Ever wonder why so many marriages fail?
God is the original Author of marriage, with his Word guiding us to make our marriages stronger. When people enter into marriage without submitting it to God, it almost always lands in a downward spiral that sees people deviate so drastically from God’s intention for marriage that divorce has become the norm.
This year marks the 18th year I’ve known my husband, of which we’ve been a couple for 7 years and married for 4. We have a beautiful 16-month old son and, though not without our fair share of challenges, we are blessed beyond measure. If there is one constant I’ve learned throughout this marital journey, it is that God is good – always, despite (or especially) when circumstances may try to dictate otherwise.
So, this is what marriage is teaching me:
To rebuild weak foundations
We live in a fallen world and because of our own sinful nature, everything that God created that was meant to be pure and holy has become twisted in our own efforts to uphold these truths. Take, for instance how the Bible (NIV) continually describes love, in sharp contrast to how it is experienced in the world we live in:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves. - Philippians 2:3
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. – John 15:13
The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. – 1 Timothy 1:5
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
Whereas we base love on: ‘Because’; what others can do for us; me and ‘my needs; and how we feel at any given moment.
So in order to love the way God really intended it, we must first learn to redefine our own definition of what it really is, to enable us to build on a Godly foundation of love.
Once we get this, our hearts can align to the process of sanctification and transformation to become more and more like Jesus, in everything we do (including our marriages). The moment you think, “I have arrived”, you need to reflect and realign your heart again, because it will always remain a process where we have to stay close to God.
I recently saw this quote by Dave Harvey regarding raising children, but thought it just as suitable in the context of marriage:
“I thought parenting was going to portray my strengths, never realising that God had ordained it to reveal my weaknesses.” – Dave Harvey
How true, but this is exactly why we have to identify and work through these weaknesses so that our marriages can become a reflection of Christ’s love for the Church (us.) Healthy marriages not only point us to Christ, but it is also a silent (or sometimes loud) testimony to our unsaved friends, extended families and finally, our children.
It’s in how we talk about our spouses when they are not there, and how we respond to them when they are. It’s in how wives choose to honour their husbands and how husbands show love to their wives, even when we don’t feel like it (Ephesians 5: 22 - 33). Showing them a godly response versus how the world would respond.
To be consistent
As man-made calendar entries tend to do, Valentine’s Day has just become yet another over commercialised day of the year, when people spend a fortune to buy over priced gifts, restaurant dinners and weekend getaways - trying to overcompensate for the lack of practically showing their love and appreciation throughout the other 364 days of the year.
But, it is also as good a time as any to recommit your heart and your marriage to God afresh, resolving to point your loved one to Christ everyday by unconditionally practicing patience, exhortation, sacrifice, and servant heartedness.