Today I received the following “What’s App” text from my husband:
“A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.” —Ruth Bell Graham
“We obviously have a happy marriage then—we both have to forgive so much all the time!”
God, repentance, and forgiveness are three of the most vital ingredients needed in a relationship if you are going to have a happy and fulfilled marriage.
“Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.” —Peter Ustinov
We need to develop the habit of forgiveness and tenderness in our marriages.
When we announced our marriage, our home fellowship group at that time gave us a card with the following words inscribed on it:
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” —Matthew 6:33 (NAS Bible)
That card hangs on the wall in our hallway and I often find myself standing before it reflecting on what those words mean in the context of a marriage.
Righteousness in its simplest form means doing what is right, just, and fair.
I often don’t behave towards my husband in a fair and just manner and vice versa—we both become distracted by our work, family responsibilities and what we are lacking in our own lives instead of concentrating on each other’s needs. When we start focusing on each other we find that our work, raising our children and our worries become far more manageable as we discuss them together and support each other. In other words, all these things—peace, communication, unity are added to us.
In the scriptures, Jesus compared the kingdom of God to a mustard seed:
Then Jesus asked, “What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.” —Luke 13:18–19
Godly marriages, to me, are synonymous with the mustard seed.
The seed needs to be planted in fertile soil—our hearts need to be prepared to nurture and care for the heart of our spouse.
Proverbs 4:23 states “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Just as the soil needs to be ‘guarded’ against pollution and worms, our hearts need to be guarded against feelings of jealousy, anger, resentment, and boredom.
The seed needs to be watered and fertilized—attention and care need to be spent on it. The same is true of marriage. We need to spend time with each other, loving and building each other up lest the marriage withers and dies from lack of attention.
As we nurture each other in the marriage, our marriage can grow into a wonderful force and power that will be a safe haven, a place of shelter for our children and others to find refuge in and under. A place of shade, rest and peace.
Just as the birds of the air perch in the branches of the mustard tree, Godly marriages need to have branches that will support our children and other marriages.
Marriage should be a place of sanctuary and peace not a battlefield of resentment and anger.
The apostle Paul states very clearly that the kingdom of heaven needs to be present in our lives on a daily basis: “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)
Our marriages should be filled with righteousness, peace, and joy.
And just as Christ’s kingdom will endure forever our marriages need to endure till death us do part.
Originally written for Start Marriage Right and published on http://www.startmarriageright.com/