Category: Marriage

Source of Power

People sometimes say, “My spouse has hurt me so deeply, I don’t know that I can ever love them again.” I understand that when the hurt is deep and the anger fresh, it seems that we cannot love. However, we must remember that God loved us while we were still sinners and sent Christ to die for us. You may say, “That’s God; not me. I can’t do that.”

If you are a Christian, Romans 5:5 tells us that God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. We have received the love of God and now we dispense His love to others. You can show God’s love to your spouse by the way you talk and by your actions regardless of your emotions. When you love, you reflect the character of God.

Reflecting God’s Character

The biblical concept of marriage is that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman to live together in mutual love and respect for the glory of God. Marriage is not about us. It is about God and His kingdom. God ordained marriage as the foundational unit of society. Marriage, done God’s way, creates the safest and best environment in which to rear children.

But not all couples follow the covenant principles of marriage. For example covenant marriage is based on steadfast love – looking out for the interest of each other. Seeking to encourage and support each other. Covenant marriages also require confronting and forgiving when wrongs are committed. If you find this difficult, remember God is our source of power for marriage and for life.

Reflecting God's Character

The biblical concept of marriage is that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman to live together in mutual love and respect for the glory of God. Marriage is not about us. It is about God and His kingdom. God ordained marriage as the foundational unit of society. Marriage, done God’s way, creates the safest and best environment in which to rear children.

But not all couples follow the covenant principles of marriage. For example covenant marriage is based on steadfast love – looking out for the interest of each other. Seeking to encourage and support each other. Covenant marriages also require confronting and forgiving when wrongs are committed. If you find this difficult, remember God is our source of power for marriage and for life.

As Christ Loves the Church

In Ephesians chapter 5, husbands are given two models as to how to love their wives. First, he is to love her as ‘Christ loves the church’. Which means that he takes the initiative to love her, even when she is not loving him. And, he is to love her even at the expense of his own life. He is to be looking out for her interests, seeking to meet her needs.

Secondly, he is to love her ‘as he loves his own body’. Most of the men I know are eating three meals a day, sleeping every night, and playing golf or other sports regularly. Yes, we take care of our bodies. What if, we invested as much time in meeting her needs as we do in meeting our needs? I think we would have wives who would respect us.

Taking Care of Yourself

For the Christian, service is a way of life. It is interesting that one of the five languages of love is ‘acts of service’. For some children and spouses this is their primary love language. Have you noticed that serving others is physically and emotionally draining? In order to love well, and long, we must take care of ourselves.

For physical health we need balanced patterns of sleeping, eating, and exercising. For emotional health we need self-understanding, love, a sense of purpose, and times of relaxation. Taking care of yourself is often the best thing you can do for your family. After all, Jesus said that we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

Less Dogma

If you have a silent spouse have you ever wondered why? One husband said, “it’s because every time I share an idea, she pounces on it and tells me how wrong I am.” His wife’s perspective was that she simply wanted the freedom to disagree when she thought he was wrong. What she did not realize was that she was striking at his self-esteem.

We discovered that if she would share her ideas in the form of a question rather than a pronouncement, he was less defensive. “What do you think about this perspective?” was very different from “I disagree with you. That’s simply not true.” Learning to share your ideas with less dogma may open the road to more meaningful conversations. It’s worth the effort. Give it a try.

Integrity Reborn

Can trust be re-born in a marriage? Yes, if integrity is re-born. Trust dies when deceit is born. When you lie to your spouse in order to cover-up some behavior, you have taken the first step in killing trust. A few more lies and trust will be destroyed. The only way to restore trust is to confess your sin, ask for mercy, and then re-commit yourself to telling the truth.

On the practical level this means that you must establish a new record of being trustworthy. Invite your spouse to investigate your behavior. Every time your mate discovers your actions matching your words, trust grows. It takes time, but you can become a person of integrity and your spouse can come again to trust you.

Love is Gentle

When a couple comes to the point of separation, it is usually with many negative emotions. The temptation is to express these emotions in harsh words and brutal attacks. Nothing pleases Satan more than to see two Christians fighting each other. God’s way is love in the midst of hurt. Christ loved us even when we were killing him.

The scriptures say, ‘love is not rude’. The opposite of rudeness is courtesy. The word means to be ‘friendly minded’ – to treat your spouse as a friend. There is nothing to be gained by arguing and screaming. “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1). Certainly you need to discuss issues, but not in the attack mode.

Kindness Expressed

In my book, Hope for the Separated, I’m bold to suggest that you should be kind to the spouse who has walked out on you. I know it doesn’t seem natural, but we are called to love our enemies, and love is kind. The word ‘kind’ means ‘to be useful or beneficial’. What can you say or do that would be useful or beneficial to your spouse?

If you are a husband who has left, there are scores of things around the house that you could do for your wife, if she is willing. If your wife has left you, you may still be able to do some things that are ‘beneficial’ to her. What is to be gained by not helping her? You can be God’s agent of love. Love, expressed in kindness, is often the first step toward reconciliation.

Love is Patient

Some people find it strange when I suggest that the greatest thing you can do for an estranged spouse is to love him or to love her. Yet, this is exactly what Jesus taught. We are to love even our enemies and we are to return good for evil. One of the ways in which you express love to a spouse who has walked out on you is by being patient.

The scriptures say, “love is patient”. Your marriage did not fall apart overnight and it will not be rebuilt today. Don’t set time limits for yourself or your spouse. Be patient with your spouse’s ambivalence. During separation people are often pulled in two directions:  On the one hand is the desire for reconciliation, on the other, there is the pain and hurt that says, ‘give up’. Patience is the first step toward love.