Summary: When it comes to love in our lives, we need to quit focusing on our feelings and instead focus on the mission. There are times in every relationship where you’re going to feel high levels of passionate love for one another. But there are also times when y
The Ministry of Christian Marriage
Les and Leslie Parrott tell the story of Jennifer and Michael. After graduating from college, they married and began their individual career pursuits- she as an account executive and he as a social worker. They had put off having children until they were more settled and financially secure. Now married for ten years, Jennifer began questioning her love for Michael. Love’s intoxication and passion had all but evaporated. “How can we have a baby when I don’t even know if I still love Michael?....I am closer to Michael than anyone but it feels like we are good friends rather than lovers.” Every marriage reaches a point when the love fires burn low and the passion has eroded. In times like these, questions can begin to arise about our marriage and our love for our spouse.
Here’s the mistake that most people make when it comes to love: they believe it’s about how you feel. We’ve all been there at the beginning of the relationship when eros or passionate love dominates your thoughts, efforts and time. It’s that spine-tingling, sensual emotion which draw us to one another. It encompasses the sensual and the sexual, and is characterized by physiological arousal and the desire for physical affection. And so love is looked at as how you feel. And when that feeling diminishes, people begin to think the love is gone. There’s the story of a woman and her husband who came to a pastor and said, "We’re going to get a divorce, but we want to come to make sure that you approve of it." Rather than giving his approval, the pastor said to the husband, "The Bible says you’re to love your wife as Jesus Christ loved the church." He says, "Oh, I can’t do that." The pastor says, "If you can’t begin at that level, then begin on a lower level. You’re supposed to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Can you at least love her as you would love a neighbor?" The husband says, "No. That’s still too high a level." The pastor says, "The Bible says, Love your enemies. Begin there."
When it comes to love in our lives, we need to quit focusing on our feelings and instead focus on the mission. There are times in every relationship where you’re going to feel high levels of passionate love for one another. But there are also times when you are going to feel that you’re not in love, passionate love, with your spouse anymore. The question becomes, “What are you going to do then?” Many couples pack up their bags and leave the relationship but the call of marriage is to much more. Christian marriage is a sacred calling for two people to live a lifetime of ministry one to the other. To be a Christian means to believe, to trust and to follow Christ. In other words, it means to place Christ first in your life and to seek to do his will above all others.
A Christian Marriage isn’t just about the husband and wife. What happens in many lives is that we are focused on ourselves. We live in the I-It realm where the people in my life are looked at as what they can do and provide for me. But the third part of a Christian marriage, Jesus, calls us to much more. Too often we’re not focused on the cross but on other things: our careers, our dreams, our hopes, our needs, our goals. As a result, you have one person going one way and the other person going another. You’ve seen this in your friends and families who have divorced and when asked why, they respond, “We just grew apart.” No, you didn’t just grow apart. You took small steps in individual directions which followed one after another until you were no longer the same people wanting the same things.