage and spouse.
Serious prayer on a daily basis for what is good and true and honoring to God is the only way to keep hope and love alive. It takes constant realignment of your heart to what God desires for you, but nothing you do yourself can keep hope for marriage alive very long.
Love is a one-way street. A marriage relationship is a two-way, but we can’t forget the one-way street of love. The Bible has a beautiful definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13—
“Love is patient, kind, not envious, not bragging, not self-absorbed, not insisting on her own way, not irritable, not resentful, does not rejoice over or in sin, rejoices in God’s truth, bears with her spouse in all circumstances, gives the benefit of the doubt, hopes in all situations, and endures through the trials. TRUE LOVE never ends.”
Wow! Paraphrasing this passage as I did makes it so real to apply to your love. This is how God loves me. Wow! My great and joyful motivation to love is so grandiose, and my prayer is that I am a willing and submissive vessel to pass this God given love to my husband. It is a strong and delicate treasure to have.
Not all marriage books have the same goal or purpose in mind. ‘Love and Respect’ is a book that shows how to show love to your spouse, but their motivation behind it (to get love/respect back in return) sets couples up to love in a way that doesn’t need to exemplify Christ’s selfless love.
Books like ‘When Sinners Say I Do’ and ‘Sacred Marriage’ that focus on personal growth in Christ and discovering the mirrored image of Christ and His bride the church in marriage are the ones that give a better idea of what marriage is and should be. No marriage book is perfect, and it is probably because nobody’s marriage is perfect . 🙂
Marriage has better shaped my favorite life verse, “I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. And the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” I’ve heard it said that singleness is the best way to serve Christ, and marriage is the best way to become like Christ.
Marriage has revealed how good I am at sinning and failing apart from God’s grace. I have never seen the need to humble myself before God so much before I was married. I myself am an unloving creature. I cannot pass on God’s love to my spouse without first coming to God and acknowledging Him and remembering His love for me. God is so good to grow me through this marriage.