L O V E. There’s no greater love than the love Jesus showed us by sacrificing himself on the cross.
Easter always reminds me of how much God cares for me and that no matter what he’ll never leave me. This Easter wasn’t much different – we went to church, talked about the real meaning of Easter with our kids, and had our family Easter egg hunt in our backyard. Even in the midst of all that I was still able to take a moment to reflect on how much Jesus has done for me and continues to do for me. But there was this one nagging thought in the back of my mind that I just couldn’t shake…
How was I showing Jesus’s unfailing love in my marriage?
Now of course I haven’t been asked to literally lay my life down for my husband but somewhere inside of me I felt like I should be loving my husband the same way Jesus loves me. It’s amazing how God will give you the exact revelation at the moment that you need it the most.
You see, these past couple of weeks have been a bit rough for me. I can admit that I probably haven’t been the easiest person to get along with. It’s that time of year in the education world just before Spring Break when everybody is on edge -students, teachers and counselors like myself included. My job has had me run down and stressed out lately….to the point where after work I’ve been coming home acting like Cruella Deville from Disney’s 101 Dalmatians or some other equally cranky (yet lovable!) character. Can anyone else relate? I’m sure I’m not the only one that brings the emotions of work home and sadly takes it out on the one that I love most, my husband Carlton. My short responses, emotional distance, and irritability all played a part in putting a strain on my relationship with him. We weren’t fighting or even arguing but there was a cloud of tension that was hovering over our marriage. We could both feel that something was a bit off that was keeping us from truly connecting.
Then as I was preparing for Resurrection Sunday God revealed something to me—marriage is a lot like Easter. He reminded me that no matter what state your marriage is in, whether it’s just a rough patch or on the brink of failure it can be RESURRECTED, just like Jesus was RISEN from the dead.
You may be wondering how could you possibly compare marriage to Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the dead? Well allow me to show you where I’m going with this…
To ‘resurrect’ means to bring back to life or bring a new vigor to. Our marriages aren’t dead by any means but there are always times where you need to bring back the “brightness” that was there before. If any of our marriages are in a lull or are lacking the newness and freshness that they once had, it may be time to make the effort to resurrect some things in your marriage.
In order to restore that connection, God showed me that every marriage takes Perseverance, Communication, & Forgiveness, much like what Jesus exhibited in the time leading up to Easter.
Perseverance—There was a time when Jesus considered giving up. Just before he was crucified he asked God to take the cup (of suffering) away from him, but ultimately prayed that God’s will be done instead of his. Similarly, there will be times when we want to give up in our marriage but we must continue, realizing that loving our spouse unconditionally is what God has called us to do.
Communication—In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus took time to talk to God when he felt weary and it was time for him to be crucified. He wanted to talk to God his father about his feelings and what he was going through. Jesus would never expect us to do something that he himself didn’t do. Talk with your spouse about what you’re going through and about how you’re feeling – they aren’t mind readers and need to hear it from you. If Jesus had to verbalize his feelings to God, our spouses probably deserve a little explanation sometimes to help them better understand our emotions.
Forgiveness—whichever side you’re on, choose forgiveness. Jesus forgave all of our sins, and we also have to make a conscious effort to forgive our spouses and also ourselves for past mistakes. This can sometimes be difficult for us, but holding on to past grudges makes it nearly impossible for us to fully give our love to our spouse in order to exemplify the Godly image intended for our marriage.
Remember that whatever you may be going through – whether it be infidelity, resentment, financial struggles – your marriage can be restored if you make an effort to persevere, communicate, and forgive. This week I encourage you to be mindful that just beyond the feelings of wanting to give up are resurrection and restoration for your marriage!