I have been trying to write this post for months now. I kept trying to invent a way to say what I wanted to say without actually saying it. But you know what? You all don’t need bull. You don’t need gimmicks. You need me to do what I promised to do, to tell the truth. So here it is….
Let me just say this post is not intended to speak to the marriage where there is an abuser, an oppressor, an addict or someone who is committing a major trespass against their partner. This post is for the “typical” married couple. (I know every marriage is different and the use of the word “typical” is simply for lack of a better word)
The truth is marriage isn’t hard. Life is hard. Circumstances are hard. Dying to yourself is hard. But marriage was meant to be a gift. In fact the first time God looked at all that He created and said “This is not good” (Genesis 2:18) was when He saw that man was alone. So God in His infinite wisdom created a helpmate for him. Human beings are meant to be in relationship. I believe it is at the core of our purpose here. And the marriage relationship is the most profound of all. Why? Because being married holds a mirror to us all. It is an exercise in humility. It is a process of refinement. And if it is embraced it bears the most glorious fruit of all, unconditional love.
If God is love (1 John 4:8) then God incarnate, Jesus Christ, is the model of true love. His very presence on earth was a perfect example of humility. Imagine the Son of God, creator of the heavens and the earth and all who inhabit it, lowly coming as a man in order to save us. He was ridiculed, falsely accused, beaten, humiliated, and murdered by horrific means at the hands of His own people. All because He first loved us. (John 3:16) And the charge He left us with was to love as he loved-humbly, sacrificially-. “Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13
The truth is the way in which we are called to love is simple; love others more than you love yourself. Just because its simple it doesn’t make it easy. But its our call nonetheless. And it is the mark of the transformative power of Christ in us. The truth is if we are unwilling to love our spouse in this way, we must call into question whether that transformative work has actually occurred in our own life. If we cannot love the person we chose with the love of Christ how can we possibly truly love anyone else? The truth is I am heartbroken seeing marriage after marriage fail. Not because I believe we ought to worship the institution of marriage but because so many people, so many Christians, miss the mark on what it is to love. So many people miss out on the amazing experience it is to love and be loved unconditionally. To be intimately known and to intimately know another. To be free of fear and be full of mercy… The truth is I’m tired of seeing children sacrificed on the altar of their parents “happiness”; when joy was a viable option for them had they only willed to choose it…..
Life is hard. Circumstances are hard. I know you are afraid. You’re afraid of what this kind of love will cost you. But allow me to tell you that perfect love casts out all fear. (1John 4:18) And when you decide to love your spouse with that sacrificial love you will discover that you have lost nothing and have gained more than you ever could have fathomed. Dying to yourself is hard. Marriage is not. Marriage is God’s gift to mankind. Don’t squander it.
All my love,