At the marriage altar, the magnetic bond of love between husband and wife seems unassailable. But at some point those whose marriages endure recognize that lasting marital happiness consists of more than candlelit dinners and soft music. As romantic evenings give way to morning feedings, first days of school and high school graduations, those who succeed at marriage realize that “I love you” is only the beginning and not the end of an ever-enriching love.
If their marriage is to last, the couple eventually comes to grips with a deeper fundamental understanding of marriage. Although many books profess to have the answers for eliminating marital woes and maximizing wedded bliss, too often the foundation found in the most important text on this subject is overlooked. When properly understood, it provides the understanding that so many seek, but so few grasp.
What book is that? The Holy Bible. What often-overlooked understanding about marriage does it provide? Make your husband or wife a priority.
The Bible makes plain the importance of prioritizing our marriage partner: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25 Ephesians 5:25Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
American King James Version×). “In the same way, you husbands must show understanding in your married life: treat your wives with respect, not only because they are physically weaker, but also because God's gift of life is something you share together. Then your prayers will not be impeded” (1 Peter 3:7 1 Peter 3:7Likewise, you husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
American King James Version×, Revised English Bible).
The apostle Peter highlights a fact of great significance here: God views both husband and wife as equal inheritors of eternal life.
A fundamental biblical principle of marital happiness focuses on husbands and wives making each other a top priority. When a couple honors each other in this way, they show respect and honor toward God's institution of marriage and, more important, an understanding of godly love—which is outgoing concern for others.
True love hinges on deliberate, selfless serving of others.Second only to our relationship with God, giving priority to our spouse is a divine directive. All loving marital behavior originates at the spiritual, not the physical, level. It stems from a mutual love and respect for one another. There is no substitute for this mandate. For those who desire a happy marriage, this is not an option.
When the sinless Jesus Christ died for sinful humankind, He set the standard for the marriage covenant. Jesus made humanity the top priority in His life (Ephesians 5:22-33 Ephesians 5:22-33 22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.
24 Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.
25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church:
30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
American King James Version×), second only to His relationship with God the Father. In like manner, husbands and wives must make their mates a top priority in their lives.
There is no greater love than sacrificing ourselves for others. Jesus stated: “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends” (John 15:12-13 John 15:12-13 12 This is my commandment, That you love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
American King James Version×). This should especially be our attitude in marriage. Apart from an intimate relationship with God, there should be no closer relationship on earth than that between husband and wife.
The best way to breathe romance back into your marriage is by making your wife or your husband a top priority in your life. This unequivocally translates into time together—perhaps candlelit dinners, soft music and more.
Over time, candlelit dinners for two may blossom into exciting, memorable meals and school activities shared by a family that has been seeded by the mutual love of the parents. A couple's love that's fulfilled in a loving family inevitably sparks this heartfelt thought: “My cup truly runneth over.”
In your marriage, we hope that the articles in this issue of The Good News do what they are designed to do—help rekindle your romance! GN