When I first got married, we received this lovely wooden box and written inside was this beautiful poem. It said, marriage was like a box and how most people getting married believed a myth.
They believed love, romance, and companionship were things found in marriage, when in fact these things are actually found in people, and people infused these things into their marriage. Eventually if you took out more then you put in, your box would be empty.
I would daily look at that box and it would serve as a reminder to daily pour into my marriage. When I would take out, there was a sense of entitlement, after all I had infused whatever I took out into my marriage so I had every right to take out my fair share.
I remember keeping a running tab and account on how much my husband was infusing and putting it. It was terrible. Can you imagine the kind of wife my husband had to endure. Just thinking about how I behaved makes me sick.
I remember if he wanted to be intimate sexually, I would check our marriage box to see if he had infused romance lately and it had to be in the form that I approved. If he didn't read or pray with me, then he had no right to to tell me how to behave spiritually. If he didn't listen to me then I wouldn't listen to him.
Our marriage became this you scratch my back, I'll scratch your back kind of love. The only problem, I was so quick to point out when he wasn't scratching my back and therefore I would withhold scratching his.
How horrible to live this way. I was so judgmental, always pointing out his faults/failures as a man and leader of our home. We both were miserable.
I knew the scriptures, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love thy neighbor as thy self.
You see, It was not a love issue for me, I loved my husband. I loved him the same way and as much as he loved me.
Until one day, I was reading and the words of Jesus to His disciples really penetrated my heart so deep. They were the words in John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."
I was hit with the pondering truth of the love of Jesus. Jesus was calling me to a different kind of love. A gospel kind of love and If I was going to love my husband the way Jesus said to, then I would need to think about how he loved me.
This led me to the cross. The cross is where love was demonstrated and ultimately on display for all to see. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Scarcely, would one die for a righteous man but Jesus laid his life down willingly for the joy that was set before him.
He showed us what love is. He loves without condition, without reservation, and without wanting anything in return. His love is unconditional. This is gospel centered love.
Jesus love isn't a if you do this or that then I will love you, but rather nothing can separate us from the love of God neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What a glorious love indeed. I remember after reading and thinking about the way Jesus loved me the next question was , "Is this enough for me?" Was the way Jesus loved me enough to compel me to love my husband the same way, or would I continue to love my way, the way I had been, the "if you scratch my back, I'll scratch your back kind of way?" Was Jesus enough for me?
This is what it boils down to in marriage, it isn't about putting in–in order to take out. It isn't about serving to be served, loving to be loved, nor giving to get.
It's about sacrificially laying down your life, saying my life is yours. Marriage represents Christ and the Church, we wives represent the bride of Christ to an unsaved world. Therefore, the way we love our husbands shows the world our love to Christ.
The gospel in marriage changes our attitudes from a serve me attitude to a glorify God and love my spouse attitude.
The gospel is enough and until Jesus satisfies you, you will continue to love selfishly.
Contributing Writer for Keeper of the Homestead
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