4. Christ will never leave the church Both Ian and I were raised in incredibly strong marriages. My parents will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this September and I have yet to ever hear an argument that actually felt like an argument.
Ian’s parent’s were untimely separated by death after 28 years of marriage. In our childhoods, because our parents were faithful to each other and they acts out of love for one another, one parent leaving was never an option. It was never a fear that Ian and I had. It simply was not an option.
We stepped into our marriage with the same mindset – that this is for the long haul. This doesn’t just end because one of us feels like they want something else. Christ never left the church. We had to commit, and keep committing, that we will never leave this marriage, physically, emotionally or spiritually.
I think that one way God protects us from leaving, or wanting to leave, is through acts of humility and forgiveness. One night, I found myself particularly tempted to lust after another able-bodied man. I fought that night between giving into my thoughts and turning away from them. I talked to Ian about it that night, confessing what I had been struggling with and how much I didn’t want to.
“What can I do for you?” he asked, not angry that I had the lust in the first place, or jealous, or judging. “Can you help me think through this?” “It’s a holy God you’re up against,” he said. And then he prayed for me, and showed me that he will not leave me or our marriage. His forgiveness tore down what Satan may have been trying to build. Christ will never leave the church.
From Ian – God is faithful. He never leaves us. Satan uses arguments to break up marriages, but God is faithful and just. He’s there when we most need him when we want to argue with each other.
5. Marriage is not about us. – “The husband is bound by love to ensure that his wife finds their marriage a source of rich fulfillment and joyful service to the Lord.” -ESV Study Bible notes
Not rich fulfillment and joyful service to myself.
Ian doesn’t do this by making me feel good about myself. He does this by washing me with the Word and by pointing me to heaven and Christ’s accomplished work and building my identity in Christ. He does this by praying for me when I’m feeling anxious. He does this by asking me what he can do to help when I’m struggling at work. He does this by telling me that it’s a holy God that I’m up against instead of taking it personally when I confess to him my temptations to lust. Loving a spouse is not always an emotional response.
From Ian – I second it all. You have to realize emotions aren’t always truth. When you do, you start at the beginning of this message of applying these truths.