Summary: This is a simple message that looks at the sure-fire way to rebuild a marriage... if we do what it says.
One of the things you can almost always count on, when reading a children’s stories, is the well known line at the end; “And they lived happily ever after…”
We see our heroes riding off into the sunset with nothing but clear skies up ahead.
Well, that’s a fairly tale for you. Reality isn’t quite like that.
The reality is, as we’ve seen in the past two weeks, that after a period of time things tend to fall apart.
Like a house that needs continual care to keep it up, so also a relationship needs continual care.
If the house is neglected things deteriorate – just like a marriage.
When things fall apart some people choose to get rid of it and start all over. Many marriages have been destroyed with this line of thinking. All they see are problems and they think the problems will go away if they can just get out of the relationship and get into a new one.
Problem is, the problems don’t go away. Why? Because the mind-set we have stays with us – and it’s our mind-set that gets us into trouble in the first place.
Then there are others who know that they can not divorce. They’re not going to do it no matter what.
Some of these couples may be living together but they are about as far apart as the prodigal son and his father – miles apart.
Wednesday night someone in our study group was sharing how they know of a couple who haven’t talked together in years, yet they share the same house.
They are like the couple who own a house that is falling apart and simply learn to live with it.
Kind of reminds me of the couple who was having marital difficulties. What compounded things were the facts that on top of his marital problems, the man was having trouble at work, he was having trouble with his creditors, and he was having trouble with his neighbors. Finally, in desperation, he told his wife that his dog was his only true friend. And then, perhaps hoping to renew his relationship with his wife he added that everyone needed at least two good friends. His wife responded by getting him another dog.
Some married couples will spend their lives living under the same roof, sharing the same bed, but being completely dissatisfied and disassociated with one another. They know that going their separate ways is both contrary to God’s plan and harmful to their children, so they tough it out. That’s a fairly noble endeavor. And I applaud them for that. But they could do better. Rather than simply get out of the relationship and look for something new; and rather than simply putting up with a dissatisfying relationship; there is a better option – to rebuild the relationship.
The problem is, rebuilding takes a lot of work and effort – but it is worth it.
Take a look at this photo. [show photo] This is a Porsche. It might not look like one, but that’s what happens when something is neglected. But the truth is, it’s still a Porsche! Here’s what the inside of a similar Porsche looks like when it is new. [show photo ]Quite a difference! That’s what happens in marriages. It starts off beautiful but unless it is taken care of, pampered, it deteriorates.
The good news is that restoration is possible. It really is – but not without hard work.
To find out how, we go to the book of Revelation.
In Revelation 2 Jesus is talking about the church in Ephesus which had hard working people in it. People who wouldn’t tolerate wickedness, people who have persevered and endured hardships. But over the years, these people drifted away from God. That which was beautiful became tarnished.
And the scripture we’re going to look at has nothing to do with marriage – except for the fact that the steps Jesus outlines for restoring a relationship with Him are the same steps we need to follow if we want to restore a relationship with our spouse.
So while we’re going to look at this as a means to restore a marital relationship, we need to keep in mind that these steps are first and foremost about restoring our spiritual relationship.
And this is what Jesus said on restoring a relationship: “You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first…”
The answer is right there – putting it into practice is another story.
1. Remember From Where You Have Fallen
When it comes to a marriage that has gone wayward, the first thing we need to do is remember where it was we came from. Think back to your wedding day. Replay it in your mind. Where did you get married? What were you wearing? What was it like? How did you feel when you saw your spouse inside the church (if it was in a church)? How did you feel about your spouse? What was it about him/her that grabbed your heart? What hopes and dreams did you share?