“Each of you should look not only to your own interests,
but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ.” Philippians 2:4-5
It is the clergyman in the movie The Princess Bride who sums up the intent of marriage of our time. He begins the marriage ceremony with these words, “Mawwiage is wat bwings us togeder today. Mawwiage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam wifin a dream… And wuv, twue wuv, will fowwow you foweva…”
Follow you forever? Really?
If you spend any time researching the history of marriage, you find that it was not about love until the mid-19th century. According to an article in the Huffington Post, in the past, “Couples wed to make political alliances, to raise capital, to expand the workforce, and for a whole array of practical purposes.” You don’t see the word love or even like in that sentence anywhere!
The Greeks actually believe that being in love or having “lovesickness” was a type of insanity. As funny as that sounds, they may not have been too far off base! Today, it seems our society is striving for some kind of new and vague twist on the ideal “Father Knows Best” marriage and family life.
You can find information on Christianity and marriage, but what about Christ and marriage? Where are His teachings highlighted in today’s marriage concept? You can find them in the Bible. It is there we find how to apply His teaching to marriage and it all starts with Christ’s life, which leads to our identity. It is through Christ’s defined identity we find the Christ-centered approach to marriage.
The identity of Christ is twofold: He’s the perfect Son of God and He’s a servant. It seems in modern marriages that servanthood is seldom considered as a marriage concept. Spouses don’t serve each other. Instead, they expect to “find themselves,” all while their partner meets their every need. No wonder marriages are falling apart today.
When we do search out the teachings of Christ, here is what we find:
That’s how it works. That’s what will make marriage work. We must first love Christ and understand our identity in Him. When we know our identity while putting Christ first in our lives, we can then love others fully and completely,
Although we hear little outside the church about Christ’s perspective on love and marriage, He had much to say about it (for example, see Ephesians 5:21-33). In essence, we are to be servants in our marriage as Christ has been and is a servant to the church.
As a child of God, you are:
This is what you bring to marriage.
This is who we are and this is our identity - through grace, a forgiven child of God. We are all beautifully broken. A servant to others, including our spouse.
Have you considered servitude in your marriage? Whether your spouse has or not, you can make the choice to follow Christ’s example of service.
No more working to change your marriage partner. Instead, with the help of Jesus, work to change yourself in the things you do, the words you say, and the thoughts you have. It is guaranteed to not be easy. It may be completely exhausting and frustrating as is anything worth doing. But it could change everything.
Make a list today of three things you can commit to doing differently in service to your spouse. Keep that list, and as you achieve an item, add another, reminding yourself you are a servant, like Christ on a journey, to serve your spouse. Then watch and see how much it changes you!
Live Scripture Strong!