“Your spouse is meant to be your one safe place, an advocate and friend to whom you turn in despair and seek out in a storm.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 18, 2022
And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:21, NLT
Marriage is a “yes” to the lifelong journey of love, learning to love the other when we are both at our best, and when we are at our worst. Of course, early on in a relationship we do all we can to shield and conceal our shortcomings, seeking to put our best foot forward and win them over with our charm and kindness. And while hopefully these traits are sincere and genuine, they coexist alongside our worst selves, the parts of our hearts and lives that remain callous and cold, untouched by the transforming grace of God. And it is these parts, our beastly bits as well as our beauty, that we bring to our spouse, asking them to bear with us in love even as we do the same for them.
“Me for you and you for me” is the name of the game, a commitment that extends to every time, place, and situation. Mutual love, charity, and forbearance, loving just as we have been loved. When we are at our worst, a spouse sees within us the possibility of change, refusing to believe that this moment of failure is forever defining of our character or being. In a similar way, we must daily choose to look upon them through the eyes of grace, never holding their faults against them or storing them away as ammunition to use at a later date. When you are low, you know that they are there to lift you up, and when you see their burdens, you rush in love to lift them and carry them as your own.
The world is filled with unspeakable pain and brokenness, relationships that are built upon exploitation and deception, and places that heighten our anxieties and stoke our deepest fears and insecurities. With God as our helper and by his power at work within us, our marriages must be preserved and protected from these evils. Your spouse is meant to be your one safe place, an advocate and friend to whom you turn in despair and seek out in a storm. As St. John Chrysostom once said, “A good marriage is like a castle. When husband and wife truly love and respect each other, no one can overcome them.”
Where your marriage has failed to live up to this ideal, perhaps feeling less like a castle and more like borders breached by the enemy, look not to the faults of your spouse but double down on the way of humility and your own need for the mercy of God. As St. Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4). And as hard or impossible as it may be, choose to take concrete steps of love toward your spouse, daily choosing to seek their good and to speak life and hope over them through your words and deeds.
Father, teach me to love my spouse with the self-giving love you have shown to me, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
What is one concrete and tangible act of love you can make toward your spouse today to show them that you are for them and on their side?
The Innocence Mission: Look For Me As I Go By
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