Did you know that marriage has a purpose even when it isn’t working? Most people miss this point. They think that marriage is about getting our own needs met. They think that it’s about “me.” What am I getting out of this marriage? What about my satisfaction? If that’s what marriage is about, then why get married in the first place? Isn’t that what being “single” is all about?
There’s an article that appeared in Marriage Partnership Magazine titled “It’s Not About Satisfaction” written by Julianna Slattery. It’s one that we’re going to take excerpts from because it’s rich in wisdom. This is only a sneak preview. But it’s a good one. We’ll give you a link to read the article in its entirety after these quotes.
This article was adapted from Julianna’s book “Finding the Hero in Your Husband: Surrendering the Way God Intended.”
Here’s part of what Julianna writes:
“The Bible says, ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.’(Psalm 127:1) To be a wise spouse you must recognize the importance of God in all that you do. You cannot build your house without Him.
“…The temptation to give up on marriage because it’s disappointing or unsatisfying is what overwhelms many spouses. This is particularly true in a culture that’s so focused on self-fulfillment. If a marriage is ultimately about getting our own needs met, then marriage is over when intimacy fails.
“However, marriage can also be viewed as something beyond our needs. It’s often the ultimate test of our values and character. Like no other relationship, marriage can highlight our fears and selfishness. It’s essentially a ministry. The way we respond in marriage reflects our core beliefs and our very reason for living.
Satisfaction and Choices
“Being a faithful and loving spouse ultimately relies upon our choice to be faithful to God. Especially when a husband or wife is unlovable, continuing in the marriage is only possible when our life means more than finding pleasure, fulfillment, and happiness.
“When marriage is viewed as a calling or ministry, hope resurfaces in the midst of broken dreams. The hope is no longer that the frog will turn into Prince (or Princess) Charming. There’s instead, hope that God can be glorified through what seems like a tragedy. It’s only in seeking God and His plan to build the “house” that forgiveness and unconditional love can infuse life into a dead marriage.
“If being married isn’t about getting needs for intimacy and companionship met, then what’s the purpose? Although God’s design is for a husband and a wife to become one, the reality of marriage falls short. Marriage is a mystery that’s meant to awaken and illuminate our hunger for Christ.
Julianna, later in the article, talks about persevering through a marriage that’s disappointing:
“…Marriage isn’t meant to satisfy, but to ignite the passion for which we were created —intimacy with God.
“Although God may ask you to persevere through a marriage that’s disappointing and unfulfilling, your needs are important to Him. He doesn’t ask you to ignore your longing for love and companionship, but to trust Him with them. Psalm 146:3 says, ‘Don’t put your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save.‘ Even the best spouse cannot provide salvation—spiritually or emotionally. No matter how good your marriage, you’ll go through times of drought. Your spouse was never meant to satisfy you completely, nor you him or her.
Invest in Your Marriage
“…You can only invest in your marriage when your life and your happiness don’t depend on the success of finding the hero in your husband or savior in your wife. If wives are desperate for knights in shining armor, they won’t be able to vanquish their insecurities and disappointments long enough to invest in mortal husbands. Instead, you must depend on God and His provision for your ultimate worth and stability. Only then can you freely obey God’s wisdom rather than your fears.
“Intimacy with your spouse is a goal worthy of your attention and efforts. However, there are many happily married people who are spiritually dead. A great marriage is a good thing, but it’s not the best thing. Both the excitement of a growing marriage and the despair of brokenness are chances to seek and glorify the Lord.
“What an inspiration the apostle Paul was in his letter to the Philippians when he wrote, ‘I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.‘(Philippians 4:12-13)“
Are You Living Christ?
AMEN! We couldn’t think of a way to say it any better. To read the above article again in its entirety, which we recommend, please click HERE.
Also, it would be good to pass these thoughts onto other Christians who are married or are about to get married. The enemy of our faith wants us to distort what marriage is all about. It’s not about us —it’s about “living Christ.”
Is how you’re living distracting you from living Christ in your marriage? Are you showing love to your spouse as Christ loves the Church?
It’s our prayer that we’ll all remember our “first love.” Jesus said the “greatest commandment is: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.‘” You can’t get a closer neighbor than your spouse.
The question is:
What have you done TODAY to love your spouse “as unto the Lord?”
And don’t forget to plan for tomorrow as well.
Cindy and Steve Wright
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