It is true that the marriage relationship is one model of our relationship with God. The way we love and interact with our spouse is typically an indicator of where our souls are with our Father.
Because of this important aspect, our relationship with our spouse, above all other earthly relationships needs to be cultivated, cared for, nurtured and cherished. The marriage relationship is tied to our spiritual lives because we are called to love our spouses as Christ loved the church. It involves sacrifice. It involves a decision. It involves daily commitment.
The mystical aspect to marriage in scripture is that “the two become one.” You literally are joined together, heart and soul. But, your spouse is also your neighbor. The person you married and live with also falls in the category of the great commandment, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.”
Here are some practical thoughts for helping to make the relationship with your spouse a holy, God reflection:
Model – to your kids, to your neighbors, to your church and to your community. That doesn’t mean that you have to always display commitment in public. In fact, many times, that can be a sign that things aren’t going well and the couple may be overcompensating for some issue they are dealing with. But with a deep love and concern for each other, the public will know you care. And it’s not just for others – it’s for you. The more you care for and serve your spouse, the more you begin to enjoy your spouse and the relationship you have. The very best thing you can do to ensure that your kids turn out ok is to love your wife.
Experience – Create moments you are able to enjoy life together. Plan a trip. Put the phones away for the evening. Take a hike together. Find ways to grow together in experiences. Common memories need to be built. Serve together in ministry. Work together. Enjoy it!
Prioritize – Take a hard look at the calendar and plan when you will make time for your spouse. For those in ministry life – and many other professions as well, it’s easy to get sidetracked – and before you know it you were gone every evening for a week. Work your schedule so that you have time to live out your commitment and your love with your spouse.
Cherish – Don’t miss opportunities to cherish your spouse. Pick up flowers if that’s her thing. Take some time to do something extra for them at home. Answer phone calls and texts from them as high priority.
Allow – Allow for mistakes. When the check amount isn’t written in the book or when he forgets the eggs at the grocery store – have mercy. Of course, it’s a bit of a pain in the neck, but just plan now to allow for mistakes from your spouse. Don’t fret over things that are easily fixed.
I once heard an woman who had been married for 50 years say that she was tired of her husband who never said, ‘I love you’. His response: “I told you I loved you the day I walked down the isle and if anything ever changes, I’ll let you know.”
A cute little story, and sadly, too often true. Our spouse is our first earthly priority because we need it to be. Our family needs it to be. And the world needs to see it. Live out the blessing we have to make our husbands or wives our second priority!