Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Maintaining Love in Marriage

No copyright infringement intended
Michael Ventura provided an excellent description of what marriage is all about,  “Marriage is a
journey toward an unknown destination -- the discovery that people must share not only what they don't know about each other, but what they don't know about themselves.” In reading the Scriptures, here’s the relational equation that occurs between married couples: “Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them” (Colossians 3:18-19).

How does this work? Following the biblical basis of this equation, here’s the breakdown:

·      Specific role of the wife: “…submit to your husbands…”
·      Submission is all about respect not dominance: Ephesians 5:33b “…let the wife see that she respects her husband.”
·      Extent of a wife’s submission: “…as is fitting in the Lord.”
·      Specific role of the husband: “…love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”
·      Measurement of a husband’s love: Ephesians 5:33a “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself…”

How does love comes into the marriage relationship? First, love must be cultivated during marriage relationship between a husband and the wife and the cultivating part was assigned to the husband as Ecclesiastes 9:9 states, Enjoy life with the wife whom you love. ” Afterward, love must become the bond that holds the marriage vows between a husband and the wife until death. Death becomes the separating tool that dissolves the vow but until then, “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:14). Finally, love must produce the legacy of the husband and the wife for the next generation to follow and imitate.

The love between a husband and a wife becomes an illustration of how Christ loves His church:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church (Ephesians 5:25-33).

When this portrait of Christ’s love becomes the anchor of every marriage relationship, no matter what challenges come, it will stand strong. Thus, the key to a successful bond of love in marriage life is no other that the Lord Jesus Christ. It takes three to make a marriage long lasting and complete. Two people cannot do it but two people fully submitted to the Lord Jesus goes a long way “until death do you part.” Chuck Swindoll in his book, “The Grace Awakening” shared five major needs of women IN marriage: (1) affection; (2) conversation; (3) honesty and openness; (4) financial support, and; (5) family commitment. On the other hand, he also shared the five major needs of men IN marriage: (1) sexual fulfillment; (2) recreational companionship; (3) an attractive spouse; (4) domestic support; and (5) admiration.

If an unmarried couple is reading this article, let me share two important things to consider about love in marriage. First. love begins at courtship between a single man and a single woman as Proverbs 18:22 states,  He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.” Next, love is manifested at the wedding day between a man and a woman as Genesis 2:24 states, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”  Before I end, listed below are three ingredients to a happy marriage:

1.     The presence of the Lord Jesus Christ at the wedding: Hebrews 13:4 “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
2.     The presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in the home: Psalms 127:1 “A Song of Ascents. Of Solomon. Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.”
3.     The presence of the Lord Jesus Christ all along life's journey: Psalms 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Therefore, if you currently married, let love anchored in Jesus hold your marriage together and if you are getting married, get ready to preserve love at all cost.

Let’s talk again!