Too often I have heard about yet another couple, fellow believers, that have gotten divorced or are in the process. REALLY??? Without a doubt, marriage is (or can be) complicated. The process of merging the backgrounds, experiences and families of two people, each with his and her own issues can most certainly be a challenge, one that, obviously, every couple doesn’t survive. The week just passed in which we celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus, however, the very foundation of our faith, I’m thinking about the power of His resurrection and what it should mean in our lives and our relationships. In Philippians 3:10, Paul says that he wants to know Christ in the power of His resurrection and in the fellowship of His suffering. So much that we see and hear nowadays is focused on what feels good to us or what will get us what individually want. If we sow the right seed, we’ll get whatever the desired result. This “give to get” mentality has permeated the church and, I believe, has blurred our perception in too many cases. There’s too much focus on “me” and not enough on “we.” Back to the Scripture, in light of Easter, there can only be a resurrection after something (or someone) dies. We have to “die” as individuals in marriage as it requires great SACRIFICE!!! There’s no other way around it. God loved the world so much that He GAVE us Jesus. And Jesus loved us so much that He GAVE His life. He took on a human form and came to Earth with the express purpose of dying for us! What have we given up — WHAT ARE WE GIVING UP ON A REGULAR — for the sake of our marriage and the person we are married to? If our goal is to exemplify Christ and to be the salt in the earth that flavors everything and everybody around us, something has GOT to change. We have got to lead the charge and be the examples to reflect the loving sacrifice that it takes to nurture our marriages. How do we expect to influence the world if what they see in us looks exactly like what they see everywhere else?
First things first, as a whole, we’ve got to understand the significance of marriage as Christian. Marriage is the covenant relationship that the Lord compared to His relationship with us. On a large scale, if we made the concerted effort to show ourselves approved regarding marriage and its role and purpose, that would be huge in and of itself! We, instead, pursue offices, titles and gifts and too often marry ourselves to our churches. We make every decision for our lives based on what’s going on “at church.” Don’t get me wrong. Church definitely has its place in our lives as a source of growth and fellowship but it should not occupy our lives to the extent that it becomes a hindrance in our marriages or that prevents us from putting our marriages first.
Second, we’ve got to stop over spiritualizing everything. A lot of what God tells us is very simple: Husbands, love your wives. Wives, respect your husbands. Love one another, don’t lie, don’t cheat, and on and on. The Bible is full of clear instructions to help us make the right choices and do the right thing. II Peter 1:3 says “By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life.” To me, that means if He said it, we’re supposed to do it. That doesn’t by ANY means suggest that it’ll always be easy, but it does mean that, in His power, He’s given us the ability to do it. Read the Bible. STUDY it. Then apply it with an open and sincere heart to our marriages.
Also, as a church, we’ve got to stop covering things up. As an institution, we’ve got to stand up and speak out against sin as we see it. There’s so much mess happening in our churches and we continue to sing, preach and everything else in spite of it. We need to talk about it when somebody is sleeping with another person who is not their spouse. We need to talk about the men and women in positions of authority that abuse it and take advantage of others. As couples, we’ve got to stop suffering in silence when our marriages our troubled. As individuals, we’ve got to own up when we ourselves have issues that we need to overcome so we CAN have successful relationships. It’s hard to see a silent enemy, let alone fight it. Too many times, by the time the darkness has come to light, it’s so far gone that, if it’s not too late, it’s much harder to overcome. The good news is that Jesus has overcome the world and He is greater than any habit, addiction, inappropriate feelings or desires and anything else that threatens the success of our marriages. WE have to do the work to bring under control everything that is not like Him! There’s no instant solution or quick-fix. God has given us all the authority we need to overcome, to make it through any adversity, and to WIN!!! Let’s apply all of that to our marriages and save them and our families.