June 29, 2021
My son Jonathan got married this past Saturday. He and his beautiful bride Elyse met each other in college chorale and had been dating for a number of years. As they got to know each other, they concluded that they would be better people, and their lives would be better, together. Out of that conviction and deep love, they took vows and committed themselves to one another “as long as we both shall live.” It was moving and beautiful. I am excited to welcome Elyse and for their future together.
But I did tell Jonathan and Elyse this truth that all married people know. Getting married is the easy part. Staying in love, treating each other as love requires, maximizing the potential of your marriage is the challenge, and it doesn’t happen with either one of you asleep at the wheel. You get to decide how good, strong, and intimate your relationship with one another will be.
Marriage is really a picture of Christ and His church—all who profess to follow Him. You know how it is in the family. If the marriage suffers, the whole family suffers. When there is little intimacy between the parents, sparse attention, not much generosity or sacrificial love, the whole family shows the effects. There is chaos, dysfunction, insecurity, breakdown of relationships, and everyone suffers. The pain continues and grows outside of the family too. Everyone who loves them, interacts with them, or even watches them is affected.
So it is in the church. When our relationship with Jesus gets put on the back burner, when our love for Him and the others who make up the church is not flourishing, it affects everyone and everything around us. It brings confusion and chaos into the church. Relationships get brittle. Misunderstandings ripple. Gossip and questions add to the disruption, and life is HARD. The young ones are confused, disillusioned, and become cynical. The trust level goes bankrupt. And a watching world loses faith in the very people, the very relationships through which God intended to bring hope to the world.
So let me ask you, if you are married, how is your relationship with your spouse? Are the flames of love burning high? Are they fueled by the sacrificial commitment, the forgiving love, and the intentional serving that characterized it at the start? You are having an impact on everyone who watches you: your family, your neighbors… You are setting yourself up for a great future or a failure.
How is your relationship with Jesus? Are you intentionally fueling and building it? Are you growing your relationships with your siblings in the family? People are watching. You have an eternal impact.