New York Times columnist David Brooks states three different lenses through which we can view marriage—the psychological, the romantic, and the moral. While all these are true, I believe that Brooks left out the most important lens: the spiritual. We’ve got to remember that God created the first marriage when He brought Adam and Eve together in the Garden of Eden. He pronounced His blessing upon their relationship with these profound words found in Genesis 2:24: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” At its core, marriage is a spiritual relationship.
Many would agree that love is a vital part of any marriage. What kind of love is everlasting? Secular love, as reflected in Hollywood entertainment, will ultimately lead to disappointment and a crushed heart. This kind of love basically asks the question, “What can you do for me today?” This selfish approach to love lends itself to manipulation and can get ugly in a hurry.
God never intended for any spouse to meet all of your needs. That’s something only Jesus can do. Read 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 together: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” This spiritual love allows your relationship to grow and be fruitful.
We desperately need spiritual love if our marriage is going to reach its full potential. When I counsel a young couple who is about to get married, I give them this definition—love is an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. Only the Lord can infuse this kind of selfless, sacrificial, and spiritual love into a relationship. Spiritual love asks the question, “What can I do to help you be the best you can be today?” Ministry to your partner is the emphasis. Is your marriage built on this spiritual love?
You will notice that spiritual love is action-oriented. Here are some simple actions that you can take to build life-giving spiritual love in your marriage:
- Put Jesus first in your relationship.
- Read the Bible and pray together.
- Make worship in one of our local churches a priority.
- Forgive your spouse when they disappoint you.
- Respect your differences.
- Spend quality time together.
- Encourage your spouse.
- Articulate your love on a regular basis.
- Guard your relationship like it is a priceless jewel.
I pray that you will incorporate the spiritual lens as you view your own marriage. May the Lord bless you, and keep you, your marriage, and your family!
Pastor Chuck Herring,
Collierville First Baptist Church