A good friend of mine recently posted on her blog, The Beauty of Brokenness. She wrote about dreams and hopes for the future. When a couple first gets married their dreams are plentiful like the trees in the forest; everywhere they look there is the hope of things to come.
But somewhere along the road, dreams are dashed. Life doesn’t play out the way we had expected, and disappointment ensues. It is in this place of brokenness where the Gospel can have a powerful effect on the marriage covenant. What do you do with broken dreams?
Let’s look at what God did for us in the Garden. Life for Adam and Eve was perfect–literally. God had created an oasis for them to live, love and grow in their communion with the Father. Imagine, they walked with God in the cool of the evening! Yet, even in this perfect environment, dreams were dashed. Why? Because of sin.
It is still the same today. When a couple stands facing each other at the altar vowing to love one another as long as they both shall live, they aren’t thinking about when things won’t go as expected. But we are guaranteed by Christ Himself that we will have trouble in this life. We can look at this apart from the Gospel, or we can look at this in light of the Gospel.
The Gospel broke through and rescued us from a life of drudgery and slavery to sin. We were without hope to change, yet our God took the place we deserved and died to set us free. No other god was willing to suffer and die for those he loved. Our God is unlike any other god. And He sets an example for us to follow. He laid His life down for us!
Broken dreams are hard to handle. Until I think of Eden. I think about how God’s perfect and beautiful plan for His image-bearers was broken by sin. Yet even before the garden was created, God devised a plan. From the brokenness came a glorious plan of redemption that put God’s wisdom and love on display.
When our dreams are broken and dashed like a shattered mirror. Instead of seeing the future broken, we can see a hundred more visions of the same future as reflected in each tiny piece. Our joy can be multiplied if we will but look for it.
What does this look like in marriage? Dreams dashed to pieces can come in so many forms. Here are a few and how the Gospel can help you see it from a different perspective:
- When your spouse loses their job, rather than enter into self-pity and fear, you are looking forward to an unknown future with faith in your Heavenly Father who holds the future in His hands. Prayer becomes your full-time job.
- When your spouse is struggling with chronic illness, you look to the Lord to help you lay down your life in order to help the one who is helpless.
- When your spouse or you struggle with the same sin, yet again, Christ stands ready to forgive, yet again. How often are we to extend forgiveness? Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. (Matthew 18:21-22 ESV) Realizing how much Christ has forgiven me, helps me to extend forgiveness to my spouse.
- When my expectations aren’t met in my marriage, I look to the Lord to help me love my spouse the way Christ has loved me. I didn’t do anything to deserve His love. Why should I demand my spouse do something for me in order for me to show them love? Expectations should be held loosely and discussed often.
- When things are being said about your spouse you know aren’t true, rather than take up their offense, seek to help your spouse seek to love in spite of the offense. What profit is it if we love those who love us? It is a greater display of the Gospel to love those who aren’t acting loving towards us.
- When my spouse is selfish and ignores me. The best way to demonstrate Gospel love is to extend it to those who don’t deserve it. How like Christ who asked His Father to forgive the Roman soldiers who were crucifying Him, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
Certainly, this kind of love goes against our nature. It isn’t natural to lay down our wants, our dreams and our desires for the good of another. But Christ did, and He has promised to help us do the same. Apart from Him this would be impossible, but with God all things are possible–even loving our spouse with Gospel love.
Enjoy this song by Keith Green titled, Your Love Broke Through: