Summary: Everyone can survive and thrive in marriage if they love each other as the bible teaches love.
Every Marriage has highs and lows. My wife and I have been married now over
three decades. We have a good marriage. Most of those years have been spent working side by side in the ministry. We are with each other almost 24 hours a day. I __ would want it no other way. Yet, our marriage is not always on the mountain top.
We experience occasional valleys. I’ve pulled some major blunders in our time together.
ILLUSTRATION—Cleaning the house in Bentonville, IN. I was working a secular job along side of pasturing a small country church. I grew up in a very clean and well ordered home where each of us were taught to clean. I like it clean. My wife was also brought up in a very clean and orderly home, but she was not really taught to clean herself. This was a source of contention in my early marriage. One day, with two young boys in diapers needing attention my wife managed to clean the house particularly well. She did this for me, as she preferred the “lived in look.” When I came home she met me at the door, proud of her work and asked me “What do you think?”
I went into the house, looking as I walked, to see a clean home, but then I looked up at the living room chandelier, and rubbed my finger for the shade. “Dust!” was my reply. Man, I was in doghouse, and I knew it. This mistake on my part is one that 30 years later is still just below the surface. A huge mistake. However, appropriate, actions were taken, I was forgiven and our marriage, survived in good stead.
This is normal. You must expect it and hopefully you will prepare for the high’s and lows of married life.
One of the best ways to prepare for a good marriage is to learn what Christian love is and is not. At its best marriage is learning to live together in love like Christians are supposed to love, each other and the world. I once had a professor tell me that any man and woman who were truly Christians could have a successful marriage. That is a far cry from what many people think. They (young people especially) often think that love is something you fall in, like a mud puddle on a rainy day. Or they think that love is a “feeling you feel when you feel a feeling you’ve never felt before”. These feelings might be nice, but they are not what define Biblical love.
I. Biblical love is a commandment.
John 13:34—35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
A. Jesus did not give us commands that we can not obey.
1. However, it is common to hear married people say that they no longer love their mote.
They have “fallen out of love.” If that is true, then they probably do not understand what real love is all about.
B. Real love …
1.is a commitment
2. is a decision of the will.
Illustration: My wife and I made commitments to each other and to God to love one another and to take care of each other “until death do us part.” We aim to keep that commitment.
II. How love expresses itself.
A. Love is not limited to marriage.
1. For the Christian, love is to be a normal part of life.