On this Valentine's Day I would like to think a little on the hard work of marriage. I was reminded of this from Philip Yancey's recent book on prayer. He referred to marriage in that way, as he reflected on praying for others who were struggling or failing in their marriage.
"Love" hits us, like Cupid's arrow. And we're never the same. That is, until we live together (in holy matrimony) seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Then all bets stop. And "love" can wither and die. Be lost and never found. And the marriage given up, and dissolved.
This is both a tragedy, as well as involving a misunderstanding, even a basic lack of knowledge about life (though, granted, there are cases when it is more than this). There is so much to say here (though I'm hardly an expert on it), it's hard to know where to start. But to know and experience the love of God in Christ Jesus, in our hearts and lives, is a good start in bringing that same love into our marriages, so that our "love life" can be renewed and blossom again, into fullness (just like the beautiful red roses, I've already given to my wife, Deb).
We buy into all kinds of lies and half-truths. And even if there is "truth" in what's being said, we know better. If we're to really choose following Christ, and loving God wholly and our neighbor as ourselves. We can prefer escape over reality. But find in the end that we can never escape from reality. God is there. And he is not silent.
Marriage takes hard work. But the good part of that is that this hard work is relational. It should be about my spouse and me; our relationship together. That those things we each dislike about the other can be prayed about between just ourselves (individually) and God. And maybe brought out into the open at the right time (not the way I've done it, innumerable times). This should be from a love that is willing to work through difficulties, and even obstacles to that love. And refuse anything or anyone who would disrupt or destroy that love.
Of course marriage isn't all about hard work. It should be a joy and delight. We should enjoy, and work at enjoying (if need be) companionship with our "significant other"/spouse. As we've covenanted together in marriage, before God, we have God with us, to help us fulfill that promise made before him. God with us, to help us, in the love of the Trinity, see us through, and more than that, see us live and move and have our being, together, more and more, in that love. A love that, like Christ, is willing to lay down its life, and live that way daily, for the other. As we encourage and challenge one another, in God.
So let's get down to the hard work of marriage. And for those of you who are single, pray for those of us who are married. As we pray for you. That the love of God in Christ, would come through each of us to all others.
What thoughts would you like to add here?