I had a great talk last week with one of my kids about what builds a strong marriage, one that will get stronger over time and that brings great, ongoing fulfillment. Ultimately, I have realized that 2 people following Christ and imitating Him (you know: being a Christian) is the key. Do I treat my husband like Jesus treated people? Do I love Dave as I love myself? Do I prefer Dave to my own wishes? Does Dave love me like Christ loved the church (so much He actually layed down His life for her!)?
We pondered about how natural things reflect the spiritual, but also how a spiritual principle can bring insight into the natural realm.
In the Book of Revelation, Jesus communicated this to the church at Ephesus:"I know your works, your hard, hard labor, your patience and refusal to quit. I know that you cannot stomach evil. And you weed out those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars; and you have perservered and have patience, and have shown courage for my Name and for My cause and you haven't worn out in it. But, you have left your first love – just walked away. Do you have any idea how far you've fallen? A Lucifer fall! Repent, turn back. remember your dear, early love and do the first works again…" (paraphrase from NKJV and The Message)
For a marriage, it might be like this: you've hung in there. You do what is right and you do what is required, but the flame has died down. The passion is waning. You just don't love like you did at first. And you're thinking: Well, neither does he/she…and is this it? After all these years together, I just grit my teeth and do the right thing?
What's the remedy?
Repent (turn from this, go a new direction)! Do the first works. Ahhh…remember the 'first works'?
Falling in love, living on love, delighting at the sound of his voice, meeting him at the door, looking for his face in a crowded room, the electricity that passed as his hand brushed yours, honoring him above all people, speaking well of him to anyone who would listen, envisioning a long future and growing old together still in love, courtesy, kind words, 'fixing up' when his arrival was imminent, shaving your legs regularly (don't stone me for this, women!), making his favorite food, looking at him with admiration, looking at him a lot, giving attention to his thoughts and opinions, apologizing when you are wrong, writing gooey love letters and notes tucked into lunch boxes, looking in to his eyes, being trustworthy with his pain, choosing to see only his strengths and cheering him on in them, being available to him, time…time…time…The first works.
Want to see fresh romance? Check out Dan and Marianna.
Want to re-ignite fervent love in your own marriage? Do the stuff you did at first. And may you be sustained with cakes of raisins and refreshed with apples because of the intensity of your lovesickness. May his left hand be under your head and his right hand embrace you. May love be stirred up and may you drink deeply from its cup. May you be your beloved's and may your beloved be yours. May your names be written upon each other's hearts and your desire be towards each other. May the great romance be renewed and may you end stronger than when you started (read Song of Solomon and believe for it!).
Summer is a time for love…Jeanie
NOTE TO SELF: E-mail Dave today and tell him how thankful I am for the sacrifices he is making right now for us and for his unwavering love and Christlikeness to me over the years.(Pictured: a friend snapped this pic on an Instamatic 110 in July 1981, just as I was leaving the bridal preparation chambers, aka Sunday School room, on my way to marry Dave. I stepped from that room into a oneness I couldn't have comprehended that day. I didn't know at that moment how many things & circumstances or expectations in a lifetime can attempt to steal and stop that love, that agreement, that unity. Now I know and I am committed to ending stronger than we started. Our best days are yet to be!