Love in Marriage

I have had my fair share of admirers…some secret and some not so secret… in fact I married one of them! But before I got married, I dated a few guys. One of these, I loved so much… there was a time in my life when this guy was my world- I would have and did anything for him, I would have given up everything for him. In fact I loved him so much that when ever we had a fight my heart will break it literally hurt. You can imagine how I felt when we broke up! Ouch! But for the longest time, the love I experienced in that relationship was my standard of what love should be- If I did not feel that “young love” with a guy, then it presupposed I did not love him and he was X’ed off my list.

Fast forward to about 10 years ago when I met my hubby- we connected right away but that “love” was not there. I kept waiting for the moment when that “young love” would kick in and it never came. I kept thinking well maybe when we get married it will come and frankly after all these years I’ve got nada! Oh I know you know I love my husband very much… He is my everything and owns every part of me and that is biblical okay? lol But you know sometimes I have wondered if I truly love him since I have not felt what I felt when I was much younger and in love. I have secretly pondered if I sold myself short on love and settled for the next best thing.

Many get into marriage with a perspective that mainstream media portray love in marriage to be- endless days of kisses and lovemaking, and getting along with this gorgeous human being who makes breakfast in bed only to be disappointed. Some start off with a whirlwind romance that sweeps them off their feet and expect that everyday of their marriage will look like that only to be disappointed. Or maybe you are looking for this person that you can be desperately in love with, be shamelessly infatuated with and hopelessly fawn over and he/she is simply not there or has disappeared since the I dos .

Over the past few years, God has been teaching me to change my perspective of what love is, particularly love in marriage, and here are a few of the things I am learning. Love in marriage:

is selfless– before I got married I read a book where the author described that the love in marriage should look something like so: that the wife seeks the best for the husband, seeks to please him, to make him fulfilled in every which way with no consideration for herself and the husband seeks the best for the wife, seeks to please her, and prioritizes her needs in every way- that selfless love will sustain them. This is a love that gives, that sacrifices and puts you first. Realistically, would you see this selfless love all the time? No because we as people are inherently selfish but with careful intentionality this selflessness can be more the norm in any marriage- For God so loved the world that he gave…

is sacrificial– do you have a spouse who makes you feel valued by giving you the best of their time, attention, worldly possessions and is not stingy with their affections? Are you the kind of spouse that does not give the leftovers of your time, attention, affection and possessions to the marriage? For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son… The price of love is costly, is precious, is “only begotten”… it is not leftovers. Sacrificial love does not have to involve anyone literally dying for you (although it is nice to know without a shadow of doubt that a person will literally take a bullet for you), It may look like a spouse putting away his/her devices to have a conversation with you and focusing on just you in that moment. It may look like a lavish getaway… It may look like taking the time to help you dry the dishes while you wash… What ever it looks like, it leaves you feeling valued, feeling like you are a priority, and someone’s #1 just as God made you his priority the day he gave up his only begotten son for you.

is rewarding- …that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Do you feel reciprocity in your marriage? Is there a healthy balance of give and take? Do you feel like you have someone who is always in your corner? A constant friend, and confidante, and someone you can complain to, celebrate both small and great things with, someone who accepts you warts, farts, and all? Marriage should not feel like punishment or a chore but it should feel like hard work and effort. Just as you have to believe to be saved and enjoy eternal life, the rewards of marriage do not just drop in one’s laps. Love in marriage, looks like a spouse who is putting in the effort to make the marriage work- it may look like forgiving indiscretions, investing in counselling when things get tough, being intentional in not giving the other reason for regret and going the extra mile to make sure the other person feels like they hit the jackpot when they got you. Marriage should leave you feeling like you are getting something out of it- a partner who steps into your life’s story and does life with you till your race ends. That, in and of itself is a reward.

So I conclude with a line from one of my favourite songs: How deep is your love? Happy Valentine’s day.

Yours Truly

Steadfast and Unfailing

As my husband and I celebrate another wedding anniversary, I think of one advice that I try to live by in my marriage.

To always keep my word no matter how small and mundane; this goes a long way to build trust

For instance, if I constantly promise to take out the trash and forget to do so, although it may seem insignificant, slowly my failure to keep my word will chip away at the foundation of trust that we have established; and soon my husband will start taking everything I say with a grain of salt.

I visualize trust like a long rope you give another person and with every time trust is broken, a piece of the rope is burned off  until there is nothing left and trust once lost and cannot be easily gained back.

Even with this visualization, I think how long the rope God has given me is! For the many times I have disappointed Him,  you’d think I’d have burnt through my rope years ago. However, a scripture comes to mind:

If we are not steadfast [trustworthy], he remaineth steadfast [trustworthy]; to deny himself he is not able. 2 Timothy 2:13 Young’s Literal Translation

God is steadfast, unwavering, and unfailing. Its His divine nature to never fail and to keep to His word. His thoughts and actions are consistent with His character which is to be steadfast and unfailing. He does not waver in His promises.

The greatest promise I made to my husband was in my wedding vows: to love him through everything. But even then, most times my love is conditional. On a day like today, when its our anniversary, I LOVE him! But who knows how I’ll feel tomorrow when it’s just an ordinary day! No wonder Micah said

Don’t trust anyone–not your best friend or even your wife! Micah 5:7 NLT (you need to read it in context though!)

I can be wishy-washy in my love. But not God! He is not wishy-washy about His love. He promised to love us with an everlasting love. A love that is steadfast and never fails. He promised this steadfast love will never cease and to guarantee this, He renews His love every morning so its fresh. He sees you like it’s the first time He is falling in love with you…. and then he loves on you all day… and in the morning His love resets and He starts all over again!  That’s my interpretation of this scripture:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness [trustworthiness, steadfastness] Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV

Oh I remember how it was like when my husband and I were dating! how fresh… how sweet that love was… but I digress…

So dear reader, as you set out to be intentional, I encourage you with this song:

This we know
We will see the enemy run
This we know
We will see the victory come
We hold on to every promise You ever made
Jesus, You are unfailing (Vertical Worship)

Dedicated to my loving husband….

Why marry a Godly person? Part 2

So a couple of days ago, I started this series; “Why marry a Godly person” to share what God taught me about the topic and one of my readers requested I finish it. So here goes… The second reason why we must not be equally yoked with unbelievers is a lot more abstract than the first; which was to build your house (marriage) on the rock.

I’ll attempt to explain the second reason from the scripture:

Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? James 4:5 NIV

When you became born again, God’s Spirit took up residence in your heart with a promise never to leave you or forsake you. This Spirit gives you the right to have a father-son/daughter relationship with God Himself!

And he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us. 2 Corinthians 1:22 NLT

So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15 NLT

God’s Holy Spirit in you is a guarantee that you will receive everything he has promised including eternal life (Read Ephesians 1:14). In other words, God does not take the deposition and disposition of his Spirit in us lightly. He jealously longs after his Spirit. Dare I say, He jealously guards and watches over his Spirit in you. Now what has this got to do with marriage?

Sex is a spiritual transaction that unites body, soul, and spirit. It is why two become one in marriage. Unfortunately, that equation works whether the union is between two married christians, or a one night stand, or a believer-unbeliever duo. The only force, strong enough to undo the transactions of sex, is the Word of God. Remember the Word of God divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow…. so if you have had multiple sexual partners, all is not lost… but I digress.

As I was saying, whenever there is a sexual union, there is an exchange that has the potential to contaminate your spirit; the new Spirit that God Himself has given you; the Spirit of Redemption, the Spirit that he jealously yearns for. And God does not like that. So now in the light of this, lets read the anchor scripture from which this discussion stems:

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 2 Corinthians 6:14 – 7:1 NIV

Why marry a Godly person? Part 1

When it comes to marriage, I consider myself a bit of a novice since I’ve only been married for a minute; so I generally tend to stay away from dishing out marriage advice. However, a few weeks ago, God taught me something I’d like to share.

So the question today is, “Why is it important to marry a Godly person?” The obvious answer is because the bible says we should not be equally yoked with unbelievers… and rightly so! But why? Two answers. The simpler answer: FOUNDATION

This brings to mind a parable: the parable of the wise and foolish builders. At the risk of oversimplification, it is said that the wise man built his house on rock and when the rain and wind beat upon the house it remained firmly planted. The foolish man, on the other hand, built his house on sand and that house could not withstand the forces of nature (Matthew 7:24-28).

Jesus is our firm and solid foundation; a foundation described as the rock on which we build our lives, our loves, our hopes, our dreams. A christian whose heart is sold out in obedience to the word of God brings a foundation that is solid rock to a marriage. The unbelieving partner brings sand.

But the wicked [ungodly, unbeliever] are like a surging sea that is unable to be quiet; its waves toss up mud and sand. Isaiah 57:20 NET

Here’s the simple mathematics:

Rock + Rock = a firm, sure, and solid foundation for a house (marriage) that will stand the test and trials of life.

Rock + Sand = a potentially unstable foundation for a house (marriage) with an uncertain future.

Let me tell you a parable of my own…

There was once a little piggy that built her house with sand and the big bad wolf came and huffed and puffed and blew her house down. But her sister was wiser. She built with rock so when the big bad wolf (satan) came, he huffed and puffed… and huffed and puffed.. and huffed and puffed… but could never blow the house (marriage) down. And I know this because…

For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11 NIV