He did it again. His wife is growing bitter as empty promises fill the room for the third time.
“I won’t mess up again.”
“I’ll do better.”
“I’ll get help.”
All words she’s heard before.
She begins to contemplate divorce.
Reverse the roles and you end up with the same disappointment, the same hurt. I don’t think any other person has the power to hurt us the way our spouse can.
As much potential as our spouse has to hurt us, it is also true that no other person on the planet can love us the way our spouse can. This has certainly been true for myself and my wife, Kyndel. We have both caused each other immense pain. However, the mountain tops are higher than any I’ve ever experienced.
Matt Chandler, a pastor in Dallas, Texas, has said, “Love says: ‘I’ve seen the ugly parts of you, and I’m staying.’” What a powerful way to live out the gospel! Shannon hit the nail on the head on Sunday when he said worship is what determines success or failure in our marriages.
In Ephesians 5:21, Paul instructs the Church to “submit to one another in the fear of Christ” (CSB). In the following twelve verses, Paul specifically tells husbands and wives what that submission should look like in a marital covenant. Paul quotes Genesis 2:24 and then says: “This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the Church. To sum up, each one of you [husbands] is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband” (Ephesians 5:32-33, CSB).
In the New Testament, a mystery is something that had a hidden purpose in the past but has now been revealed. Paul says that the mystery (hidden purpose) of marriage is a reflection of Christ and the Church. Your marriage is a picture or parable or display of Christ and the Church. What a privilege!
But it’s often not easy. As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, marriage can be one of the most painful relationships as two broken people become one. But the gospel changes us and gives us a new purpose. The same Holy Spirit who gave us new birth also gives us the strength to display the gospel in our marriages. What a powerful example to our spouse and to the world when we show grace.
Grace, by definition, is undeserved. So you might be right. Your husband (or wife) doesn’t deserve it. But if God waited to show you grace until you deserved it, grace would never come. To echo Shannon, this life is not about us; it’s about glorifying God. The repeated exclamation in Ephesians 1 is “to the praise of His glorious grace” (CSB). Let’s begin to show our spouse the same grace that God showed us in Christ. Undeserved. For the purpose of displaying the gospel.