Thursday, October 18, 2012

On Being Radiant

Eph. 5:25-33  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery— but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

This morning I woke with a migraine.  This was quite a surprise since I have not had one for a couple of months.  At first the thought went through my mind that if I just lay still it would go away, but then the pain shot into my shoulder and I knew!  I forced myself out of bed and took an Excedrin migraine tablet and crawled back into bed.  My husband reached for me in his sleep and I snuggled into his arms.  I am always amazed at how much better I feel when he holds me.  

The above verses explain what it takes to make a great marriage.  Husbands are to love their wives.  What women need more than anything is to know they are loved unconditionally by their husbands.  No matter how many stupid mistakes I make (and there are plenty!) I know my husband will love me anyway.  He may chuckle at me or even chide me a bit, but he will never stop loving me.  There have been times when he actually became angry with me, but he never stopped loving me.  How is this possible?  He keeps his promises.

Before we were married we had a conversation regarding what we each believed regarding marriage and divorce.  We agreed that divorce should not even be a part of our vocabulary when it came to our personal marriage status.  We were both born again believers and took God's word about not breaking promises seriously, so when we vowed to love each other no matter what....Little did we know what we would put each other through, but with God's amazing grace backing us, we've made it 35 1/2 years as man and wife.  

Sometimes I think about what I write about our marriage and I wonder if people get the wrong impression.  Our marriage being wonderful is not a figment of my imagination, but it is also not all roses and tea parties (or football and pizza for the men).  We have struggled through jealousies, differences of opinion in child rearing, fears, money shortages, a miscarriage, deaths of family members, time constraints, misunderstandings, and have been so hurt and angered by each other that the temptation to walk out was very present.  The one thing that has always held us together was reminding each other that we love each other and me reinforcing my belief in him and the abilities God has given him.  When he tells me he thinks I'm beautiful, he looks deeply into my very soul to do so.  When I tell him he is the wisest most generous man I have ever known and the most handsome to boot, he knows I am not just saying words but mean it with my entire being.

When Jesus told the Pharisees that the greatest commandment is "to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength," this is what he was talking about.  A Christian marriage is supposed to demonstrate this to the world.  It's exactly what Hebrews 5 is talking about.  But Jesus didn't stop there.  He said the second greatest is like the first; "love your neighbor as yourself."  If loving our spouse is loving ourselves and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, then we are to love our neighbors unconditionally as well.  AH, but He still was not finished.  He went on to tell the story of the Good Samaritan to let us know that we are to be a neighbor to everyone, not just those who live close by.

So then, our marriages should demonstrate our relationship with Christ and our lives should demonstrate his love for the world.  Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. I John 3:1a  He pours out His love on us for us to demonstrate to the lost and dying world.  I pray we all are granted the desire to live fully in that love.