‘So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. ‘ Ephesians 5:28-30
There’s an expression that I have heard so many times I couldn’t manage a guess to the number. “Marriage is hard work…” That expression has never set well with me from the first time, in all naivety, I ever heard it. When used within the context of this conversation, “work” brings with it a negative connotation. When viewed as “work”, the things we do for each other lose the “want to” behind them and become “have tos”. I think there is most certainly a great deal of intention necessary to maintain a healthy and solid marriage, but I just do not like the term “work” when applied in the context of a discussion involving marriage success. I have no doubt that there are a great many marriages out there today that one or both parties would describe as “work”. In those cases, I would contend, you’re probably right. But ask yourself, why is that the case? I believe in most cases it’s the result of one or both, buying into the lie and making it so.
So, me being me, I did a little digging. I wanted to see what God had to say when describing what marriage should be. He has a great deal to say on the subject, as you can imagine, so I’m just going to paraphrase the gist of what I found. Firstly, through my research, I found no where in which God called marriage “work”. He called or alluded to it as many things, but I cannot find where He directly, unequivocally calls it “work”. That’s not to say that marriage, or any relationship does not require effort from both parties. It absolutely does. At times, you’ll have to work at it, no doubt. However, if your mind set is that working at a successful marriage means that marriage in and of itself is “work”, you’ve got a long hard, cold and unhappy road ahead of you. My mind goes to an expression my dad used to say and I believe it to be absolutely true. He would say, “Son, if you can find something that you truly love to do day in and day out, you’ll never ‘work’ a day in your life”. I’ve experienced that in two very successful career fields and a number of hobbies. My contention is that if your mindset is one of marriage is “work”, then that’s precisely what it will be. Conversely, if you approach your marriage with a mindset of I love being married to this woman/man of mine, put Christ in the center of it and love what you’re doing, you’ll never “work” a day in your life.
According to God’s word, marriage is many things, warmth, companionship, oneness, sacrifice, bittersweet, hardship, joy, pain, ecstasy, bliss, journey, dying to self, putting another’s needs first, holy, beautiful, challenging, but most importantly, marriage is love. Pure, sweet, enduring, sacrificial, selfless love, as Christ is love. If you’re marriage is in trouble, or even if it has just lost it’s luster, ask yourself why. Have you allowed it to become “work”. Do you see it as God describes it? Be intentional, but don’t make it “work”. Don’t make the same mistakes that I did. Make it beautiful. Have a blessed weekend.
‘Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very flame of the Lord . Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it; If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, It would be utterly despised.” ‘ Song of Solomon 8:6-7
In full pursuit of the greatest Trophy