A few weeks ago, I married the love of my life, Chelsey. So far, it’s been great and if I were to tell you the secret to marriage at this point, it would be something like, “Have fancy parties celebrating your relationship and go on vacations non-stop.” Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way and we eventually must go back to work and pay the bills.
God has blessed us a lot in our marriage. We’re not fighting with each other, we’re not in financial hardship, and everything is calm and content right now. But Chelsey and I both know that this won’t last forever, and it’ll start to feel less like marital bliss and more like marital hardship at times. We also know that just because times might get tougher, it doesn’t mean that God will love us any less. God’s love isn’t based on our earthly success or emotional state – it’s constant – it comes from the love He showed us on the cross.
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 (NIV)
When we were going through our pre-marital counseling, one lesson that stuck with us was that we need to put each other first, before ourselves. Since the day we were born, we both were used to putting ourselves first, so learning how to do this isn’t going to be easy. God has been doing this the whole time for us. He has been putting us first since the day he created us, while we fail daily in putting Him first in our lives. Because of our sin, we fail to always love each other, as opposed to God’s eternal love.
“We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” 1 John 4: 19-21 (NIV)
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve been given is to pray every night with your spouse before bedtime. This will help keep Christ at the center of the relationship. Let’s just say that this is a routine that we’re still working on. Once we get better at being consistent with daily prayer together, it will prepare our hearts and minds for the hardships that will come. It will help us keep Christ at the center of our marriage, even when we fail to put Him first or each other above ourselves.
This Valentine’s Day, I encourage you to make a commitment to getting more into the Word with your loved ones. Christ isn’t just the center of marital relationships, but of all relationships. Invite your friends and family to make a routine of daily prayer and devotions. Let God’s love flow from Him through you, to everyone around you.
Photo by: Alyssa Pearl Photography