We marry for many reasons, but I believe that underlying many of them is one simple and incredibly powerful motivation. We’re seeking to fill the hole in our soul through a marriage relationship. It may be true, in fact, that all of our attempts at human relationships come from this driving force. We feel an emptiness, a longing that, while we may keep it at bay for a time, always comes back, often larger and more insistently. (Jerry and Judy Schreur)
To explore this point a bit further, we’ll be gleaning thoughts found in a book the Schreur’s wrote titled, When Prince Charming Falls Off His Horse. (It’s a fun and yet practical book, which we recommend you read.) In it, they explain:
The Hole in Our Soul
“You and I are men and women who were created in the image of God. We were created for fellowship and an intimate relationship with God. But we’re fallen creatures, and we live in a warped and fallen world. So all we can possibly do is know God imperfectly and incompletely. Although only God can fill the hole in our soul, on this side of heaven, that happens only incompletely. So we look around for whatever else can fill that hole.
“We’re made for relationships. In fact, we’re created for a perfect relationship with a holy and perfect God. Our God loves us as His children. But the warping of sin and disobedience have put us at odds with God. And even when we live forgiven lives, the gulf never completely goes away.
“It won’t until we meet Him face-to-face. But we still feel that lack. We still feel that pain. And we still look for a way, any way to fill it up.
“It’s in a committed, mature marriage where we have the best chance of partially filling that hole. A mature marriage, free of romantic expectations and the cultural craziness around falling in love, can at its best vaguely approximate God’s love for us. After all, isn’t that what God commanded husbands to do? Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for it.
Looking to Marriage to Fill the Hole in our Soul
“Therefore, it makes sense that we look to marriage for a partial fulfillment of the hole in our souls. But we’re coming at it from the wrong direction. It has to start with God. It’s only in radiating the love, grace and mercy we receive from Him that we have a chance in our marriages.
“Pay close attention: The agape, or unconditional love we receive from God isn’t human. We cannot create it within ourselves. It comes only from God. Our hope in our marriages is that at their best, we’ll be able to share that love with our partners.
“But when we look to our partners to create and originate that agape, unconditional love, they’ll fall short. Then the yawning emptiness will grow larger. The best marriages are still only a shadow of the love that God has for us. And rarely are we at our best.
“If you want to make your marriage a better place, the first thing to do is to work on your relationship with the God. He made you and loves you. Ultimately our only valid hope is that God’s grace will wash over us and over our marriages. Without that grace, marriage can be even more difficult.
“But when we exhibit that grace, that unmerited favor that God has bestowed on us, to our spouse, then something special and even beautiful can happen. Then we have a chance at real love. Then we have moved beyond the romantic ideals and the foolish hopes of our fantasies.
“When grace comes down and floods our life and washes clean our marriages, then something remarkable can happen. Marriage can echo God’s love.“
Echoing God’s Love
The question is: ARE YOU ECHOING GOD’S LOVE WITHIN YOUR MARRIAGE? As a follower of Jesus Christ, are you accepting the grace that God extends to you? And are you then extending it to your spouse? What are you doing with that which God has given to you?
This principle for loving is made throughout the Bible. For example, you can read about it in Romans 11:30-36 through Romans 12. It’s also given in the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35. And if look in a Bible concordance for terms such as, God’s mercy and grace and love, you’ll find many more examples of the mercy God gives. And you will see how God expects us to follow in His example.
That’s especially true within marriage —a mirror of God’s love for His bride.
On this point, Bible teacher Andrew Wommack puts forth a challenge for us all to consider:
“In counseling hundreds of couples, I have found that many Christians are still operating toward each other with the same carnal love they had before they were Christians. In many cases, they are applying God’s love to their brothers and sisters in the body. They have developed a ‘burden for the lost’ but they are virtually the same in their relationships with their mates. God’s kind of love has to be applied to our marriages too.” (From the article, God’s Kind of Love in Marriage.)
Revealing God’s Mercy Through Marriage Relationship
Author Gary Thomas offers an example of how this can be seen:
“When my wife forgives me… and accepts me, I learn to receive God’s forgiveness and acceptance as well. In that moment, she is modeling God to me, and is revealing God’s mercy to me. She is helping me to see with my own eyes a very real spiritual reality.” (From the Focus on the Family article, “God’s Design for Marriage.”)
There is also a book we recommend that could help you deal with past issues. These are issues that enlarge the hole in one’s soul. It could help you in your marriage deal with issues that may be causing separation between you. These issues can inhibit healing from happening. It is called Soul-Healing Love written by Drs Tom and Bev Rodgers. We recommend you obtain it.
The “hole in our soul” will not be entirely filled on this side of heaven. But as God’s colleagues, we will be partnering with Him in helping rather than hindering that from happening.
Model God’s Mercy
It is our prayer that God will continually remind and strengthen each of us to live out the promises we vowed to keep when we married. In our vows we promised to love, honor, and cherish each other for as long as we both shall live —so “help us God.” May we model His mercy and love both within our homes and outside!
Cindy and Steve Wright
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