Love Your God – Love Your Spouse – Marriage Message #81
“I sensed Christ saying to me, ‘When you love your wife, you love me. When you care for your wife, you care for me. When you bless your wife, you bless me.” …”As you give to your spouse, even when you are hurting, you become a conduit for God’s glory in your relationship.” …”I believe that when we meet the needs of our spouse, Christ gets even more out of our relationship than we do!” (Dr David Ferguson)
The above statement is a conclusion that Dr Ferguson wrote about, after God dealt with him, concerning the way he was interacting with his wife. He never understood the connection between what Jesus was stating in Matthew 25:40-46, and how he should treat his wife, until that time.
In essence, the Lord was telling David (and us as well) that when we give of ourselves to our spouse, we’re also giving of ourselves to God, and we’re bringing pleasure to His heart as well —magnifying God’s glory in our relationship.
For the rest of this message, we’d like to share with you a portion of the terrific book, “Never Alone” (which unfortunately, is no longer in publication), written by David and Teresa Ferguson. Relating to the above topic, David writes:
One area my wife and I have clashed over repeatedly in our marriage is our traveling. Whenever we leave on a trip, Teresa insists that we get to the airport early, giving plenty of time to park and get to the gate a full hour before our scheduled departure.
I take a much more casual approach, figuring that if the plane is supposed to leave at 9 A.M., we don’t need to be there until 8:55 to walk on and sit down. (This was obviously written before 9/11 and the changes that have come about as a result.) To me, an hour lingering in the airport boarding area is an hour of productive time wasted. So every trip renewed this conflict.
For years I argued with Teresa about what I regarded as her paranoid approach to travel. But all my logic did nothing to meet her need, and the unresolved conflict and pain hindered our intimacy.
As I began to welcome Christ as my colleague and companion in loving Teresa, God began to speak to me about this issue. Our dialogue might be characterized by something like this, based on what he was teaching me from Matthew 25:40:
Jesus: “I needed to get to the airport early, but you would not take me.”
David: “Lord, when did you need to get to the airport early and I did not take you?”
Jesus: “Every time you ignored Teresa’s need for security and failed to get her to the airport early, you did it to me.”
God’s convicting word to my heart produced a sense of brokenness. Not only had I hurt and disappointed my wife by failing to love her as she needed to be loved, I had hurt and disappointed the Savior. I began to see the issue differently. I wondered if my effort to get to the airport would not only bless my dearest one but in some mysterious way even bless our God.
“This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever heard, God,” I thought. “We don’t have to be at the airport so early. The plane won’t leave without us. If our luggage gets lost, they’ll find it and deliver it to us. It’s no big deal. But if this is the path to loving Teresa and blessing you I guess I should head that way even though it seems like a waste of time.”
So we started leaving for the airport when Teresa wanted to leave. We were able to park, check in at the gate, and get our boarding passes in plenty of time. Teresa was thrilled, and I sensed God’s pleasure in simply giving to meet her need. But as I sat down in the boarding area for up to an hour, at times it still felt as if I was wasting valuable ministry time.
But something glorious began to happen. God took those hours in the airport and began to transform them into some of the sweetest times of insight, wonder, and worship I have ever experienced. A great deal of the biblical revelation I have shared recently in conferences and training sessions came to me while sitting in airports.
There was something wonderfully mysterious about it, as if the Lord was saying, “You thought this would be wasted time. But you gave of yourself to meet Teresa’s need. And by allowing her more time at the airport, you and I have more time at the airport. By your glorifying me through giving, I let my glory overflow to you.”
David continued to share other great insights but at the conclusion of this chapter David wrote,
God desires glory out of your marriage: the glory of giving to meet needs, the glory of unconditional love, and the glory of faith. But even if you’re struggling and discouraged in your marriage because your needs are not being fully met, God can still receive glory in your marriage when you glorify Him in the midst of your troubles. As you lift up your heart to give thanks, praise, and adoration to God even when your marriage is less than you desire, He is glorified.
And the more you express gratitude and praise for His faithfulness, caring love, compassion, and power, the more your faith will increase and be strengthened.
We couldn’t have said it better. Somehow, we often fail to treat our spouse with the same courtesy that we treat our neighbor, co-worker, or even a stranger. In Mark 12:30-31, it is recorded that when asked the question “of all the commandments, which is the most important,” Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.“
The question we want to ask you (and challenge ourselves with as well) is: do you think that God wants us to treat our “neighbor” and our co-workers better than our spouse — the one who is to be our marriage partner to whom we are to “cleave to as one?”
Pray and think about it and ask God to show you what you can specifically do in the future to better honor God and love your spouse as He does. If He shows you that you owe your spouse an apology for any past hurtful behavior, please do so. Showing love and preference to your spouse is a way of showing love and preference to your God.
May God bless as you work to make your marriage the best it can be, to the glory of God.
Steve and Cindy Wright