Summary: “Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way” 1 Cor. 13:4-5.

Theme: Love does not demand its own way

Text: 1 Cor. 13:4-7

True love does not demand its own way. This love does not seek to gain but to give. It is a love that is concerned about meeting the need of the other person. This love is only possible when God is in control of your lives. It is this love that builds a bridge of understanding and maintains the marriage relationship. We often hear of bridges collapsing during heavy rains and storms but many of these bridges do not collapse because of the rains. They collapse because the pillars that support them are not strong enough. Every bridge is only as strong as the pillars that support it. In a similar manner, a happy, successful and fulfilling marriage needs pillars of support to be able to withstand whatever storms that may come up. It needs the pillar of security, which is the assurance of committed love and commitment to the truth. It needs the pillar of meaningful communication. But the most important pillar upon which all the others depend is the pillar of spiritual intimacy with God.

Today you have laid this most important pillar by covenanting to involve God in every aspect of your marriage. A successful marriage is not a matter of chance and the secret that ensures a successful marriage is the covenant. Faithfulness to this covenant by meeting God’s conditions ensures the success of the marriage relationship. Once this secret is forgotten or ignored, marriage inevitably loses its sanctity and thereby also its strength. Beloved, you have just entered into a covenant, a covenant that gives to marriage strength and stability not otherwise possible. It is a covenant initiated by God Himself, Who defines the terms on which He is prepared to enter into this relationship. In God’s sight this act of making a covenant is no empty ritual. It is a solemn and sacred commitment. Marriage is sacred and should be kept that way. You cannot understand everything that God has prepared for you in marriage; much less achieve it by your own efforts. You must allow the Lord to teach and guide you.

The covenant of Christian marriage begins when each of you lay down your life for the other and holds nothing from each other. Christian marriage is a merger and not a partnership and everything the husband has is for the wife and everything the wife has is for the husband. The husband lives his life through his wife and she becomes the expression of who he is. Likewise the wife lives out her life through her husband and he becomes of who she is. The marriage covenant leads to a shared life and fruitfulness and each party has a special contribution to make. It is noteworthy that in every passage of the New Testament dealing with mutual obligations of marriage, the writer always begins with the woman. It appears that the woman is the pivot upon which the whole relationship turns. In the marriage relationship, the wife’s submission to her husband is a unique role responsibility, a high and holy standard. Submission is to cooperate voluntarily with someone else out of love and respect for God and foe that person. This attitude of submission is the characteristic of all believers who are to submit to each other in the fear of Christ. Husbands are responsible to ‘live with their wives in an understanding way’. No person is really easy to understand and a lot of energy, thought and prayer are needed to understand another person. It is the husband’s responsibility to get to know the marriage partner in the biblical sense and them to live with her in the light of that understanding. Such a husband will protect, respect, help and stay with his wife. He will be sensitive to her needs, and he will relate to her with courtesy, consideration, insight and tact.

The two basic problems marriages face is lack of consideration and lack of sensitivity in one or both parties. The world often promises and presents a more glamorous life that is usually more shadow than substance and by pursuing this illusion couples can easily lose the substance of marriage. We may laugh at Aesop’s fable about the dog and his shadow but this is a frequent real life experience for many people. The fable is about a dog with a piece of meat in its mouth. While crossing a river on its way home, it saw its own shadow reflected in the stream below. Thinking that it was another dog with another piece of meat, it resolved to make himself master of that also. But in snapping at the supposed treasure, it dropped the treasure it was carrying, which immediately sank to the bottom and could not be recovered. Beloved never let go of the substance of marriage by grasping at shadows and illusions. Show constant appreciation and thankfulness for each other by noticing everything that is good, whether small or great, and expressing your appreciation for it.

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