We read something recently, which stood out to us. The authors (Rob and Amy Rienow, who wrote 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 opposed to those who do not consider themselves followers of Christ. In marriage, do we hold onto 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.
“We believe they’re right. You see, we weren’t Christians when we got married and so we can’t look back and think of how spiritual our answer would have been if a minister asked us such a question. Our answers probably would have centered around phrases such as, ‘We love each other’ … ‘He/she ‘completes’ me’ … ‘I can’t imagine living my life without him/her.’
“Those are the same answers many Christians would give. But eventually most of us get to the place where we’re all in the same boat —Christians and those who don’t know Christ in a personal way, as far as the demands love requires of us after we marry.”
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 take a dive as real life invades the life we start building together after the wedding. We can get so involved in making life work for us. It causes us to forget to nurture the love we started with in the beginning. That’s what happened to us. That is… until we participated and continue to participate with Christ to do better. And that’s what happens to too many other marital “partners” —both Christian and non-Christian.
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. I don’t mean that they will be perfect. But they should be relying upon God, who IS perfect. God will teach them how to live their lives together, so they can be over-comers, rather than fellow participants in marital dysfunction.
It’s true what 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, with a vision so low it’s no wonder half of them end in divorce.”
Furthermore, he goes on to write what I 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!
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 hope you will ask God to give you one. He is waiting; we have no doubt. The vision God wants to give you for your marriage probably 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 before you earnestly sought His leading.
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 in asking God for a vision for your marriage, we have no doubt that God will surprise you too.
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 Fight.”
“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
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