• Kara Abernathy

Loving Our Spouse in Light of Eternity

Part 1: The Foundation Matters

Guest Post by Kaleigha Jae from "More than Rubies"

(check back for Part 2 - written by me & posted on her blog in 1 week!)

Do you recall the feeling when you have a crush on someone new? When they text you, it brings a cheesy smile to your face. If you run into them unexpectedly at school or work, you blush. The first time you held hands, you got those coveted butterflies.

Thinking about these “firsts” with my husband makes me smile.

But what happens when differences come out and our feelings start to fade? When conflicts leave you disheartened and you’re tempted to give up?

When you got married, you vowed to “to have and hold [your spouse] from this day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part.” And if you didn’t say those exact words, you took part in a covenant (marriage itself) that is ordained by God to those ends.

You will encounter each of those stages: rich and poor, sick and health. Your vow to love in every stage is based on commitment, not feelings. By making that vow, you are promising future love in those seasons, regardless of how you feel, regardless of life’s situations, and regardless of your spouse’s messing up.

That Christ Kind of Love

Does that sound familiar to you? It should - because that is the kind of promised love God actively bestows on us.

The Gospel says, “I know you will never be perfect, but I am giving my life in exchange for yours as payment for your sin, once and for all.”

We don’t have to earn it or pay for it because it was given freely by His grace; salvation is purely a gift that continually multiplies to cover every sin humanity will commit until Jesus comes again (Romans 3:23, 5:20).

In reality, anything short of hell is grace. The wages we earn because of our sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23).

We should be taking that mindset into our marriage. When our spouse disappoints us, we must make an active decision to love them like God loves us.

“I know your mistakes and failures, but I choose to love you anyway.”

Why does it matter? In a highly individualized society, we tend to minimize the importance of showing Gospel-like love and grace to others when they mess up. It’s almost a human reflex to “punish” our spouse when they fall short by withholding the very things Jesus exemplified in His life!

You grow spiritually as individuals while going through daily struggles and joys as a team. God uses our spouse to sanctify us, making us more like Jesus. We become more humble. My favorite definition of humility is: “Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, humility is thinking about yourself less.”

Reflecting Christ

Genesis 1:27: “So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God.”

According to this, we have God’s image stamped on us. Though we are cracked and foggy mirrors, we reflect Him nonetheless. Jesus is the “gold-standard,” a man who was tempted in every way yet was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Because of our humanity, it is impossible to live up to that - we will all miss the mark. And that includes our behavior in marriage.

Our gift to our spouse is granting them grace and unconditional love, like Jesus gave us. Don’t forget you too are human, destined to fall short.

Ultimately, we are called to glorify God in our marriage by showing our spouse undeserved kindness and unusual acts of self-sacrifice. By reflecting God’s compassion and sacrifice in your marriage, you are bringing Him great glory.

(Part 2 "Resolving Our Differences"- written by me!)

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© 2019 Kara Abernathy

Disclaimer: my thoughts do not necessarily reflect the thoughts of my employer.