This month the beautiful Mrs Ezard and I celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. And celebrate we do. We don’t take it or each other for granted.
Marriage has some incredible blessings, but is also hard work no matter how “in love” you are. There will always be days where one or both of us are slightly off-alignment and rub each other the wrong way. No marriage is perfect; neither spouse is perfect, so why should we expect different?
With God’s blessing our friction is occasional and minor (not huge gear-shredding arguments). I remember one particular day when I walked in the door after work and for no reason whatsoever, the first few words out of both of our mouths had a sharp edge to them. It was so odd that I actually said “let me try that again”. I went outside, shut the door behind me and then came back in. It was a reset and we were perfectly fine afterwards. Sometimes you have to recognise the grumps have nothing to do with reality (or rationality).
I believe that marriage is intended to the most intimate and fulfilling relationship that a man and a woman can have. Marriage is an analogy of, and an expression of, God’s love for humanity. It is the strong core of the family unit; the building block of society.
As marriage is such a critical element of individual’s lives and society, no surprise that our enemy Satan would wage war upon marriage at every opportunity and at every level. All who are married should realise they are at war – it’s just not their spouse they should be fighting against. The real enemy of themselves, their spouse and their marriage is Satan. Back-to-back take on the real enemy.
Many people have good marriages; I believe that my Christian faith has been a monumental, irreplaceable, reinforcing strength in my marriage. In today’s blog, I’m going to give you 3 reasons why…
What ‘D’ word? On my wedding day my sister passed on advice: the ‘d’ word doesn’t exist. It is never to be said to one another. It is not an option, not a possibility. (Here I must stop and sadly add a caveat. In this fallen world there are times where for safety of self and children, divorce or separation must be considered. In most rules there is an exception).
During times of difficulty when it’s tempting to buckle under the barrage and “sound the retreat”, it’s good to remember it’s fight or die; there is no ‘d’ retreat. If it’s not an option it encourages us to dig deeper, endure more and work through our problems.
It’s about relationship. While a hard-and-fast “no divorce” rule might stop us from divorcing, it won’t help us to have a healthy and loving marriage. And that should always be the goal.
As a Christian, God’s Word (the Bible) – which we have committed to trust, revere and obey – doesn’t give me or my wife anywhere to hide.
Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ephesians+5:24-26&version=NI
Stick in there: Chances are a lot of people read the first sentence, got angry and then stopped reading. They might not have even got this far: this passage is a firebrand by today’s standards.
Of the commands to the husband and the wife I think the husband’s job is far more difficult. He is to be utterly sacrificial in his love for his wife. Jesus gave his all for the church, and so must a husband for his wife. That means when I’m exhausted, it’s no excuse to be lazy. Even when I have a 100% completely valid complaint, I still have to respond in love. My reaction to her has nothing to do with my rights. Every day, sacrificial.
In the excellent (and free) ‘A Christ-Centred Marriage’ lecture series Dr Bryan Chapell explains the husband is obligated by God to use his authority for the good of his spouse and family. And in the same way, the wife expresses all of her intelligence, beauty, ability, talent and gifts for the good of the husband. What a powerful and strong concept that both partners are continually building one another up.
Sometimes it would be convenient (at least in the short-term) to forget what Jesus expects of me. But because I have a relationship with him and he is Lord of my life, I can’t ignore his expectations. And so his Word draws us back to a healthy relationship with one another.
Together. Another important – and I think, oft-overlooked point, is the fact that we share our faith. That means we have the same goals in life. We’re in it together. We share that which is most important to one another.