Gary Thomas writes in his best-selling book, Sacred Marriage, “The idea that marriage can survive on romance alone, or that romantic feelings are more important than any other consideration when choosing a spouse, has wrecked many a marital ship.”
If your marriage is struggling or certainly not where you want it to be, how to save your marriage must start from a completely different place.
In my podcast last week, I talked about how easy and natural it is for all of us to point our love “arrows” inwardly and seek love for ourselves rather than outwardly pointing them as exampled by our creator. This is nowhere more evident than in relationships especially marriage.
How many times have you heard someone say or perhaps have even said yourself, “I am just not feeling it anymore.” “They have changed” or “I have changed.” “I do so much more than they do…” “It’s just not fair.” If you have ever heard or said these words, there is a strong chance that the relationship is not built on a solid foundation.
When you start to feel this way and/or your “romantic feelings” are slipping away and if you believe and follow popular philosophy as dispensed in TV shows, magazines and talk shows, you might find it easy to say, “Well if I feel this way…they must not really be my soul-mate.”
The idea that a healthy marriage is based at anytime upon how you feel does indeed set you up for a marital ship wreck and is not how to save your marriage. Here is the reason. Biblical love is based upon commitment, not feelings.
Can you imagine if God loved us based upon how HE felt about us at any given moment? I don’t know about you, but for me I might be in a heap of trouble. Furthermore, the concept of “grace” would be totally thrown out the window as well.
I like what Gary Thomas says when he poses this question, “What if God designed marriage to make us Holy more than to make us happy?” Okay, I can hear you saying “…well that’s a real encouraging question…and anyways, I just want to be happy!” Well if you want to become happy…really happy then become Holy!
To understand how, we need to look at the definition of the word, Holy. Simply put, Holy means “dedicated and devoted unconditionally to” another …most often God as in a Holy man. However, if you were Holy in your love for your spouse, you would put their needs above that of your own. In other words, you would love them unconditionally.
That especially means loving them when it isn’t fair…when they don’t deserve it and when the score card is 1000 to 1, when comparing your giving to their giving. You might say, “Why should I love them unconditionally?”
The answer is easy. Because that is how God loves you. He loves you regardless of how many times you screw up, regardless of how many times you are disrespectful, regardless of how many times you are self-consumed. Little-by-little…when we experience (are aware of) His incredible and unconditional love, we begin to change. We slowly and gradually want to do more for Him and to become more pleasing to Him.
This is exactly what happens when your spouse experiences YOUR “true” unconditional love. Even the hardest-of-hearts (often under the greatest deception) are…overtime… returned to their unhardened state when they are bathed in unconditional love. You may have heard it said that love conquers all…and it is so true.
This is how you save your marriage…the more holy you are in your love for your spouse the better your marriage will become permanently.
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