Do you enjoy seeing “before and after” make-over photos in a magazine showing what people look like before and then after their looks are altered in some way? Usually the change is a positive one and fun to look at afterward. But there are times when the change isn’t an improvement at all. What about “before and after” glimpses into your marriage? Will those who observe you and your spouse together see a growing improvement?
Glimpses into the Past
You can’t change how your spouse acts, but what about the way in which you interact within your marriage? Do they see the attitude and heart of Christ being lived out in YOUR words and actions?
Do you remember the time of your marriage proposal when the question was asked, “Will you marry me?” Hopefully it was a romantically memorable time. But did the attitude you had for each other BEFORE the wedding continue past the proposal, past the wedding, into the marriage?
Glimpses into a Proposal
A while ago, a pastor told us of a conversation he had with a man he sat next to on an airplane. He said the man appeared to be really excited about something. So he asked him the reason for his obvious happiness. He said that he’d just asked a woman to marry him and she had said “yes.” What was especially exciting and interesting was the way in which, he proposed.
This man took her out to a romantic dinner and then took her to their church. He then asked her to go into the restroom to take off her nylon stockings. She questioned him about his request, thinking it was a bit strange. But he asked her just to trust him and he would explain his request later.
She did what he asked and afterward was led into the church sanctuary. He then took her over to an area that had a spotlight shining over it. There he provided a chair for her to sit on, brought out a basin of water, and proceeded to wash her feet.
As he was washing her feet he told her of his deep love for her and asked her to consider being his wife. He said, “I want to serve you and wash your feet for the rest of our lives together.” It didn’t take her long to express her love to him and to accept his proposal of marriage.
Isn’t that a romantic story? What a beautiful beginning for a life together and what a wonderful attitude to have. The Bible talks about mutual submission being important in marriage. So this is an inspiring start for their married lives together!
But what would be even more inspirational would be if this man continued to have this servant’s attitude for his wife years beyond the wedding. That’s when life begins to become so daily. It is true servanthood, when you’re still able to honor your spouse in the years beyond the beginning of their lives together. That is the servant-hood Jesus modeled for us.
Upon washing the feet of His disciples Jesus said something (recorded in John 13) that should always aspire us in how we treat each other. He said:
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.“
The Favor of God
The meaning of the word “blessed” in the context of this scripture in the original Greek language is “Markarious.” It is, “possessing the favor of God.” What this means is that as we follow the example that Jesus showed us to do, by serving one another, we will “possess the favor of God.” What an honorable goal to follow —especially in our marriages!
We can almost hear protests going on all around us as some, who are reading this. You have been treated by your spouse in ways that are rude, crude, and “unlovable.” Some of you are saying, “But you don’t know my spouse and how he or she has treated me. How could I act towards him or her in such a loving way when I’ve been treated so horribly?”
It wouldn’t be something we’d ask anyone to do in that type of situation. But the thought comes to mind of what Jesus would ask and what Jesus did. What example did He show us to do for those who are less than kind?
A.W. Tozer wrote the following,
“Jesus Christ left us an example for our daily conduct and from it there can be no appeal. He felt no bitter resentment and he held no grudge against anyone! Even those who crucified Him were forgiven while they were in the act. Not a word did He utter against them, not even against the ones who stirred them up to destroy Him. How evil they all were. He knew better than any other man, but He maintained a charitable attitude toward them. We’re told in Luke 23:24, ‘Then said Jesus, ‘Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.’“
Showing Love as Jesus
We hope that as you think about your spouse you will look to serve him or her with the attitude that Christ would have you —as He did with others. Again, you aren’t responsible for the actions of your spouse, but you are responsible for your own actions. It’s never too late to start doing what is right —to do that which would please the heart of God.
So, what does the “before and after” glimpses look like of your marriage? Do you have the heart to show love to your spouse as you did before you married? As others observe your marriage do they see the heart of Christ exhibited in how you treat your spouse?
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.“ (Mark 10:45)
“Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does.” (Ephesians 6:7)
Please know that our prayers are with you as together we work to make our marriages the best they can be —those that reflect the love of Christ!
Cindy and Steve Wright
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