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Have you ever attended a gorgeous wedding only to discover after a number of years that the couple is now fighting with each other and pursuing divorce? How can this happen?
Separation and divorce have become commonly accepted in parts of the world. These statistics again and again point out that what has started so well did not turn out as they had hoped. Few of these marriages were forced; they were greatly desired. These broken marriages reveal just a small portion of the devastated marriages out there.
Many more marriages hang together by a shoestring but in fact have lost all hope of love. Marriages start off with a great belief in the mystery of love. In most places in the world, marriages are self-arranged. The man and woman are consciously binding themselves together.
They believe in love. Limited love does fine in developing relationships but a poor job in the day and night demand of constant love.
Marriages were designed to function best with that God's enduring love. We cannot depend on finding that perfect partner whose love is sure and constant. If we depend on our partner's perfect love for our source of love, then we will be disappointed.
It is good if it is present, but it should never form the basis of our love. We gain our real love from God and pray that His love would shine through your life to your marriage partner.
Shortly after the wedding, many a couple are soon convinced that there is no real such thing as love. Their faith in love has been shipwrecked in disappointment. So what happened?
We should first acknowledge that they never really had genuine love. Love is constant. God's love keeps steadfast right through all the shocking discoveries.
Human love at best are like fireworks of good intention displayed over dark skies, but unfortunately they are not able to retain their light. All that remains from the falling ashes are some good memories and albums. Relationships need the oil of constant love to properly operate.
The love that fails is rooted in self and cannot stand the tests of daily life. True love are found only in God's love. God has somehow worked within us some instinctive sense of sacrifice and goodness that works in a very limited way. We need to look deeper for a divine love to sustain marriage. Where can we find this love?
"For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8, NASB).
The people He helped are called helpless, ungodly and sinners. God's love was great enough to help the unkind, mean and downright evil. people The help God provided was the life of His only Son, Jesus Christ.
Christ's life accomplished two things simultaneously. Firstly, Christ died for the sins of His people. Christ took God's wrath upon Himself. Secondly, His sacrificial life showed the nature of God's love. He totally gave up any concern for His own welfare for the sake of others' good. God's love in Christ is the backbone of an enduring love.
When a person has made his ultimate goal to love another, then no matter what is needed, it will be done. He is willing to die for the other. Basically, a husband says in his heart, that no part of my life is more important than my commitment to care for my wife.
This is where God's genuine love is implanted in our hearts.
The wedding is where each partner commits themselves to live out this sacrificial love. The marriage is where each partner seeks God for His love to shine through their lives into the lives of his or her spouse. Love is not innate.
Many people are trained to act kindly. Each society has rules of politeness. Love is kind and those that live out these common courtesies bring a special blessing into their marriages. They in fact are living out God's principles of love, but it is important not to confuse this with God's love. Good training is necessary, but it should not be our end. It will never bring that kind of commitment that marriages demand.
God's love is a heart change that shapes a person's desire to care for the other person more than himself. God's love motivates a person to act kindly in situations that go far beyond those areas that typical polite rules would call one to observe.
Many other people just don't have that training. This is absolutely tragic.
Today's generation is getting more and more reluctant to getting married. A recent report cited that half of all women by the age of 30 have lived with a partner outside of marriage. (1) You have probably heard the story. "I don't want to live through what my parents did!"
They did not witness their parents' courtship and wedding day. The memories of their parents fighting each other stain their poor minds. They know more of anger and hatred than love. They simply do not choose marriage. It no longer is an alternative. They haven't found love, and have lost complete hope in marriage.
And guess what?! Their parents aren't debating with them! Many of these same parents are allowing their daughter's boyfriend to live in their house!
With less and less love around, people are giving up on love. They do not understand that they can turn to God for His love. We understand their predicament but strongly advise them to start reading about Jesus and His love. The same is true for those going through difficult marriages. You have a choice.
Choice to life for self
(1) You can either stubbornly endure your partner or ditch them. The decision is almost the same. In either case you choose not live by God's love. This leaves a horrible guilt within and leaves scars without. Inside you are wrong but prideful. You also bring devastation to those around you.
Choice to live for the other
(2) You can also choose to gain God's love. It is humbling because we need to acknowledge our failures, but it is exciting because we anticipate the eternal God to bring about wonderful changes in our lives. "Love one another" no longer is an empty motto but your life mission.
Dear God, I have been so filled with bitterness, hate and malicious talk that I have been poisoning those around me with evil. I have sinned against You. You are light and love; I am darkness and selfishness. I just don't know how to love. I heard that you can give some love to me. I need it real bad. I need you to teach me about love. I need you to plant it deep down in my soul. I want your love to ignite my soul. I also want to be your vessel of love.
O love that casts out fear,
O love that casts out sin,
Tarry no more without,
But come and dwell within.
Great love of God, come in,
Wellspring of heavenly peace;
Thou living water, come,
Spring up, and never cease.
Horatius Bonar 1861
I know this will not be easy. Those around me are bad enough. But I have made things worse with my evil touch. I want to be changed by You, Lord. I want you to empower me to live to love. Yes, I know it is very different than I now experience. But that is the fact I now face. I don't want my life with all its hatred. I want what your love and peace.
So Heavenly God, come save this wretched soul. Change me. Forgive me. Let the love of God as seen in Jesus Christ live in me. I accept Jesus Christ to be the one who cleanses me of all my sin. I accept Jesus Christ as my Lord who will direct my paths into Your love. Lead me forth for your glory and for the sake of those around me. In Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.
Salvation is the beginning of a new life with God. This is only the beginning of a wonderful growing relationship with God. Read His Word and join His people in prayer. God has a lot to teach you on being His agent of love.
Once God's love is in us, we can take some important steps to grow in our love for our spouse. Next