Love and Serve in Marriage

 

Marriage Happy Sign Married Love

“…so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him….” John 13:4-5 

All too often in marriage, we start off fine, but something happens. We get disappointed or hurt, then we stop. We stop being loving. We stop placing the other first. We stop putting in the effort. We stop the excitement and anticipation. We stop helping. We allow our disappointments to consume us and move away from what God has for us to what we can do to make it worse. What is left, is costing on what we may have had, without refueling or repairing, until it all starts to come apart and fail. What we need is a reboot!

The end of Ephesians 5 gives us a picture of walking in healthy relationships that seems like foolish, archaic and abusive to a worldly perspective.  Yet, provides a great reboot to any marriage. We have to have a chain of authority to keep structure and order, or you will have chaos and dysfunction. We have to see the importance of love and respect. How to love and how to esteem each other. This also helps us look to God and accept His authority over all and our lives.  Consider that, everyone is in submission, even the president of the United States is supposed to be held to account by the people and Congress and the Supreme Court. Within God’s plan is a structure and call to help us make it work, and work well. Below is an application of this structure that will improve your marriage, no matter how good or bad you may be doing.

Here is a great way to vastly improve any home or marriage situation. First, read Ephesians chapter four and five. Then be in prayer, Lord, how can I push my pride and hurt away and place you more in my life? Lord, how can I be more like you in my marriage and family?

Now consider these time-honored relationship treasures:

  • As Christ served us, see how you can be the biggest servant in your home? Remember, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe did, how about you (John 13:1-17)?
  • As Christ loved us, see how you can be the biggest “lover” in your home? (Mark 10:45; John 15:12; 1 Cor. 13; Eph. 5:25)?

In marriage, it is not about what can I get out of it, it is about what can I put into it! This is the true Christian model, by Christ’s example. It is not about focusing on my hurts or past experiences, or what they have done or do not do; rather, it is about surrendering my pride and forgive and move forward. Then we can step up and be the person who loves and serves, even when we do not feel like it or think they deserve it. As, none of us deserve Christ’s grace; Yet, we received it anyway. That is why it is grace undeserved. Have grace for your spouse! The more we love and serve the better chance they will catch it too.

Questions to help you realign yourself up to God’s call in marriage:

  1. What does unconditional love mean to you? Can you give an example? Have you ever felt or experienced it? Have you ever given it?
  2. How is my attitude about serving? Does it line up to Christ?
  3. Is Christ leading my family, or am I seeking to lead Him?
  4. God created something special in your family, what can you do to rekindle into a great relationship that glorifies our Lord?

Remember, real love is Sacrificial!

© 2017, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. www.thisismarriage.org

Is the most important thing in a marriage, love?

Most people assume that love is the most important thing in a marriage, or the most important reason to get married!

You will frequently hear people in TV, in the movies, out on the streets of life and even in the church saying, I do not need to work on love and relationships, it will just happen. And, if not, it was not meant to be, and I can get out of it if it does not work out.

How sad that philosophy is!

But, when you carefully examine love from the Bible, you will find that it is a choice over and against any feeling or aspiration of what we may want it to be or mean (Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10; 5:8-13).

Love is a choice that also happens in a seemingly magical and metaphysical way, as poets have tried to explain it throughout the millennias. But, is that it?

1 Corinthians 13The Bible tells us that love is more than a feeling; it has segments and characters to it. Love is also a choice, a decision that must be perused and worked on. In our human mind, we may see it as magical, as if it “just happened,” but, without pursuing its true meaning and character, it will dispel and waste away. So, when we do receive that spark of love that we cannot explain, to keep that magic, that romance, that spark going requires us to do something about it.

If we do not work on it, the spark that was once there will vanish as quickly and as suddenly as it came. It will fade into the night, leaving us in the darkness of the maze of relationships, lost and confused. The way we keep that flame from blowing out is our understanding and modeling the character of love. So, as it becomes contagious and spreads, it flames and excites, burns and grows, so the winds of the ups and downs of a relationship will not blow it out!

God’s love must be our model for life. It must flow into us from Christ, and in return flow out from us to those around us. God’s love is the ultimate power for the Christian.

Remember; “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant.” (NAS) What love is not is as important as what love is! Be aware that we will be held accountable and even judged on what we do not do or refuse to see when sin and pride are in the way (Matt. 23:27; Luke 19:42)!

“Why, we’re in Love”

If you ask most couples who are thinking about marriage, or who are already engaged, why they are getting married, they usually will say: “Why, we’re in love.

It has been through studying the Word, plus, over twenty-five years of pastoral counseling experience, that has prompted me to question the validity of this motive. Yes, love is essential and powerful!

However, if that is all you have, you will end up with nothing!

The number one mmarriage distake people make when they date is to look just for love. The number one mistake married couples make is thinking that their love is all they need. This puts their brains “on hold” from everything else. Yes, love is putting the precepts of 1 Corinthians 13 into action, but most people, including Christians, do not even know what real love is!

Choosing a life partner should never be based on love alone. A marriage cannot last on love alone. This may sound like crazy talk, but think it through. Have you ever seen a relationship work with just love? No, not for movie or TV stars who have everything going for them, not for the singers who sing about it, and not even for the Beatles! Because, they do not know what love is, nor do they really put it into practice.

We do not necessarily fall in love as the love songs and movies proclaim, because, you may well fall out of it, faster than you fell in it!

If you never choose to make it a commitment, with love, you will never have it, or, if you do, you will not keep it! Love is a verb; it requires action that is implied for being a verb, action to do something with it. What are you doing with it? Is it cherishing? Is it respectful? Or? Are the precepts of 1 Corinthians 13 being put into action with your friends, family, acquaintances, and your spouse?

If not, what is in the way of that verb action?

Have you ever known some to get married to someone they did not love?

Most, if not all, people who get married do it for love, yet, according to most statistical evidence, fifty percent will divorce in less than five years. The Christian divorce rate is less, about 28%.

So, what happened to the love?

If love is all we need, should not it have worked? Why did it not work? Because, there never was ‘real’ love, they misunderstood what love is, or, they had nothing but love. Perhaps they let that spark of love flame out in neglect, so that there was a huge vacuum in their relationship!

Love should not be the horse in front of the cart. Love alone cannot influence a relationship. Love needs to be a result, not a cause, for getting married. Love is the result of a good marriage, not the fuel to make it. Love is an attitude that is followed by action; when this does not happen, love will sit and go nowhere.

God’s love must be our model for life. It must flow into us from Christ, and in return flow out from us to those around us.

God’s love is the ultimate power for the Christian. We are to be fueled and empowered by love in all situations. Christian love is the turning of our backs to self-concerns, and facing our neighbors. It is the surrender of our will to His. Because, if love does not take us beyond our self-interests, then what we have is lust, not love! As the passage of 1 Corinthians 13:3 would say, we become just a noise that has no reason or purpose.

Our model? Out of true love, God the Father gave us His Son, and the Son gave His life in replacement for ours. The Son sent the Spirit to save us, and we should be literally overwhelmed-consumed–with extreme joy and gratitude for what God has done for us.

Is the Love in you?

You can have better!

heart

You can have better! 

The marriage God has for you may not be the one you are in right now!  No, I am not talking about leaving; I am talking about cleaving.  What He has is greater than your vision, your past, your hurts, what you have right now, or even what you think you want.

The world tells us that being in love virtually guarantees a perfect marriage; this idea encourages us to follow our hearts.  Is this true?  Does this work?  Is it biblical?

Are we ready to really follow our hearts?  Does the heart’s desire equal what is best?  Is there something we can do to help our heart be content and not be led into what is false or dysfunctional?

What about my heart?  Because our hearts are corrupted with sin and can lead us to what is false, actions based on the heart alone can result in indecision, unpredictability, inconsistency, shallow, and ever-changing desires that lead us in multiple wrong directions and blind us to what is better and more fulfilling.

So, how will we be led in the right direction (Psalm 37:4; Proverbs 23:7; 27:19; Matthew 15:19)?

The call to Love one another applies first and foremost to your spouse.

This means sacrificial, unselfish, determined love; the change Jesus makes in John 13 is from “neighbor” to “one another” to make sure the theme is community. Our change is from seeing our spouse as the opponent to the partner, from the problem to the focus of our love. Love confirms the genuineness of Jesus and us as followers! This is also a template on the importance and value of friendships and building an effective church!

(Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27; John 13:34-35; 15:12, 17; Romans 12:10; 13:8; 14:13; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; 4:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:11, 3:22; 4:8; 23; 4:7, 11-12; 2 John 1: 5)

The prime purpose of marriage is to grow us closer to the love and the Person of Christ and His Likeness.

The call to Love one another is Agape, which means “self giving” and “sacrificial”. Agape love is more concerned with others than self. We are to be more concerned with our spouse than ourselves.

  1. What would your marriage look like when you are pursuing love in the midst of your toil? How is this the irrefutable mark of a true follower of Jesus Christ?
  2. What and how do you think will help you lead your marriage in the right direction? What can you do to not seek to control your spouse, but rather trust in Christ?
  3. Do you know that your justification in Christ is sealed and more valuable than you will ever know? How does this affect your righteousness and purity?

How will this build your marriage?

When we love one another, we prove and exhibit Christ!

 

You can have better!

 

The marriage God has for you may not be the one you are in right now!

No, I am not talking about leaving; I am talking about cleaving. What He has is greater than your vision, your past, your hurts, what you have right now, or even what you think you want.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:12-13

The world tells us that being in love virtually guarantees a perfect marriage; this idea encourages us to follow our hearts. Is this true? Does this work? Is it biblical? Are we ready to really follow our hearts? Does the heart’s desire equal what is best? Is there something we can do to help our heart be content and not be led into what is false or dysfunctional?

What about my heart?

Because our hearts are corrupted with sin and can lead us to what is false, actions based on the heart alone can result in indecision, unpredictability, inconsistency, shallow, and ever-changing desires that lead us in multiple wrong directions and blind us to what is better and more fulfilling. So, how will we be led in the right direction (Psalm 37:4; Proverbs 23:7; 27:19; Matthew 15:19)?