Take Up Your Cross In Marriage (ATP)
How do I restore a broken marriage?
Marriage is such a precious thing in the sight of God. It is representative of His covenant with us. In fact, there is no greater earthly example we could glean from. How we view the marriage covenant is how we view our covenant with God. How we view our spouse is how we view Jesus. This should be our heart.
Genesis 2:24 says, “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This means that within the covenant of marriage, there is no separation. Literally two become one. Amos 3:3 poses an important rhetorical question, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” In a marriage if one won’t put down themself to become one with the other, it will never work. Another important scriptural principle is found in Mark 3:25, “if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” Being at war with your spouse is like destroying your own flesh.
Similarly, when you accept Jesus as your Lord, receiving Him as Savior, you too become one with Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to live on the inside of you. You are joined together. Warring against the spirit nature on the inside will not get you anywhere good!
Most Christians have a decent understanding of the “major” sins against a marriage. You don’t even have to be told that adulterous relationships are wrong or that domestic violence is wrong, for example. We must know that, it’s “the little foxes that spoil the vines.” (Song of Songs 2:15) It’s the daily interactions, conversations, and meditations we need to get under control.
Let’s look at what the Word calls a virtuous wife. Proverbs 31:10-12 (The Message), “A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.” Wives, can your husband trust you? Your instant response is probably a resounding “yes!” but can he trust that you’re thinking the best, that you’re looking out for his best interest, that you’re not going to leave him high and dry? There’s more to trust than not telling blatant lies of having affairs. In the Amplified Bible vs. 11 reads like this, “her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely.” Wives, put yourself in your husband’s shoes knowing the way you look, think, speak about, and treat him. Are you a wife to be securely and confidently trusted? Proverbs 12:4, “An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.” Wives, ask yourselves: what do I say about my husband? What do I think about my husband? What if he did the same for me? What if I looked at Jesus this way? What if Jesus looked at me this way?
Ephesians 5:25-29 is instruction for husbands. It says, “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church.” Look at verse 25 in The Message Bible, “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.” Husbands, are you in your marriage for you or for your wife? Do you put her first or yourself first? Christ literally laid down His life for the church. Husbands are you willing to lay down your life for your wife? Too many husbands want to live like a bachelor, but those days are over! Husbands if you need to be catered to, you’re doing something wrong. Your hearts should be to bless your wives above yourself. Help around the house, put down the video games, stop being grumpy when you don’t get your way. Love your wife like Jesus loves you!
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 are the great love verses. “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Read that again even more slowly. I’ll wait.
If we want love, we must give love. Love isn’t our own definition of love. Love isn’t love. God’s love is real love and that’s what these scriptures explain. If you’re impatient with your spouse you’re not being loving. If you’re behaving rudely, you’re not loving. If your marriage is all about you and your “needs”, you’re not being loving. We could keep going. I’ve seen so many marriages fall apart for these reasons. It’s the little foxes that spoil a marriage. It’s unchecked strife over human imperfections that we’re unwilling to bear. What if Jesus discarded your salvation because you didn’t pick up your dirty socks? What if Jesus left you because you weren’t enough fun? What if Jesus broke covenant with you because you grew older and weren’t as spunky, energetic, or interesting as you once were? Sounds silly, I know, but likewise Christians do these things to their spouses all the time.
If you want to be loved you must be loving. A good marriage takes both the husband and wife coming to an agreement that the other is more important than themselves. Jesus spoke these words and I believe they apply to godly marriage: Luke 9:23-24, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” Self-preservation in a marriage will cause death of that marriage. Denying yourself to bless the other, that will cause life. The grass isn’t greener on the other side, the grass is green where it’s watered. Water your marriage, add the miracle grow, that is the Word of God, and see how it flourishes.