It’s the season for hearts and flowers, and a thoughtful surprise for a spouse would likely be welcome this time of year. As Alistair Begg shares in Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure, though, while romance is helpful, there's much more required in the important work of strengthening a marriage:
The Impact of a Strong Marriage
Why is all of this important? Is it so that we can enjoy happy marriages, wonderful families, and terrific anniversary weekend retreats? No! Titus 2 tells us the concern for strong marriages is “so that no one will malign the word of God” (NIV). In 1 Peter, the issue is again on a higher plane than just our personal well-being: it is “so that nothing will hinder your prayers” (1 Peter 3:7, NIV).
This counters the current tendency to so focus on marriage and family that they nearly become idols to us. Our domestic relationships have a profound impact on our spiritual fellowship. An improper marriage relationship closes the windows of heaven. Our relationship with God our Father can never be right as long as our relationships with His children (especially those closest to us) are wrong.
A Final Note to Wives:
Paul, in Titus 2:5, tells us that the purpose in all of this is that we be good advertisements for the Christian faith. Our friends and neighbors will judge our doctrine by its practical effect upon our daily lives. If, when they are in our homes, they encounter a dimension that cannot be explained in human terms, then both we and they are on to something. When marriages work as God intends, they act as magnets, drawing the disillusioned and confused to consider the reality of Christian faith. Here we have one of the greatest opportunities to show the difference Jesus makes in our hearts and in our homes: not in producing perfect children, not in being perfect wives, or perfect mothers, or perfect husbands, but in being honest enough to admit our defeats, acknowledge our struggles, and affirm our dependence upon the Lord Jesus.
A Final Note to Husbands:
Previously we may have had the same outlook on marriage as any man on the street, but now our marriage relationships are raised to the standards set forth in the truth of Scripture. Therefore, we can live with our wives in the knowledge of the wonderful provisions God has made for us. We have knowledge of the clear parameters that God has established for marriage, so we can enjoy the unique purposes He has ordained for us as husbands and wives. In the knowledge of what our wives are by nature and by grace, our treatment of them should be marked by gentleness and honor.
Heirs Together of the Gracious Gift of Life
The distinctions that exist physically do not apply spiritually. The wife believes in the same Savior, is redeemed by the same ransom, lives by the same grace, and looks forward to the same destiny as her believing husband.
In all the remarkable dimensions of marriage for the Christian, surely none is more amazing than this: that this girl who is my earthly treasure and physical companion is also related to me at an even more significant level. She is my sister in Christ. When in heaven there is no marriage and our earthly ties are severed, we will still enjoy a union that is eternal in its significance. Throughout all eternity we will be able to unite our voices in praise and adoration of the One who not only created us and granted us the unbelievable joy of earthly companionship, but far more, “raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6–7 NIV).
Other articles in this series:
- How to Avoid Marital Failure (1 of 6)
- In Marriage, We Are Not Our Own (2 of 6)
- The Role of Husband and Wife (3 of 6)
- What Does God Intend for Marital Love to Look Like (4 of 6)
- Instructions for Marriage (5 of 6)
- The Impact of a Strong Marriage (6 of 6)
Adapted from Alistair Begg, Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure (©2015). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.