“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14
Maybe you’ve seen the bumper sticker, “Life is the school, love is the lesson.” If life is the school then I propose that marriage is the laboratory in the school. Marriage is where a man and a woman freely lock themselves into this small room with vows to one another, and then give God permission to lock the door from the other side by their vows to Him. God’s purpose is that we stay in there until we don’t want to ever get out because we’ve learned how to love.
God knows that if we can learn how to really love one person with all their flaws, we will be able to love anyone. How can we learn to love God’s way in our marriages?
- Focus on how you’re loving your spouse, not on how they’re loving you. There is no command requiring us to make sure we’re being treated in a certain way. When we focus on how our spouse is treating us, we’re set up for grievances.
- Put on love every day. Being in Christ, dearly loved, holy and chosen, doesn’t guarantee we will live in love; it only makes it possible. A few verses earlier, we are called to put off the old man and put on the new. (Colossians 3:9) Both outfits are in a Christian’s closet. If we don’t choose to put on love every day, we are capable of living just as selfishly as those who have no interest in pleasing God.
- Return to the source when love runs dry. One of the most shocking things we find out in the laboratory of marriage is how unloving we can be. Don’t freak out when you don’t feel you love your spouse anymore; get a refill. You can be fully assured that Jesus loves your spouse as much as ever and is able to soften and empower your heart again.
After God locks the laboratory door, He walks through it and will be the center of our marriages, if we will only let Him. And a cord of three strands is really hard to break!