Love Like Jesus–Stay Married

Marriage Christian Love Like Jesus“When I married my wife, I had hardly a smidgen of sense for what I was getting into with her. How could I know how much she would change over 25 years? How could I know how much I would change? My wife has lived with at least five different men since we were wed–and each of the five has been me.

The connecting link with my old self has always been the memory of the name I took on back there: “I am he who will be there with you.” When we slough off that name, lose that identity, we can hardly find ourselves again.” -Lewis Smedes

How Jesus Loved People

Jesus stayed married. Jesus loves us, by staying married, to His bride. When Jesus died on the cross, he entered into a covenant relationship with you and with me. He said to us, You are My bride, and I am your Groom, and I will never leave you or forsake you–ever. (Mathew 28:20, Deuteronomy 31:8)

Jesus did that even though I’m not a very attractive bride. I am on the better end of the relationship, without question. Jesus sacrificed his position in heaven with his Father to dwell here on earth, for me. He endured the ridicule of society, for me. He endured unjust accusation and conviction in the courts, for me. He endured the scourging with the cat of nine tails, he endured the thorny crown, he endured the nails penetrating his limbs, he endured the cross and the shame, for me. He endured all that for His bride’s benefit–for my benefit, and for yours. He gave himself for our relationship. And what do I contribute, to our relationship? What little good I do doesn’t begin to compare with His contributions. And the bad I do: so often, I do things that are unattractive to my Groom.

But still: He said He will never leave me nor forsake me. And He’s One who does what He says He’ll do.

Love Like Jesus

We live in an age of consumerism, and consumerism permeates everything in our Western culture, including marriage. Many today conform the marriage relationship to our culture, and define marriage in terms of economics. So many today are marrying for “me.” The economics of the relationship must be profitable, to “me.” If the marriage relationship is operating at a loss, for “me,” then it’s time to walk away.

But that’s not how God defines a marriage relationship. For God, marriage is a covenant relationship, not a consumer relationship. In a covenant relationship it’s not about the economics of “me,” it’s about my spouse. In a covenant marriage, my love manifests in serving and giving. In a covenant relationship I love my bride as Jesus loves His bride, the church. I give myself for her even as Jesus gave himself for us. (Ephesians 5:25-27)

My marriage, and yours, isn’t a consumer relationship, it’s a covenant relationship. And that makes all the difference. “The connecting link with my old self has always been the memory of the name I took on back there (when I gave my vows): ‘I am he who will be there with you.’ When we slough off that name, lose that identity, we can hardly find ourselves again.” -Smedes

So to love like Jesus, stay married. You be one who keeps that name: “I am he who will be there with you.” Keep that name. Even when what little good your spouse does, doesn’t compare to your contributions. Even when your wife, or husband, does things that are unattractive to you.

That’s what Jesus did.

You can too.

“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

“Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Matthew 19:4-9

You might also like Help, I’m Married to a Strangerand Marriage, and Mom and Dad.

[Image via four12 – Creative Commons]

References

The Meaning of MarriageTimothy and Kathy Keller, Dutton Adult, 2011

2 thoughts on “Love Like Jesus–Stay Married

  1. What a great time of the year for a chat about marriage. It’s nearly Autumn. My husband and I were married in the Autumn, though in Phoenix, AZ it was still summer in temperature, yet our honeymoon was in Flagstaff and it was snowing when we awoke the next morning. Marriage is like a thermometer. Sometimes the marriage is feverishly flyin’ high, and sometimes marriage can drop down to a cold dangerous level. Either way, in its ebbs and flows like the ocean tides, constant fluctuating will occur.

    After my bride vow of the typical “love, honor, and obey” we began our journey as Mr. & Mrs., I remember saying to my husband as his young bride, “We will either grow together, or grow apart.” Since we became “one”, unity, it is delightfully obvious now in our 33rd year because he’ll be driving down the road and I will be thinking about something in particular, and it will come out of his mouth! And I say, “There you go again!” And he just smiles.

    This all reminds me of the wedding that Jesus attended when He changed the water into wine, in fact, very fine wine–the best for last. We get married and we start out with water, many times just staying afloat taking in all the oxygen we can get as we learn how to understand this person we’ve married. However, as the fidelity continues and the years go by we abandon the hustle and bustle of life, the children are married, we flow into retirement together, the affordable fine wine replaces the water, the best for the last! Yes, that is how it should be when we stay married.

    Our Groom is coming for His Bride in Autumn! She will be in fine white linen; she will be the one whom He adores; she has made herself ready; she has her lamp full of oil; she has the testimony of Messiah and obeys His commandments, and when the trumpet sounds during His Feast of Yom Teruah (the day of the blowing of trumpets) she’ll be free at last to be with her husband forever, all things will be new, our bodies will be young, and there will be nary a thought of divorce again. Now that is a marriage made in Heaven!

    Indeed fight the good fight…take hold of the eternal life..obey your commission spotlessly and irreproachably until our Lord Yeshua the Messiah appears (1 Timothy 6:12 & 14). Yes, stay faithful, stay married to your spouse on Earth, and betrothed to our Groom in Heaven, for we know not the day or the hour, but we know it’s in the Autumn and the marriage supper lies before us! Even so, come quickly, cries this bride.

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