Is It The Greatest Challenge on Earth???
My husband and I have been together for over 27 years with 3 grown daughters who are our delight and joy!
To say that our home and union has always been filled with unconditional love, peace and joy would be a false statement and would be deceitful. Marriage is hard work! Two becoming one requires death, sacrifice and an unwavering commitment to the vows you proclaimed on your wedding day. Some days are extremely painful and there can be feelings of rejection, anger and betrayal. There are moments when you believe “I should have never married this person” and doubt can cloud everything sacred. Being married forces you to face some ugly character issues you would probably NEVER realize otherwise. But the good news is you are not alone and you do not lack the resources needed to restore and rebuild a marriage that is crumbling.
Strong marriages, Christian or not, will be struck by lightning – sexual temptations, communication problems, major frustrations and unrealized expectations. But I have concluded that if Christian marriages especially, are watered with the word and presence of Christ daily, then conditions will not be ready for a destroying fire to consume them and/or their families.
“If I am only married for happiness and my happiness wanes for whatever reason, one little spark will burn the entire forest of my relationship.” ~ Gary Thomas
One of the reasons that my husband and I have determined to keep our marriage together is not because doing so would make us both happy, and it hasn’t been because we did not want our kids to know the pain of divorce (because we certainly did not). The main motivation for keeping my marriage in tact is because of the vows I made to God the day I surrendered my life to Him. Since one of my core values is based on proclaiming God’s message of love and reconciliation to the world, I realized that my marriage needed to reflect this truth. How can I love mankind unconditionally and proclaim reconciliation to the world if my marriage is seeking to be dissolved and finished?
Putting my relationship with Christ first becomes the plumb line for everything else in my life to hang on. When pleasing my heavenly Father is more important than pleasing my spouse or myself, there is balance and order that can produce fruit that others can enjoy. Not giving up when things get tough, and learning to lean into the pain of conflict and being misunderstood is a huge victory. One that will produce life, growth and maturity. Our old pastor used to teach us that marriage is a tool designed by God to conform us into the image of Jesus. The choice is to allow the tool to be effective in our life or not.
I am convinced that God planted marriage among mankind in order to display the mysteries of His own eternal and spiritual existence. Marriage can become a vehicle that will catapult you into knowing your Creator in ways you never imagined and your life can be filled with deep purpose and satisfaction as you grow to know and love Him fully. Let us take the challenge of “being fully enlightened to know Him and His calling” (Ephesians 1:18)
May we ever have before us the knowledge that our marriage is not just about “us” but about what God is building through and in us. It is about growing His kingdom on earth and displaying His forgiveness, love and redemption in all ways to all people. I want my life, marriage and my children to be so fruitful that the world cannot not deny the goodness of God’s spirit living in and through us. I want everyone who comes into contact with us to benefit from HIS life in us. For where the kingdom of God dwells there is righteousness, peace and joy! (Romans 14:17)
Let us conclude with this thought: Perhaps the real purpose of marriage is not for my own happiness as much as it is for His holiness.
“Those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:15
****I have read countless books on marriage but my all time favorite is “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas. If you are serious about your relationship with God and your spouse then get a copy today – read it together and pray daily for one another. I promise you will not regret it!
With deep love and affection – Lisa