In these difficult times of increasing unemployment, financial loss, stress, emotional illness and spiritual challenges, many people are worried about their finances, futures and marital relationships becoming weaker. But we need not be paralyzed by fear, rather we should be moved by faith in God to maintain strong relationships in a weak society. Let’s consider some secrets for a healthy marital relationship. Life is full of questions, but as believers, even when we do not know the answers we know who is the answer – our precious Lord Jesus. The Pharisees and Sadducees asked questions concerning taxes, the authority of government and God, future marital relationships and resurrection, and the motivation of law and love for relationships (Mt. 22:15-40; Mk. 12:13-34 NKJV). Some people today are looking to the government and the economy for solutions to their problems, but feel disappointed and discouraged every time they read or hear the news. Therefore, in order to maintain a healthy marriage in these stressful times, we need to know these three secrets found in the Word of God.
SECRET 1: Rely On God
We must recognize the authority of the government, but rely on the resources and authority of God. The Lord Jesus – who while serving men is not the servant of men, but the true servant of God – was asked by the Pharisees about paying taxes. He answered: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mk. 12:17). And the apostle Paul reminded us, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Rom. 13:1).
Some marital relationships are weakened because they are depending on the government and the community rather than on God to supply their needs. We need to rely on the Lord to stabilize our hearts, calm our minds, and supply all our needs (Phil. 4:6,7,19). “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant” (Ps. 25:14).
SECRET 2: Live In The Light Of Eternity
We must remember that our marital relationship is not forever, but only until the coming of Christ for us, or death. The Sadducees asked Jesus about the spousal relationship in the resurrection of a woman who had been married seven times to seven brothers and still died childless. Jesus answered and said to them, “Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven” (Mk. 12:24,25). The Lord affirmed the resurrection, relationship, and a new recognition. It is important that we not take our spouses for granted, but display affection, attention and appreciation for each other. Also, we should spend time reading God’s Word and praying together, recognizing His willingness to help us. We should value the presence of each other, seek God’s counsel, and live together every day in light of eternity. “His secret counsel is with the upright” (Prov. 3:32).
SECRET 3: Let Love Motivate
We must let love and not law be the motivating function in our marital relationship. The Lord Jesus, who is the king with all authority, was asked by a lawyer about the law and love as indicated in the commandment: “‘Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?’ Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ … And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mt. 22:36,37,39).
Love is not simply a feeling or emotion, but a decision. We must love our Lord Jesus with our entire being; to give Him not just prominence, but preeminence; to always give Him what is right, and not what is left. Thank God that He loves us in spite of ourselves. “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 Jn. 4:10).
Then Jesus reminded the lawyer to love his neighbor as he loved himself. Likewise, each of us must not only love our Lord, but also our spouses selflessly. In any marital relationship, legalism will dry love up, drain it out and drag it down. We need love to be revealed in our relationship. The stability of our marriage depends upon our love and submission to the authority of His Word: “Husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the Church” (Eph. 5:28,29).
This may mean that each spouse should feel the pain of the other. If one has a pebble in his/her shoe, that one wants to immediately remove it to prevent any greater pain. Similarly, when one spouse is hurting, the other needs to resolve the issue to prevent it from damaging the relationship. The past cannot be changed, but it can be forgiven.
Thus, both marriage partners need to serve the Lord and each other, not just because they want something but because of love for each other. For those who trust and obey the Lord, it is no secret what God can do to maintain a strong marital relationship, even in hard times.
By Emanuel V. John
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org