The Sweet Christian Bride

10 Reasons for the Christian Bride To Marry a Christian Man: Reason 4

by admin on June 26, 2012 in Spouse with No Comments

Reason 4: A Common Goal of Bettering Each Other

When I was a Brownie in Girl Scouts, I heard the Golden Rule for the first time: Do unto others as you would want done to yourself.  I had no idea that this rule had a Biblical parallel, but it made sense, so I tried to honor it as best as a kid could.

What I realized, however, is that the Golden Rule quickly flew out the window when it came to how I treated my family.  My friends did the same thing in their families.  I guess it just came with the territory of growing up.  Our families got the worst of us!  Because they loved us and would never give up on us, we gave them our short-changed, tired, minimal efforts at being nice and selfless.

Marriage can similarly invite spouses to give their worst.  Husband and wife are often both so tired at the end of a long day, and then they come home to the errands of life that never seem to stop.  In their downtime, they have to sidestep around the other spouse who doesn’t seem to understand that they need space to unwind.  Around this point in the day, it’s not uncommon for each spouse to love himself or herself instead of each other.

But God applies the Golden Rule specifically to marriage through Paul’s letters to Ephesus.  He writes, “In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies.  He who loves his wife, loves himself.  For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church” (Ephesians 5: 28-29).  Here it is—the Golden Rule for the husband to love his wife as he would want his own body to be loved.

Don’t get too excited; you’re not off the hook.  Let’s look at Ephesians 5:33: “Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.”  Traditional commentary on this verse suggests that wives are also supposed to love their husbands and husbands are also supposed to respect their wives, but those actions tend to come more easily and do not need to be encouraged as much.  Paul is addressing the actions that are not only the most difficult for husbands and wives to give, but also the most necessary for husbands and wives to receive. 

And so we find that wives can generally offer love easily because we need love vitally; husbands can often show respect easily because they thrive on respect.  So to instruct the husbands and wives to do the action that they are not as fluent in is an instruction to speak the other’s love language as you would want them to speak your love language to you.

Jesus takes it one step deeper.  He revolutionizes the Golden Rule in John 13: 34-35: “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  So we aren’t just supposed to love as we would want to be loved, but we are to love as Jesus loved.  How did Jesus love?  Selflessly, responsibly, unconditionally… (the list is endless).  And through His love, people were restored to life.  They were physically healed and spiritually saved.

If we are to love even strangers as Jesus loved, then we most certainly ought to love our spouses as Jesus loved because our marriage is the most trusted, vulnerable, growthful relationship that we have.  And as we love our spouses selflessly, responsibly, unconditionally, etc., we will leave them better than we found them, just like Jesus did.

This sounds lovely, but the truth is, this kind of love is hard! Without the strength, hope, and direction of the Holy Spirit, how could we possibly love unconditionally?  We would instead be fighting for our own survival and benefit every day.  But with both spouses seeking the Lord’s will and strength, you can both leave each other better each day than the previous because you love each other as Jesus loves you.

Is your relationship with your fiancé more often a place where you come needy and empty than it is a place where you come ready to give?  Are you a better person because of your fiancé’s love for you?  Is he a better person because of your love for him? 

The Lord is in the business of making all things new, and He often uses the holy relationship of marriage to do that for spouses.

By Lindsay

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