We live in a world consumed with what Valentine’s Day purports to offer: fulfilling relationships, true happiness, gratifying sex, unending romance, and the elation of finding the love of your life.
But the day never mentions how complete satisfaction and joy can only come from a relationship with Jesus. Any person other than him will always leave you wanting more.
A marriage instead of a wedding
I have had the honor to officiate dozens of weddings. Nothing can beat the joy, hope, and anticipation of a wedding day.
During the ceremony, I tell the couple I have five wedding gifts that will be more useful and meaningful than the finest china, the slickest salad spinner, or the best coffee maker.
I reminder them of the character of Christ and how his promises can actually be evident in their marriage. These truths can help those looking forward to marriage as well as anyone already married, for one day or 80 years.
1. You are the biggest threat to your marriage
The biggest threat to your marriage is you. It is not your spouse, your finances, your in-laws, your health, your rebellious children, or your attractive co-worker. It is you. But the good news is Jesus is the great threat-breaker. As a covenant and promise-keeping God, Jesus is more committed to your transformation and marriage than you are. Get to know him more deeply and invite your spouse to do the same. Do it together.
2. I hope this is the day you love each other the least
Scores of time, money, energy, and effort goes toward finding “the one” and planning a wedding day instead of finding the One God and planning a marital lifetime based in him. Consequently, for many couples, the pinnacle of marriage is their wedding day, and it goes down hill from there.
The true love of the Bible is intentionally made, not magically found. God’s love for you is steadfast—it cannot be moved nor does it end. Words like “purposeful,” “commitment,” “initiative,” and “thoughtful” are some of the most romantic and sexy out there. Begin practicing them in your marriage today.
3. Extend grace, forgiveness, and encouragement to each other daily
It’s really difficult to become bitter, resentful, and hard-hearted toward someone you are forgiving, gracing, and encouraging daily (Heb. 3:13). These qualities are fuel in the tank of marriage. Anytime you apply them, you are joining Jesus in fighting Satan, sin, and death (of relationship) and continuing to breath life into your marriage.
4. Seek and recognize God’s mercy
One of the most encouraging and hopeful Scriptures I know, oddly enough, is from one of the least traditionally encouraging books, Lamentations. To lament means, “to mourn or grieve deeply.” In the midst of his suffering, in chapter 3, verses 22–24, the author has great hope in God. He recognizes his ongoing need for God, regardless of his circumstances.
Too often we forget we need the mercy of God daily, not just the day he saved us. We need him both when we are doing well and struggling deeply. We find comfort in the presence of God, not in the absence of problems.
5. The best day of your marriage was the day Jesus rose from the dead
Many of us believe, to a point, that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. However, we often live like we don’t believe he rose from the grave three days later and is still alive and well. The truth is that he died for us, so we can die to ourselves. He lives for us so we can live for him and others. Because Jesus is alive, we can begin to see, think about, and live life differently. His life makes a difference in bringing ongoing life to your marriage. Life is difficult, whether you remain single or are married. When faced with the realities of pain and suffering, we need to live in the reality that Jesus is with us. He is our hope.
Happy Valentine’s Day!