2002-01-09 - Christian Marriage ~ Relationships
Luke 1:6 And they were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.
Any relationship is hard to sustain on a close and personal level and it seems the closer the relationship, the tougher to sustain. It can be very easy to seek revenge when we feel like we have been wronged. Take the example of a married overseas pilot who was keeping a mistress in London while his wife was in the United States, knowing nothing of the affair. When the pilot asked the mistress to move out of his London apartment, she asked for some time to pack her things. When he returned from a two day overseas flight, he found that his phone was off the hook, but had been connected the entire time he was gone to the speaking clock in Washington D. C.
Sometimes we even slight ourselves to get back at our close relationships, thinking that our pain or sacrifice will cause them pain. Therefore, we suppose we will exact our revenge for the way we feel we have been treated, by causing them pain also. An example of this is the woman who found out that her husband was being unfaithful. In response she decided to kill herself by jumping out of their third-story apartment window to the concrete below. However, her husband was walking below as she jumped, and she landed right on him. She survived, he did not.
These two stories are at best sad humor, but they emphasize, I hope, that marriage is a struggle This is why I love the story of Zacharias and Elizabeth, parents of John the Baptist, which we find in Luke 1. They were both righteous in the sight of God. They both walked blamelessly and they both fulfilled the will of the Lord. It was clearly a partnership. Can you see one of them encouraging the other when the one is down and struggling? I can. Can you see them edifying and building each other up in the Lord? I can. Two people, with one interest, serving and following the Lord.
The first thing in marriage, of course, is that two people set their love upon each other. This is the easy part. The hard part is loving your choice. This why a strong walk with the Lord, both as individuals and together, is so important. Our duty to the Lord is first because without walking with the Lord, we will struggle to walk in holiness with our spouse. But this is a principle that is true in every relationship that we find ourselves in. We must first seek to be people of holiness, and from that flows all the other things in our lives. However, in a marriage, holiness or a lack of holiness will show its fruit all the more powerfully.
While the secrets to a good marriage or good relationships in life are really not all that complicated, applying them is a quite a bit more complicated. We treat others as Christ has treated us. In marriage and family, there has generally been the additional understanding, that the closer the relation, the closer the obligation. So we have more obligation to love as Christ has loved us, when the relation is a closer relation. But the principle does not change. We respond to those around us in love because Christ has loved us first. As we read in Galatians 2:20, "I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me."
Sometimes in any relationship, we need to think about how Christ has treated us before we speak and act, and maybe there is no place where this is needed more than in a marriage. But by God's grace, we can learn to love as Christ loves us, and even in time, we can learn to become more and more like Christ in our close relations.
"Marriage is both honorable and onereable." George Swinnock
Soli Deo Gloria,