Living in a society that stresses “Look out for number one”, there appears to be an over abundance of “Number One’s”. Who is “Number One” to you? Do you consider yourself “Number One”, or is there a “Number One” in your life? Married couples should have a “Number One”. Physically speaking, a married couple has a “Number One” — their spouse! Spiritually speaking the married couples’ “Number One” should be Jesus Christ! Often times couple who may be struggling with different marital “stresses” look at one another to find fault and somewhere to place blame. Is it your spouse’s fault? More times than none, it’s probably your own fault. Why? Where is your focus? What are you focusing on in your marriage covenant? Is it the “Holy Contract” that you made with your spouse and God? It’s important to keep in mind the seriousness of that agreement! All too often we hear about separations and divorces. These can be avoided if we would refocus and remember our responsibility and remain where we are!
1 — Remember
Remember your focus point. Look to Christ, then spouse, children. Remember all of the sweet, polite, caring, and kind things you did and said when you first met and started dating. The way you acted when you went out for dinner or to a movie. You treated one another as if he/she was a king or a queen. You went out of your way to make sure things were as near perfect as possible. There were sweet notes, flirting and you constantly held hands.
Now that you’ve been married for some time, some of those things have changed or simple not done at all. You’ve gotten used to one another, maybe you haven’t gotten used to one another and you are just existing. There is always something to distract your attention. Pressures at work, the children needing attention, financial problems, problems at church and so on. It appears that no matter where you turn, there is some sort of distraction. Where is your attention focused? Is it focused on yourself? Others? Most importantly — is your attention focused on your spouse? More important than that, is your attention focused on Jesus Christ? Remember who brought the two of you together. Your meeting one another was no accident or something that happened by chance.
God the Father saw that it was “Not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper who is right for Him” (Genesis 2:18). So we see that our marriages are in fact — Made in Heaven. We need to remember that God wants us to treat one another with the love and mercy that He has shown us personally! When the children of Israel were “slaves” to Pharaoh, they begged and pleaded for their release. Some of the pleadings that may have gone up re “Send us someone to help us. Something needs to be done.” God answered their prayers by sending Moses to lead them out of captivity. God hears our prayers when we plead with him — remember those “pleadings” for a mate? God answers our prayers even when we don’t take into consideration the responsibility that may come with those answered prayers!
2 — Responsibility
We have a responsibility to our mates. We’re responsible or our mates’ well-being, in the physical sense, emotionally. On the day you exchanged vows, whether before a magistrate or a minister, you made a promise, a vow before God to love, cherish, honor, and obey your spouse. You vowed to — Forsake All Others. This vow or covenant, next to baptism is the most important vow or covenant we can make with someone. We have a responsibility to do everything in our “physical” power to uphold this covenant. We are responsible for respecting one another by obeying the will of Christ which is to obey each other, to love each other and to help each other!
Ephesians 5:22 says, “Wives, yield to your husbands as you do to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church. In other words, wives, respect your husbands as you respect Christ, however, do not put your husband above Christ. In some cases the wife is the only one saved in a marriage. This is not a just cause for the wife not to fulfill her duties as a wife to her husband. And vice versa — a saved husband should not put demands on his unsaved wife. No demands should be made by either spouse! In verse 25, Christ instructs husbands to love their wives as He loved the church and gave himself for it. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice by giving his fife in order to “take are” of the church! Husbands, are you willing to give up what you have for your wife? Christ did so that the church could be pure and without fault.
We should live our lives not to cause sin in someone else or to bring sin on them! Strive for righteousness in your life, in your marriage and in your families. It is so easy to get caught up in the “things of this world”. The saying “Everything that glitters is not gold” is indeed true! Satan will stop at nothing to taint the purity of a marriage covenant. Satan thrives on destruction of relationships between husbands and wives, parents and children. The list goes on and on. Regardless of what Satan throws at us, we’re better off in the long run if we cling to Christ and remain in our covenant with our mates. We should look to Christ as our ultimate example. Are you living up to your spouses’ expectations? That doesn’t matter as much as living up to the expectations of Jesus Christ. Christ instructs us to love one another. The Greek word is AGAPE which means an unconditional love. A love that is always an “outgoing concern” for another person’s well-being. Not a love that has conditions or requirements! In other words, regardless of how someone treats you, show love in return. Don’t have requirements or rules that say — “As long as you do … or as long as you do not do …, I’ll love you.” Love does not and should not work that way.
Live is “dealing with any and all aspects of our relationships with a caring attitude, without placing blame or fault”. These last two should be addressed with one another in such a way that the issue-at-hand is resolved for the benefit of both spouses and not be a heavy burden. Remember God put you together and He does not want to see any separation! Remain as one!
3 — Remain
Remaining as a family structure is not an easy task in this present society that we live in. No matter where you go there are indications that there is a lack of a family structure. Marital strife is the number one problem in the church today as we know it. This shouldn’t be! Again, where is our focus? Divorce is becoming the norm in our society and tight-knit families an oddity. With single parenthood (much of which was not the fault of the spouse with the child) constantly rising, there is only so much the mother or father is some cases, can do. Worse yet, teen pregnancy rising on a daily basis. Our children are not being taught true “family values”. Values to live by on a “day in — day out” basis. With an “I got mine, you get your own” kind of attitude, things only get worse. Married couples need to develop a closer relationship with Christ! Again, where is our focus? God ordained marriage to be a blessed and holy union! Not to be gotten out of, except through death!
Present day marriage vows have the statement, “Till Death Do Us Part”. We’re not taking this part of our marriage covenant seriously! We need to reevaluate our commitments that we have made to our spouse. More importantly, we need to reevaluate our commitment and our focus to Christ! Rededicate yourself to your spouse. No matter what you think your “problem or situation” is. Stop trying to change things. You can’t. I can’t. Only God can. Re-focus your attention on Jesus Christ and He will in return make the necessary changes in your marriage and family life. Christ will then allow you to be examples of “Light” in this world of darkness. Divorce should not be an option to consider, unless there are scriptural reasons. Matthew 5:32 says, “Only for marital unfaithfulness”. Marital unfaithfulness does not limit itself to adultery only!
Marital unfaithfulness can also include improper thoughts or lusts, physically and spiritually speaking. There are forms of misconduct in a marriage that could also be included such as alcoholism, physical abuse, emotional abuse or just plain neglect. If Christ is in us, there should be no reason for neglecting our spouse or our family. Sometimes we feel like we need to “get away”. Well, that may be, but plan a family “get away”, or a special trip for just you and your spouse. Another thing to remember, if you feel you need a “break”, your spouse could very well need a break as well. Work on your own faults! Work them out with Jesus Christ! And Christ will help you to refocus your attention so that your priorities will be in the right place! Remain where you are — in love! Remember your Responsibility, and Remain where you are!