Dr. Al Mohler continues in his excellent article by summarizing thus:
How does marriage glorify God? Tertullian, one of the early church fathers, offers wisdom: “How beautiful, then, the marriage of two Christians, two who are one in home, one in desire, one in the way of life they follow, one in the religion they practice . . . Nothing divides them either in flesh or in spirit . . . They pray together, they worship together, they fast together; instructing one another, encouraging one another, strengthening one another. Side by side they visit God’s church and partake God’s banquet, side by side they face difficulties and persecution, share their consolations. They have no secrets from one another; they never shun each other’s company; they never bring sorrow to each other’s hearts . . . Seeing this Christ rejoices. To such as these He gives His peace. Where there are two together, there also He is present.”
Marriage is the source of great and unspeakable happiness. Yet because of sin it is not unmixed happiness. But marriage is not first and foremost about making us happy. It is for making us holy. And through the covenant of marriage two Christians pledge to live together so as to make each other holy before God, as a testimony to Christ.
What Tertullian shares sounds impossible, and apart from the grace of God at work in a believer’s heart it would be. Yet, God is constantly at work in each heart–molding and shaping them into a spouse that reflects Christ’s glory.
Are we perfect? No, and we never will be. But are we forgiven? Oh, yes.
Our sins are not counted against us. We are free from the obligation to sin, yet we still do. We still hurt our spouse. We disappoint them. We say things we don’t really mean in the heat of an argument. But underneath all this is the binding together of two hearts into one flesh called marriage. God sees it as beautiful and worth fighting for through good days and the worst of days.
The question to ask ourselves each and every day is…do we see our marriage as beautiful and worth fighting for?
It is most important for us to remember we are on the same team fighting a common enemy who would love nothing more than to destroy another marriage. Resolve to not let this be your marriage! There is joy hidden for those who push through the struggles for the purpose of keeping your marriage vows unto God and for His glory.
In my favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail, Kathleen Kelly is facing the loss of something very precious to her – her family-owned business. She decides to fight for it because of the big bad Fox Books is trying to take over all she holds dear. I realize this metaphor doesn’t exactly fit, as she eventually goes out of business, but the idea of fighting for something you love, even when the going gets really hard, fits very well. Joe Fox advises her to “Go to the mattresses…fight…fight to the death!”
Are we willing to fight for our marriage in this way? If it’s only for our comfort and happiness we won’t. Life will get too hard to stay the course.
We need something greater to fight for, and it’s God’s glory.
Knowing the Creator of the Universe cares about our covenant of marriage, that He has taken the first step towards us in reconciliation, helps us take the first step towards our spouse when they have wronged us.
If the wrongs you have suffered are great and involve unfaithfulness, you will need help and biblical counsel to stay the course, if you so choose. We understand it is not good to stay in an abusive relationship either. These are extremes and require individual counsel, so please–if this is your marriage, don’t hear us say what we’re not saying. Get help!
In what ways are you finding joy in the difficult place? Have you experienced a breakthrough in a tough situation that made you grateful you chose to keep fighting for your marriage? How are you being tempted to give up?