Do you and your spouse live and demonstrate a purpose driven love within your relationship? Do you reveal and reflect the heart of Christ within your marriage?
We ask you this question because of something we read on this issue, which stood out to us. The authors (Rob and Amy Rienow, authors of the book, Visionary Marriage) asked the question, “Is there any difference?” The question was referring to marriage and the ways in which a “Christian” couple approaches it. This is in contrast to those who are not followers of Christ. The point is… within marriage, do you (and we) live out the principles of a purpose driven love, with Jesus in the middle of it?
A Purpose Driven Love
Concerning this issue Rob and Amy wrote:
“We have the opportunity to walk the path of engagement with many couples through our counseling ministry at church. The majority of these couples have been followers of Jesus Christ. Yet, when asked, ‘Why are you getting married?’ they gave answers, which ANY couple could give! Rarely have we heard engaged Christian couples give a distinctively Christian, Bible-driven, Gospel-centered reason for why they were getting married.
Instead, we have often bought into the world’s short-sighted, half-hearted, self-centered vision of what marriage is all about. We throw a little church and Jesus into the mix. And then we come away believing that we have a Christian marriage.”
But is this true? Dennis and Barbara Rainey put it this way, concerning “Christian marriages”:
“Most Christian marriages are patterned after the world, with a few threads of Christianity woven in. Couples know certain Bible verses, but few practice the Word of God and use it as the defining standard for their lives. If you want your marriage to become all that God intended, dig deeply into His Word. And let it become the source of your lives together. Pray for one another that you’ll abide together in Christ.” (From their book, Moments with You: Daily Connections for Couples)
Is God’s Word your source and pattern for living? If it isn’t, then your marriage is no different from those “within the world.” And it may be headed for “worldly” trouble. Prayerfully consider this.
On This Issue Mike Mason says:
“Love convinces a couple that they are the greatest romance that has ever been, that no two people have ever loved as they do, and that they will sacrifice absolutely anything in order to be together. And then marriage asks them to prove it.”
And it sure does —BIG TIME! It takes real intentionality not to allow “love” to evaporate as everyday reality invades the life we start building together after the wedding. We can get so involved in making life work for us. This causes us to forget to nurture the love we started with in the beginning. That’s what happened to us. (And it still can, if we aren’t careful.) But we woke up and participated, and continue to participate with Christ, to do better.
This is what we’ve learned as we work together to sustain a Christian purpose driven love:
“Marriage is not, mainly, about prospering economically. It’s mainly about displaying the covenant-keeping love of Christ and his church. Knowing Christ is more important than making a living, or bearing children. If we make marriage what God designed it to be, nothing can stand in our way. This covenant-keeping love between Christ and his church shines brightest when nothing but Christ can sustain it.” (John Piper)
This is so true! We couldn’t say it any better, ourselves.
Christian Purpose Driven Love
Somehow, there should be a difference in how love and marriage is lived out in the lives of those who claim to be followers of Christ. “Christian” marriages should look different —in a positive way. That doesn’t mean that they will be perfect. But they should be reliant upon God, who IS perfect. God will teach spouses how to live their lives together, if we look for Him to do so. As a result, we can be over-comers, rather than fellow participants in marital dysfunction.
On this note, author John Thomas points out:
“Sadly, most Christian marriages represent nothing more than re-packaged psychology and Hollywood nonsense wrapped in a few Bible verses. They hold a vision so low it’s no wonder half of them end in divorce.”
Furthermore, he writes what we have come to believe, as well:
“How I long for Christ-followers to experience the stunning views of God from the top of the peak of marriage! Unfortunately, most are stuck in the climb. They’re whining and complaining about not getting his or her ‘needs met,’ which is for each of them the highest goal of marriage.”
How low-sighted we can sometimes become, even as we claim to be follower’s of Christ! This should NOT be so!
The Question Is
So, we want to ask you the same question that Rob and Amy Rienow asked. “Is there any difference?” Is there any difference in how you approach marriage? Maybe there wasn’t in the beginning; but how about now? Is your approach “purpose driven” —is it GOD-driven?
If you don’t have that vision, we encourage you to ask God to give you one. He is waiting; there is no doubt. The vision God wants to give you for your marriage won’t look like anyone else’s. God uses us all in different ways. And it probably won’t look anything like what you thought it would.
We can sure attest to that. If someone had told us earlier in life that we would be leading an international ministry for marriages, we would have surely laughed (much as Sarah laughed at the thought of having a baby at her age). But God is full of surprises! And we’re so glad He is, because we count it a privilege to participate with Him in this awesome way.
And if you have a spouse who is a follower of Christ, and is willing to approach God with you to ask God for a vision for your marriage, God will surprise you too (in a different way).
Even if your marriage is in a state of disrepair, God specializes in helping us and making old things new, if we commit them to Him.
It’s like the lyrics to the song on the Featured Video:
“Love is not a place
To come and go as we please.
It’s a house we enter in then commit to never leave.
So lock the door behind you;
Throw away the key.
We’ll work it out together.
Let it bring us to our knees.
“…And if we try to leave, may God send angels to guard the door!
No, love is not a fight but it’s something worth fighting for.”
It’s certainly worth fighting for as you commit your life and your marriage to God’s purpose.”
And if you do this —especially together, we know that like us, you will find your own marriage MUCH more rewarding on a personal level. Plus, God can use your love to change the lives of those around you.
Above all, may your life, your love, and your marriage partnership be purpose-driven for God’s Kingdom redemptive work! And may God surprise you in His amazing ways!
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below to do so:
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