As I write this, I think back to this moment two years ago. I was rushing around the church awaiting my wedding. It was surreal.
Marriage truly is a gift from God. It is a relationship unlike any other that you have in life. Marriage is sanctifying. It has a way of magnifying your imperfections: your areas of selfishness, your temperament, your approach to conflict, your bad habits. But in that, we see the beauty of marriage because it’s an opportunity to grow in all of those areas.
When done right, there’s nothing in the world that’s better than a great marriage: two people who love each other, who support and serve each other, and who bring out the best in each other.
Marriage is a daily walk. Just like the pursuit of a strong Spiritual life or physical fitness, you can never rest on what you’ve done in the past. You must constantly be developing.
The Book of Ephesians gives men a very high standard for marriage:
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church
When Paul calls on husbands to love their wives as Christ love the church and gave himself up for her, it’s a call to sacrificial love. That’s hard to do. It’s much easier to know the answer than it is to live out that truth. There’s always a temptation to look at marriage as what it can do for us. It’s human nature. It’s human nature to keep score and to be self-righteous. It’s human nature to have more patience and understanding for our own faults than we do for the faults of another. But all of those work to the detriment of marriage.
I fail at this. All the time.
But it’s important to know the truth and to live in pursuit of that ideal.
That’s my thought for this day as I celebrate year 2 of marriage.
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Josh Benner is the pastor of Christian Bible Church in Cissna Park, Illinois. He has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He has an awesome wife named Kari.