“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25)
Today, my wife, Karen and I celebrate 28 years of marriage. We met in high school and dated for several months before going our separate ways. Who would have known that ten years later we would be married. I can say with certainty that at the point in which we were married, both personally and in marriage, I had a different set of priorities than I do now. It’s not that those priorities were necessarily bad, they just weren’t the best because they weren’t centered on a relationship with Christ. In fact, I didn’t have a relationship with Christ and for a long time my priorities remained elsewhere. It is impossible for a man to lead his family in the way God intends when his life is not centered on Jesus Christ. Thankfully, in God’s perfect timing and only by His grace our marriage now has a different center. My prayer is that it will always remain that way.
There’s no human covenant more important than the covenant of marriage. It is also a covenant in need of an extra measure of God’s grace. I believe this to be the case for a couple of reasons: First, marriage is constantly under attack because of what it represents. The apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:32 that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. Secondly, marriage is made more difficult due to the closeness of the relationship. Is there anyone more uniquely qualified to point out your faults than your spouse? I doubt it. No matter where any of us may be in our walk with Christ, marriage is tough. Let’s be clear though, it’s not tough because God created it or intends it to be that way. It’s tough because we’re sinners. Too often as humans, we take God’s Word and remind others what they should be doing, all the while ignoring what He might be saying to us. I believe this tendency is even greater when it comes to our spouses. Husbands, God’s command is clear, our wife’s needs, as God defines them are to be our goal. We are to love her sacrificially, just as Christ loved the church. And by the way, this command is not conditional on how she responds.
I know it’s impossible to love Karen, my bride, as Christ loves His. But that doesn’t lessen His desire or expectation that I do so. Therefore, it shouldn’t lessen mine. This means I’m left to rely on God’s strength instead of my own because in my own strength I will fail. I have failed. For any marriage to be as God designed it to be requires that our relationship with Him be the one we treasure most. A relationship with Christ has the power to change all other relationships.
I thank God for His grace for the times I’ve failed to love Karen as He would have me love her. I’m sure I’ll need more grace along the way. I thank God for Karen. The years have flown. Like all marriages, ours has been far from perfect, but I am so thankful she’s my wife. After 28 years, she’s more beautiful than ever. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for our future. Happy anniversary sweetie! I love you!