“There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. 31 Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. 32 Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.
33 “A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. 34 He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. 35 In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill — I’ll pay you on my way back.’
36 “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”
37 “The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.
Jesus said, “Go and do the same.” Luke 10:30-37
We are going to end with this scripture today.
Let’s get an accurate picture of marriage. Two sinners coming together, wanting control while dealing with old hurts and wounds and possible secret addictions with opposing personalities all awhile living under the stress of family, bills, work and unmet expectations. Does that sound negative or mean? It’s not mean, it’s real.
We believe marriage is awesome. We believe doing marriage God’s way leads to a life giving relationship. The reason marriages struggle is simple; both spouses have sin deep inside and under the stress marriage and life it comes out as selfishness.
Let’s get an accurate picture of how scripture explains marriage.
A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. 32 This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. 33 So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. NLT Ephesians 5:31-33
Every marriage that does it God’s way, thrives. I have never met a wife who wants a divorce because her husband goes all out to love her. I have never met a husband who wants a divorce because his wife goes all out to respect him.
The raw truth shows that 50% of marriages in and out of church end in divorce. The raw truth is, out of the other 50% of marriages that stick together, we don’t know what percent is stale and on life support. It should awaken us to the reality that marriage takes intentional work.
Knowing what scriptures says and knowing what the stats reveal, why do people believe that after the wedding, they can go on cruise control and things will magically get better? It’s so naïve. And I would add, that way of living out your marriage will actually destroy it. Scripture explains why.
19 What human nature does is quite plain.
That means human nature has been around for thousands of years. It’s predictable. We have written books about it. We have watch movies about it. Every time we do what we want, human nature leads us into more problems.
It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions; 20 in worship of idols and witchcraft. People become enemies and they fight; they become jealous, angry, and ambitious. They separate into parties and groups; 21 they are envious, get drunk, have orgies, and do other things like these. GNT Galatians 5:19-21
Think about that for second, isn’t that everyone’s marriage story? What human nature does is quite plain… people become enemies and they fight.
Again, human nature is so predictable. We date and are happy. Get married and go on cruise control. Become enemies and fight.
Marriage takes focus and work. I want to illustrate what I mean. This jar represents everything we want in marriage. We want love, joy, communication, sex, intimacy, romance, security, etc. When we date, we will do anything for them wouldn’t we? We love being with them. They rarely do anything wrong, we just enjoy them. It’s fun because we go on fun dates. You don’t visit the IRS with them, it’s not fun. We do fun things. It’s easy. We have a fight, we separate and go home. That’s easy. It’s sexy at times. We go on formal dates and dress up. We are pouring ourselves into this jar filling it up. Our relationship is full of everything we want [In dating, there is no sex if you want to date God’s way and be pure]. Almost every time you are with them, you have time and energy to give to them. There is just a joy that you have when you are with them. Your jar is full.
We get married and go on cruise control. Life takes over and because we don’t prioritize our marriage, we allow life to prioritize us. What happens? We stop pouring ourselves into the jar. Instead of pouring ourselves into the jar, now we are tired and having nothing to give. Work. Kids. School. Homework. Sports. Stress. Money. Retirement. Health. Parents. So what do we do? We come to the jar to take from it. Every time we are with our spouse, we have something for them to do. We basically walk through life with one question for our spouse, “What can I get from you?” We take and take and take. The jar goes empty.
Remember when you dated? Almost every time you were with them, you had time and energy to give to them. Everything that made dating awesome, is now gone. We now have little or no love, joy, communication, sex, intimacy, romance, security, etc. Why?
What human nature does is quite plain. GNT Galatians 5:19
This is why Jesus said;
Not everyone is mature enough to live a married life. It requires a certain aptitude and grace. Marriage isn’t for everyone. MSG Matthew 19:11-12
The problem we are having is that we fail to realize that marriage is about filling up that jar for our spouse. It’s not about taking what we can from that jar and leaving it empty. We have misunderstood what marriage is all about. It’s about having the maturity to give. Love in marriage isn’t about what you get, it’s about what you give.
I want to read how scripture defines love. Before I read this, you must know, our culture knows nothing about this love. Our culture only knows about a selfish, tit-for-tat, love. I must share this. If you allow our culture to determine how you are going to love, you will be very disappointed when you get married. However, if you give your life to Christ and the love of Christ determines how you are going to love, you will love marriage. Scripture gives us a radical new understanding of love. A love that sacrifices and serves. Here it is.
4 Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, 5 never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. 6 It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out. 7 If you love someone, you will be loyal to him no matter what the cost. You will always believe in him, always expect the best of him, and always stand your ground in defending him. [Back to verse 3] If I gave everything I have to poor people, and if I were burned alive for preaching the Gospel but didn’t love others, it would be of no value whatever. TLB 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, 3
When you walk into marriage as a disciple of Jesus, there is a radical new understanding of how to love. Marriage is not about asking, “What I can I get from you?” Marriage is about asking, “What can I give to you?” Back to the illustration. It’s about filling up that jar for your spouse. When you are pouring yourself into that jar, your spouse comes to you and gets life, joy and healing. Your marriage over the years becomes meaningful.
So how do you know? How do you know how you love? How do you know what kind of marriage you are in? It’s quite simple. Remember, scripture tells us;
“What human nature does is quite plain… people become enemies and they fight.”
If you live in a, “What can I get from you?” marriage, it shows up. The following things are getting less and less and you argue about one or several of them; love, joy, communication, sex, intimacy, romance, security, etc. And chances are, you are spending no time in a relationship with Christ. And in the absence of God’s grace, we try to control.
If you live in a, “What can I give to you?” marriage, it shows up too. Remember scripture tells us;
“Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, 5 never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong.”
The following things are getting more and more; love, joy, communication, sex, intimacy, romance, security, etc. Chances are, you are probably spending time with God and experiencing His grace and sharing that with your spouse.
Here is a radical new view of love in marriage. Maybe your role is to be a source of life and joy and healing to your spouse. Maybe you’re not going to get what you want, when you want it and how you want it. Maybe love in marriage demands maturity. Maybe marriage is about what you give not take.
Let me tell you what I know about your spouse. They are insecure and need your validation. They are hurt and need your love. The world they live in is shredding them, they need time to heal at home. They messed up during the day, they don’t need to hear about how they failed you… again. They need you to communicate to them to be close, so talk to them, stop stone walling them. They need sexual intimacy to feel validated, so give them sexual intimacy, on their terms, stop controlling it all the time.
Remember the story we started with? The traveler was beaten up and left half dead. Then finally someone came and saved his life? Your spouse is like the traveler in the story Jesus told. They are attacked and beaten up by life. It’s your role to be a source of life and joy and healing to them.
Allow me to rewrite Luke 10 to make a point.
A husband was traveling through life with his wife. When he saw his wife’s condition, she was riddled with insecurity, he could have ignored her but his heart went out to her. He changed his plans immediately, he made no excuses, he wanted to help heal her wounds. Then he led her to the couch, listened to her, and made her comfortable. That night, she had time to heal.
A wife was traveling through life with her husband. When she saw her husband’s condition, he was beaten up at work that day, she could have ignored him but her heart went out to him. She changed her plans immediately, she made no excuses, she wanted to help heal his wounds. Then she led him to the couch, listened to him, and made him comfortable. That night, he had time to heal.
As a disciple of Jesus, the love Jesus shared with you, is the love you are to share with your spouse. It’s a radical new understanding that you aren’t the center of the marriage. It demands maturity. Your priority in life is to love them help heal them. You now are a source of life and joy and healing.
Love in marriage, is what you give.