There are 2 simple words we say when we get married–“I Do.”
And for one entire day, our wedding day, most of us seriously mean it. We will do ANYTHING for our spouse. We will jump through hoops and give our lives up in a flaming building to save our newlywed’s life. We will be with them in sickness and in health. We will be by their side till death do us part. For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, we will be there.
Only one problem with this…tomorrow arrives.
Most of us enter into marriage with this preconceived notion that this is what we have been looking and waiting for our entire lives. This thing called marriage will completely satisfy. Our needs and wants will finally be fulfilled. However, we roll over in bed to discover that Mr. Wonderful is no longer so wonderful. And Mrs. Wonderful isn’t so great as well. Our spouses no longer live up to our expectations. We forget birthdays and holidays. We don’t feel like going out with them anymore. We selfishly schedule “our time” to do what we enjoy. Slowly over time, we find ourselves growing apart.
We ask, “How did we end up here?”
In order to put our marriages back on track, we need to look at them from a Godly perspective. What is the purpose of marriage? After all, it was God who created marriage when He created a helpmate for Adam. But why?
Genesis 2:23-24, “The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
There is something much greater going on here, greater than what we see through our earthly eyes.
We are created with this void inside of us. We spend our time trying to fill this emptiness with things of this world: fame, success, wealth, power, and even with our spouse. However, we often fail to realize that God placed this void inside of us for Him. It can only be filled by Him and this is why we have this innate desire to be in and to have relationships.
We long to fill this void.
Ecclesiastes 3:11, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
When we begin to stuff this hole with the things of this world, we quickly begin to lose perspective. We look to the things of this world to satisfy only to discover how discontent we are. When we have unmet expectations from our spouse, we no longer want to say “I Do,” and in turn respond by saying, “I Don’t.” Here’s what this may look like:
- I don’t want to be the first one to say “I’m sorry”
- I don’t want to sacrifice my time to do what my spouse enjoys
- I don’t want to admit that I’m wrong
- I don’t want to take the first step towards reconciliation
- I don’t want to be hurt or wronged anymore and quitting seems like the best alternative
Marriages crumble because we try to fill our void by looking for love in all the wrong places. However, God’s intention with marriage is much bigger and deeper and wider and grander than most of us realize.
Marriage is intended to be a reflection of our relationship with Jesus Christ. If you are struggling in your marriage today, imagine this: You are to display the love of Jesus Christ to your spouse as Jesus Christ has displayed to you. All of a sudden the tables are turned because you know in your heart of hearts that you don’t deserve the kind of unconditional and sacrificial love that Jesus has shown to you. He has forgiven you 70 times 70. He has pursued you despite your sinfulness. He has loved you when you were unlovable.
God’s purpose in marriage is to shift our focus from an earthly point of view to a heavenly one.
Marriage is a reflection of the covenant relationship that Christ has with the church, the body of believers. A covenant is based on unlimited liability and differs greatly from a contract. A covenant can never be broken. It is eternal and demands a high level of trust, whereas a contract can be modified or eradicated. When we talk about our earthly marriages, they should be a depiction of our position as the bride of Christ. We can love our spouse well because “Christ first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) We can forgive because “as far as the east is from the west so have our transgressions been removed from us.” (Psalm 103:12) We can take the first step towards reconciliation because Christ exemplified “turning the other cheek.” (Matthew 5:39).
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.” Ephesians 5:31-32
Are you struggling in your marriage today?
Ask God to fill your void with Him. Dig deep into scripture to find help for your current situation. Seek wisdom and understanding that can only come from Him.