hen I think about the couples that have been most meaningful in my life, three or four come to mind. These couples have encouraged me to grow deeper in my relationship with the Lord and they’ve been a huge support for me as a wife. There were times when they directly spoke into my life, but I have been more impacted by the way that they live their lives and how their marriages and their love for each other reflect God’s love. When I think of them, I think of how they deeply care for one another. I think of how they submit to each other out of a pure desire to serve the other. I’m inspired by a wife that was devoted to her husband when he was struggling with depression. I want to be more giving to Adam when I hear about a husband who brings his wife coffee in bed every morning. I am in awe of the couple that worked through a financial crisis and came out strong, rather than defeated. In action, they are showing what it means to submit to each other and are actively pursuing love.
From all of this, perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned is that our marriages are the greatest and most important testimony that we can show the world about the character and love of Jesus Christ.
How we relate to our spouse is a direct reflection of our relationship with Jesus. There are so many couples who talk about how they love Jesus and are involved in many church activities (missions, Bible studies, leading youth group, etc.), but how they act in their marriage discredits their testimony. Why would someone want to know about a relationship with Jesus if our marriage, the most important relationship in our lives, were an example of selfishness, passivity, and discontent?
It takes an active effort to keep our marriages thriving and showing Christ’s love. To keep Jesus and love at the center of our motivations, here are six things we can do on a daily basis:
- Pray for strength, wisdom, and a gentle spirit.
- Spend time in God’s word.
- Seek ways to serve your spouse.
- Keep the right focus.
- Call out what’s good.
- Praise your spouse to others.
Ask God to help you to love your spouse and to put their needs first. We can’t do this on our own. We need His help to truly love our spouse the way Jesus loves them.
Make an effort to learn how to be more like Jesus. The more we become like Jesus, the better we will be able to love our spouse.
Set any selfishness aside and focus on how you can show them love. Whether they deserve it or not–because, really, do we ever DESERVE love?
Instead of focusing on feelings, which are misleading and fleeting, focus on God’s truth. Some days showing love will be easy and other days it will be more difficult. We have to choose to fight for our marriage, rather than for ourselves.
Find the things you love about your spouse and make a point to tell them. An encouraging word has the power to uplift your spouse and break down resentment and anger.
Our words have incredible power. When we praise our spouse to others, they’ll see the admiration and love that we have for each other.
All throughout the Bible, God talks about how our actions are stronger than our words. In 1 John 3:23, John writes about how we are to love one another. He talks in detail about how we are to love in action. Jesus, the Savior and King of the world, put this love into action when He washed His disciples’ feet (John 13:1-17). Jesus not only used words to tell us what to do, but He showed us by actively participating. As believers, we sometimes forget our greatest mission is to love our spouse in this sacrificial, spectacular way. Love is a verb, not a noun. As Bob Goff says, “Simply put, love does”.
The stronger our marriages are (and the more loving we are to our spouses) the more powerful an example we can be of Jesus’ love. THAT love is what will draw people in. THAT love is what will make people curious about Jesus. It’s a beautiful thing,
Through God’s grace, I hope that someday our marriage will have the same impact on someone that these other couples’ marriages have had on my life. The idea that our marriage is a reflection of God’s love makes me absolutely positive that I want it to be the best that it can be, and it encourages me when things aren’t so easy.
What about you? What couples in your life have inspired or shaped your marriage? Share with us in the comments below…