Have you ever attended a marriage conference, retreat, or seminar? Taking copious notes, you have every intention of applying every amazing insight you heard. You find yourself “in love” again and you experience a closeness you haven’t felt in a while. You hope to cultivate and maintain that oneness, but soon the realities of life begin to challenge and work against that oneness.
Tammy and I can remember many marriage conferences we attended. We enjoyed our time away. We soaked in the information we received. And we appreciated the candidness of couples sharing their story. But, once we were thrust back into our daily routine, we seemed to lack the power to stay closely connected. We attempted to overlook unintentional offenses, but our flesh would get the best of us. Somehow we were back in our rut of looking at each other’s actions through a magnifying glass. That’s never good.
What does it take to pursue oneness and stay close no matter what life throws our way?
Pursuing oneness and staying close requires you to take personal inventory of your own relationship with the Lord. You’ll never experience all that God intended for your marriage without experiencing intimacy and closeness with God himself. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). It is through our belief and outward confession of Jesus that we can experience forgiveness and the unconditional love God offers. What an experience to be embraced by our creator and our relationship with God made right. All of our wrongs are forgiven, and even when we are the most unlovable, God shows His love toward us.
How aware are you today of God’s love and forgiveness?
I can remember, years ago, this thought overwhelmed me. All that God offers was freely given to me!
I became convicted. I realized that what I was graciously receiving from God, I was withholding from Tammy. After all, if she wanted my love and acceptance, she needed to earn it. It seemed reasonable to me. Not really… I knew that needed to change. We were in full-blown performance mode. The Lord revealed clearly to me that Tammy was to be fully known and fully loved. I needed to release her from performance and love her the way Christ loved me. No matter what the circumstances were, because of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness for me, I was given the capacity to love the same way.
Pursuing oneness and staying close means you take personal inventory of your relationship with the Lord. Your relationship as a couple will always correlate with your relationship with God.
What power source can you tap into to experience oneness for the long haul?
Can we really love the way God does in our own power? We know the answer is no. God knows that, and provides clear teaching in Scripture on what power source we can depend on. The third person of the trinity - The Holy Spirit - is who provides the capacity to love the way God loves us.
“…and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:5-9
Tammy and I are quickly approaching the 30 year mark of being married. We interact with many other couples who have been together a long time. Those who surrender daily to the work of the Holy Spirit in their personal lives are the couples who experience the greatest satisfaction in their marriage relationship. We are not saying you can’t stay married, but without plugging into the power source of the Holy Spirit, you will not experience true marital satisfaction.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:15-17
Whether you are just married or beyond your golden anniversary, the Holy Spirit is your power source to bring you closer in your marriage each day you are together!
Put down that magnifying glass and pick up the mirror. God will show you how extravagant His love is for you. He will empower you through His Spirit to express that same love for your spouse and others.