This weekend, Church of the Suncoast had a slam dunk service! My thought afterwards, "I wish more people were here to experience this." This week was the third week of a series called, "The Vow." In this series, Brian has been talking about things we can do as Christian couples, to beat the odds. Apparently, more than 50% of marriages now a days end in divorce. 70% of married men will cheat on their wives, and 60% of married women will cheat on their husbands. Those are pretty high numbers.
In yesterday's message, Brian talked about how marriage is about "holiness" as opposed to "happiness." It is a covenant and not a contract. Meaning, even if your spouse stops doing their part, you will continue to do yours; instead of, if they do their part, then you will do your part. It is very different from the way the culture views marriage today. There are always people who will say, if you have tried everything you can and your marriage is still failing, then maybe you need to get out and find someone who makes you happy. Life is too short to not be happy. Or, what if a spouse becomes abusive, or turns to drugs or other addictions, etc. My only push back on that is, what if God decided that you/we were no longer making him happy? He did what he could and we still choose ourselves, choose our sin, choose our addictions over Him. Should He just move on and start chasing after someone else? Or worse, forget about us altogether? If he looked at us the same way we look at each other and sometimes even Him, He would have never sent Jesus to die for us, cover up our mistakes, and make it possible for a relationship with Himself, the God of the universe(still hard to fathom sometimes).
My parents will be married for 30 years in December. It has not been an easy 30 years because of decisions that they have made along the way, but it to me is one of the most beautiful pictures of God's love for us. Despite our poor decision making, despite the fact that we continually turn our backs to him and run to other things or people, despite our constant sin, he continually chases after us and always takes us back. Always. I think marriage is supposed to follow the model that God sets out before us. We chase hard after our spouse, no matter what. Now, I am not saying that it is easy. Nor, am I saying that I too wouldn't struggle with thoughts of, "I just need to get out." But what I am saying is, you make a decision now to push those thoughts aside, and push through the difficult times, cling to your Savior, and do whatever it takes to not run away.
Sometimes, it is absolutely necessary to separate. If you are getting the crap beat out of you, then you need to not be staying in the same home as the person who is physically hurting you. There are many passages in the Bible that address marriage and the different circumstances that might take place (for instance, where one is Christian and one is not, or where a spouse cheats, etc.). Now is the perfect time to look those verses up, and talk to God about them, fight with God about them, tell him how you really feel... He already knows anyway, there is no point in hiding anything from Him. He is the ultimate example of what a spouse should be... He listens, He loves, He never leaves, He is gentle, He is kind, He is a provider, He is a comforter, He is passionate about you, He adores you, He wants to spend eternity with you, He sent His son to die for you so that He could spend eternity with you. Wow! What an awesome God we serve, what an awesome thing to be able to just talk freely with Him, to sit in His presence, to laugh with Him, to cry with Him. When people see me, I want them to see Him in me, because he is perfection, he is who I want to be like... just as a child wants to grow up to be like their Daddy...
Some verses to check out (and this is just the beginning; check out the index in the back of your Bible for more verses):
1John 3:16-20 "This is how we know what love is..."
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 "Love is..."
Genesis 2:20-25 "the two shall become one..."
Ecclesiastes 4:10-12 "A chord of three stands is not quickly broken..."
Matthew 19:3-6 "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"
Ephesians 5:21-33 "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ..."
Hosea 3:1 "Go show your love to your wife again..."
Proverbs 31:10-31 "A wife of noble character..."
Now, after all of that being said, Brian and I do not have the perfect marriage. We fight, we have our problems, we are always in need of improvement; but, hopefully we will always remember the love of our Father in heaven and continue to run back to one another. And I hope you as my new friend will hold me accountable for that. Don't let me run away.