In the beginning, God created, among other things, the perfect marriage. He did this by fashioning one of Adam’s ribs into the perfect mate for him. The couple began their new life in a dream home, a virtual masterpiece created by the supreme Architect of all time. In their pre-sin existence, Adam and Eve perfectly complemented and satisfied each other.
Hence, the majority of couples enter the relationship with a selfish viewpoint. For example, a young man first notices a girl’s body and immediately thinks, “Wow! Not only would she make me look good to others, but she would meet my every desire.” The young woman might entertain romantic fantasies about this “cute” guy falling madly in love with her.
Both enter marriage thinking solely about themselves and their own desires. When their spouse fails to measure up to their unrealistic expectations, they begin to fight for their rights. The end result is often divorce.
The Apostle Paul gives us a glimpse into what it takes to make a marriage work when he says, “The one who is married is concerned about… how he may please his wife,” or conversely for the wife, how she “may please her husband.” (I Corinthians 7:32-34)
Although Paul was making a separate point in this brief exchange, he provides one of the greatest insights into this subject that I know of: successful marriage happens when husbands and wives are determined to please each other. In a similar vein of thought, he later exhorted Ephesian men to love their wives the way Christ loved the church, “and gave Himself up for her…” Unquestionably, unselfishness is the foundational principle of love.
There is one more aspect to the perfect marriage that I should mention: Adam and Eve were called to fulfill a higher purpose. “The Lord took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (Genesis 2:15) I believe this verse introduces a vital principal regarding God’s purpose in marriage.
Every couple needs to seek the Lord as to His purpose for their lives. This brings an added dimension to their relationship and shifts their focus off themselves to a higher calling and destiny. Some couples learn to love each other, but never step outside their own little existence to serve God and others.
For those who find their marriage in trouble – don’t despair. God is not only the marriage maker but also the marriage restorer. First, it is important to renounce and repent of selfishness, asking your spouse for forgiveness where necessary. Begin to invest in your spouse’s needs while setting aside your own needs and desires. Finally, and most importantly, begin to seek God together as to His calling and purpose for your marriage.
Habit patterns are not easily changed, so be patient with one another. Spend time daily with the Lord seeking His wisdom, love and patience. Allow the dew of His presence to water your relationship. You’ll find it will flourish.