This past weekend, my husband gave me the best gift a wife could ever ask for! It wasn’t the huge box of chocolates or the gorgeous wedding canvases he bought for me. (Although those were terrific gifts!) Rather, it was the time we spent together, learning about each other and about our wonderful creator. What was so wonderful about this gift? He invested in our marriage. Together we attended Weekend to Remember at the Hershey Lodge. This event is promoted by FamilyLife, a Christian based organization focused on enriching marriages and families based on biblical truths.
Following a weekend of scripture based principles, quality time in prayer and discussion we feel refreshed and equipped to engage in a Christ-centered relationship. We’ve learned that we are two very different people and in order to make our relationship last, we need a Savior.
In a world where couples are taught “marriage is 50/50” or “you do your part, and I’ll do mine”, it’s no wonder a large majority of relationships are destined to “self-destruct”. We are left feeling disappointed as we fail our spouses and our spouses fail us.
This past weekend led us to ponder the question: What if marriage is about more than just your happiness?
Read Genesis 1:27. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” Now consider this: “Marriage was designed by God and is defined by God.” And, “Marriage is at the center of God’s purpose for mankind.”
Unfortunately, when sin entered the world, God’s perfect plan for marriage was destroyed along with everything else. And as a result, we see broken relationships, couples with unrealistic expectations for one another, and spouses drifting toward isolation.
Not only does our culture cause our daily interactions with one another to suffer, but we see a negative impact in the bedroom. Our unrealistic fantasies driven by Hollywood have tainted the special bond between husband and wife. Intimacy, a gift from God, has been contaminated, made into something that is dirty and grotesque. Our culture’s ideal fantasies pollute our television sets, bookshelves, and movie theaters. Our ideas of love making are altered by the underwear models who strut across our television sets during a commercial break. Intimacy becomes a planned out event by the newest fad of erotica, such as 50 Shade of Grey. I am heart-broken that God’s design for intimacy has been twisted in such an ugly way.
I was reminded this weekend that intimacy was part of God’s good design. Look into the book Song of Solomon for a real love story. God doesn’t hide the fact that intimacy will happen between a husband and wife. In fact, he shares the story of King Solomon and his wife as an example of marital intimacy. Love was not meant to be contaminated or harmful, rather beautiful and God-honoring.
Marriage is not a right, but a privilege. I’ve learned in order to make my own marriage not only work, but thrive, I must give to my husband extravagant love (1 Thessalonians 4:9), generous forgiveness (Colossians 3:13), and enthusiastic encouragement (1 Thessalonians 5:11). My prayer is that we would continue to love and serve one another as instructed in Ephesians 5:25-33, and that in our service to one another we might understand the love Christ has for us.
Ephesians 5:32 “This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.”
Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Below I’ve included a few resources that Josh and I have recently found helpful in our own marriage. May you or someone you know also find these helpful. And if you have any favorite books or conferences, please do share!