Marriage is a lifetime commitment.
The Bible teaches us that love is enduring. It is a lifetime commitment. Love always hopes, perseveres, trusts. It does not give up…
I do…take two!
Now, just three things…first…
31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”[a] 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.
Take one…the man and the woman says “I do…” for the first time. Try to visualize your own wedding day. The groom anxiously stands waiting at the altar for the bride to walk down the aisle. What goes through his head ? There are mixed emotions. He is excitedly leaving his single life behind. He experiences overwhelming joy.
“I do” is the promise of love. By coming into the altar, the man and the woman declare their intention before God to give themselves to each other. God joins them as husband and wife into one-flesh union. When the couple says, “I do” they are saying “I do promise to live in covenant with you – to commit myself to you”.
Marriage begins with a statement of intention, but good intentions do not make good marriages.
You can promise your spouse the world before the wedding, but it is what you do after that wedding that makes or breaks the marriage. You have to give yourself to the marriage. You have to give yourself to your spouse.
God appointed men to lead their families. As head of the family, we are to take the lead. We must be the covenant initiator and as such, we assume greater responsibility for seeing it fulfilled. God initiated covenants with Noah, Abraham, and David. He is the covenant keeper. God is committed to us as His people.
The pronouncement of husband and wife at the end of the wedding ceremony is more than a change of name. It is part of the “I do.” The “I do”, from this time on, take my stand to be your husband/wife”. But it takes two people, both the husband and the wife to keep this promise.
TAKE TWO: I Still Do,
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Take two…the husband and the wife says “I still do” once again before God. “I still do…” is the progress of love. After years…and many years of being together the husband and the wife renew their vow to keep on loving each other ’till death do they part. And only death can separate the two.
In verses 4-7, the apostle Paul gives us a vivid description of Biblical love. We learn what love is, what love is not, and what love does.
Let’s take a look at the inspired picture of love. I want us to personalize it by inserting our name in place of the noun “love” to see whether we somehow satisfy the given description.
( Your name) is patient, ( Your name) is kind. ( Your name) does not envy, ( Your name) does not boast, i( Your name) s not proud. 5 ( Your name) does not dishonor others, ( Your name) is not self-seeking, i( Your name) s not easily angered, ( Your name) keeps no record of wrongs. 6 ( Your name) does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 ( Your name) always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
So how was it? Did you even come close? Of course not! It’s a very high standard. It’s a standard we can’t achieve on our own. But by the grace of God, we can exhibit these traits in increasing measure.
The key to a successful, satisfying and sustaining relationship is God.
Without God there is no us! I believe it is God all the way from start to finish.
IT TAKES THREE: I Always Will,
1 Cor. 13:8a. True love never fails. “Piptei” in Greek literally means “falls or collapses.” Love never folds under the most severe and intense pressure. It never throws in the towel. It perseveres to the point of death. Love is constant and steady. It does the “God-pleasing thing” all the time. Love never fails. It shall endure forever and ever.
True love is permanent! And since love is permanent, it ought to be important to us. Love has to be taken seriously. What makes marriage like heaven? The answer is – It is LOVE! Do you take love seriously?
But love between the husband and the wife will not stand alone. It takes three to stand. It takes two to make a marriage, but it is better if it takes three, when that third partner in a marriage is Jesus! Who else can forgive all wrongs we do to each other every day? Who else can give us the strength to forgive each other, as God has forgiven us? Who else can put respect in the heart of the woman, so that she submits to her husband, as the Church submits to Christ? Who else can put love in a man’s heart and in his actions other than Jesus, who loved us,and gave Himself for us.
It takes two to make a marriage, but three is better, when that third person is Jesus!
Love without Jesus is nothing. It will always fall short. Love with Jesus will never fail. It always was, always is and always will.
True love is a covenant because it is a relationship of commitment. When a day comes when you are in conflict with each other, and you will fight with each other, remember that in your marriage, you are keeping a covenant. Jesus stands in between to give us the strength to forgive each other. When you are tempted to look at another woman, remember that marriage is a covenant of love. When you are tempted to look at another man, remind yourself that marriage is a covenant. When that day comes when your wife is no longer as lovely or as sexy as she used to be, remember marriage is keeping covenant. When the day comes when your husband is not as exciting as he used to be, remember marriage is keeping covenant.
On our own, our love for our spouse may always falter. We need the love of Jesus to respond supernaturally, in love.
It takes three!
ACT the way love acts.
Love is alive when it is patient. Love is alive when it is kind. Love is alive when it is not proud. Love is alive when it is not rude. Love is alive when it cares. Love is alive when it acts.
Acts of love add value to whatever it touches. It enriches all that it touches. What acts of love can you practice today? Here are some suggestions, you may wish to consider:
- – Hug and kiss each other before going to work.
- – Send a text message mid-day just to see what he/she is doing.
- – Compliment your spouse in front of your children.
INVOLVE Jesus in your marriage.
Marriage is first and foremost a spiritual relationship. It works best when two people are connected individually to God, and then as couples, are connected to Jesus. It also works when they walk with Him, obey Him in Scripture, and pray together as individuals.
You ignore the very God who created marriage and the only One who can help make it work, when you push the spiritual dimension to the side.
Only the great power and loving grace of Jesus Christ can make you truly love. I encourage you to make Jesus a constant companion in your relationship. Invite Jesus in your marriage. Are you asking God to guide, protect, save and prosper your marriage?
Marriage is an action word. It is always urgent because you have to give effort and seriously act on it. Actions tremendously impact feelings.
As pastors, we do counseling. Sometimes couples would come in and say that their marriage is dead. But I would say something like this,
“I want you to go back home. Try to display a “behavior of love” towards your spouse.”
And the usual response would be,
“Pastor, how can I go home and act like I’m in love when I don’t feel anything?”
And I would tell them,
“Just go and act loving to your spouse. Say words of love to your spouse. Do acts of kindness. I want you to allow those actions to pave the way for love…”
Actions determine feelings…
Jesus didn’t tell us just to love one another. Jesus said,
“Love one another as I have loved you.”
Love with the love of Jesus. Love now, not later!
For most marriages, it only takes TWO, a husband and a wife. But for a CHRISTIAN marriage, it takes THREE. It takes a husband, a wife, and it takes JESUS. Make sure JESUS is in your marriage. I do, take two…takes THREE!
Since love is from God,
such love never fails
As we close this series, my prayer for us is this – May we have more love for our spouse, more love for God’s Church, more love for one another…and more love for Jesus!
This message based on 1 Corinthians 13:8 was prepared and delivered by its Senior Pastor Rev. Gernan Villegas at Emmanuel Church Ministries International in Makati last Sunday February 26, 2017. It concludes the February 2017 series entitled, “Be My Valentine”. This was slightly edited for publication purposes.