Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today- February 26, 2011
“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” Ephesians 5:31
Even successful marriages are fraught with mistakes. Marriage lessons are learned by trial and error or trial and terror, as some husbands and wives have experienced. Indeed, successful marriages don’t just happen by chance. They are not created like a clock, to be wound up and never given attention.
You become one flesh in marriage, but in reality it takes a lifetime of hard work, forgiveness, love, and respect to enjoy oneness. One flesh implies unity of purpose. It is an alignment around beliefs and behavior, and if this is void in marriage, you become vulnerable to misplaced expectations and perpetual misery. Marriage requires at least as much work as work.
Hard work is a necessity for successful marriages. This seems obvious, but we tend to drift toward being spousal sluggards when we become intoxicated by apathy. However, hard work is the fuel that keeps a marriage moving forward. We see the fruit of hard work in our career and raising children, as it produces satisfaction and significance. But these results come from many hours of planning, communicating, training, and teaching. Indeed, your marriage is a direct result of the amount of effort you have expended.
Don’t expect a harvest of marriage success if the seeds of forgiveness, love, and respect have not been planted in the soil of humility and trust. Furthermore, the weeds of busyness have to be intentionally pulled out, before they choke out your love and friendship with your spouse. Busyness is the enemy of the best marriages, so labor toward a marriage with much margin. Robust marriages take time and trust.
Forgiveness in marriage means you take the time to say, “I was wrong” and “I am sorry,” and it means you take responsibility to confess your anger and selfishness. Moreover, it is the ability to not hold a grudge. God-like forgiveness forgives even before the offense has been committed (Colossians 3:13). It accepts apologies and does not bring up past hurts as a club of resentment. Forgiveness is the footers in the foundation of a successful marriage.
Above all else, successful marriages are made up of unconditional love and radical respect. No wife has ever complained of too much love, or a husband of an over-abundance of respect. Love is emotional, physical, and volitional. Husbands, you are to love sensitively, intimately, and willfully (Ephesians 5:25). Wives, respect your husband out of love and loyalty.
Make sure he knows you are with him and for him, no matter what. Respect is devoid of fear, so you trust your husband because he is accountable to God. Furthermore, marriage is your laboratory for Christianity because you learn to live for the Lord by learning to live for each other. You die to yourselves and come alive to each other. Marriage is your mirror of obedience to Jesus. Successful marriages reflect your oneness with your Savior. Be a marriage success as God defines success.
Taken from the February 26th reading in Seeking Daily the Heart of God.
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