Marriage: The Christ-Love Example
Marriage is the example to the world of Christ’s love for the church. So, is it really any wonder why the enemy is so hell-bent on making a mockery out of marriage—out of your marriage?
I wasn’t wise enough to understand this when I first entered the marriage covenant with my husband. Regardless of our reasons for marrying and when we did, I was still so concerned with what it looked like to everyone else, that I wasn’t focused on what it needed to look like to God—and to ourselves. For years I wondered who knew what and how much they knew. I couldn’t fully be happy because this wasn’t the picture of what marriage looked like in my head. I spent so many years of my life comparing my marriage to what I thought other marriages were and what I saw in my mind. So, I feared that if I took the moment to enjoy whatever happiness I felt with my husband at the time, others would look at me as some kind of phony, fraud, fake and more.
The hold that worrying about what others had over me is something textbook worthy—I was stuck. It has quite literally taken me years to break free of the grasp of people’s expectations and what they think or don’t. (I’m almost 36.)
And I won’t even get into the “Comparison kills” or “You never know what goes on behind closed doors” message. Because this isn’t that. This is about a girl who expected her marriage to be something it could never be because perfection does not and will NEVER exist. Because the enemy was able to get my focus on other things, and telling me what my marriage would never be, I allowed for him to come in and forget what God told me. He’s done this with another woman we know of very well.
If we think about this biblically, God took Adam and gave him a job: name His animals and tend His garden. But God realized that as great as he was at his job, it wasn’t enough for him. He needed more—more than love…more than looks. He needed more than infatuation and more than what was in front of him. What he needed was a helpmeet.
So, God makes Eve.
But we know how this story goes. So I won’t go into detail as I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times. (Well, make that a million and one now.)
But here’s the thing with Eve, she was supposed to be his help. However, she got distracted. And once she got distracted, she couldn’t cover her marriage. How could she when her focus was on other things? (Do we see this all coming together now?)
Am I saying that it was Eve’s job, solely, to cover her marriage? Not even in the slightest. Marriage is a partnership. Of course this should be done on both ends, separately and collectively. But what Eve had done wrong is that she forgot what God had told her and promised her. Isn’t it amazing the wrong turns we can take or the mistakes we can make when we take our focus off of God? (Peter, anyone??)
She was also listening to the wrong person. I cannot tell you how important it is to ensure that you are listening to wise and sound counsel from those around you. Sound advice means that you can trust what the person is saying to you. There is no hidden agenda or ulterior motives; they literally want what is best for you. We already know that these would never be adjectives that describe Satan. Eve was not exercising wisdom. What the enemy was speaking to her sounded good, but it wasn’t sound! Eve needed to be wiser than she was.
And we, too, must be wise and discerning to the seeds of doubt that the enemy will try and plant in our minds. Especially as women. We’ve already seen from the bible that the enemy is going to first try the wife. When things are going well, he will try and make you believe that things are just too good to be true. Causing you to literally speak into existence things that may not have been. Don’t we remember all of the work we did last month as we talked about the power of our words? We must realize how powerful our speech can be. Our words are so influential! And when things are bad, those seeds of doubt can (and will) make a terrible situation that much worse. All of a sudden, you’re considering throwing in the towel and walking away because of this small, yet powerful seed that you have given the legs to grow.
You see, if we listen to Satan, or even people (because Satan uses people too. Remember sound advice?), we may miss out on the most important message of marriage: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.
And how can we convey this message (the Biblical message) to others when we live in a generation that is so ready to throw away relationships at every turn?
Why is this even important?
Because unconditional love teaches us forgiveness!!!
Doesn’t Christ love us this way? Hasn’t He forgiven us of our sins? Even when we went back several times and did the same thing over and over again? Didn’t He welcome us back with open arms? And he waited until we were ready. Didn’t He love us enough to throw every sin—every time—into the sea of forgetfulness? Didn’t He?
This is the love that Christ is wanting us to display in our marriages.
And before anyone says that I’m trying to excuse away certain behaviors or actions, I am not!
A Christ-like marriage still should look like Christ. It should be happy, healthy, thriving, and whole. But this can only occur when the two individuals, themselves, are whole first!
I’ll be the first to admit (and have) that my husband and I caused each other a lot of unnecessary hurts because, we ourselves, were not whole. Because of that, we had to learn throughout our marriage. We had to experience so much because we didn’t allow God to do the healing in each of us. And I just would not wish that on anyone.
The Christ-like marriage does not look like people hurting each other or disrespecting each other. But what’s beautiful about a marriage that may not look like much right now, is that Christ can take that very marriage—the one that looks like everything but Christ—and turn it around so that in the end it will look like Him.
I’m a witness!
Listen, the enemy will be cunning and slick. He will speak half-truths and things that sound as though they could be just true enough to get you focused on things—the wrong things. (Is it sound?!) And before you know it your world is turned upset down.
It’s amazing what one small seed of doubt can do! So, instead of feeding, watering, and cultivating seeds of doubt, trouble, and confusion—try doing the same with seeds of love, patience, kindness, and forgiveness. You will be amazed at how your marriage will turn around!
And once we come to terms with the fact that the enemy is willing to do whatever it takes to get you to walk away from your marriage then you will understand how much harder you have to fight. But there must be two willing parties to put in the work—two willing people that can accept the other’s imperfections and are willing to admit their own. Once you do that, what can the enemy hold over your heads any longer? The answer is NOTHING! Because you’ve taken the power back.
And after that, you must realize that this hate for marriage started long before you were thought of. You have to stop thinking that it is just about you so that you will be more willing to fight to help the next couple. You will be willing to fight to prove the enemy as the liar that he truly is.
I’m still fighting. And I hope that you are too. Because if there is one thing that the enemy has learned about me still, it’s that I have a LOT of fight in me. And we are truly just getting started!