Marriage isn’t always easy. Sometimes I think us ladies believe once we find, “the one,” then we blissfully ride off into the sunset where love is endlessly and perfectly displayed at all moments, and we live happily ever after.
Reality check. He’s not perfect, and neither are you. (Ouch!) So scratch the idea of longing for your spouse to make you happy all the time, and embrace the beautiful journey of marriage being a together pursuit of holiness.
In three weeks, my husband and I will be celebrating six years of marriage. (That actually sounds like a long amount of time to me!) We’ve been through some beautiful and joyous times, and we’ve also experienced some of the most trying and heartbreaking times. But one thing I’ve learned along the way is this: God calls us to love our husbands without expectations.
We don’t love for what we will get in return, but because loving our spouse brings God glory. In 1 John 4:19 it says, “We love because Christ first loved us.” We are to look to God’s standard of love, and do all we can to imitate it within our own marriage. And the love of Christ is unconditional. If you look up the definition of unconditional it means, “Not determined or influenced by something or someone else.” So if our aim is to love the way God has loved us, we must get rid of the idea that our husband must earn our love. We should realize that it’s actually sinful to insist he work for it in order for us to willingly give our love in return.
I know some marriages are messy, filled with damaging consequences of mistakes. Trust me, I’ve been there. The first year of marriage for Tanner and I was anything but pretty. And I know some of you are reading this thinking, “Oh but if you only knew what he did.” But please, don’t think that way. Remember Jesus. He loved you and I regardless of whether we reciprocated that same love in return. (As if it could even be matched!) He didn’t wait to love us until we proved we were worthy, He loved us just as we were. Messy. Sinful. Prideful. And marriage calls us to this same level of love in every season. Good or bad. So if you’re currently experiencing heartache in your marriage, now is the time to be brave, and lean on God for strength. He will be your help and your guide. Don’t dwell on the mistakes of your spouse day after day and allow time to cause your heart to become bitter towards him. Cry out to God for a heart that forgives mistakes, and one that finds healing from the hurt and pain. God is the
King of reconciliation, and through Him even the messiest marriages can be redeemed.
So clothe yourself in love. (Colossians 3:14) Give it generously, freely, and joyfully. Not for what you might get in return, but because it glorifies our wonderful God. Let your love display Christ so beautifully that even an unsaved husband might be won over without a word by your behavior. (1 Peter 3:1)