By Brooke Shambley
Jesus taught the disciples about faith in the parable of The Wise and Foolish Builders. However, when Jesus speaks of building our house upon the rock and not upon the sand, I often think about how applicable that message is to marriage. Here is the parable account:
24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
When it comes to staying in love, it absolutely matters what type of foundation our marriage is built on.
|A beachfront house threatened by erosion - by Dirk Frankenberg|
Many types of sand exist in marriages today. Some have to do with the initial forming of the marriage, some have to do with existing problems in a marriage, and some have to do with marriage habits or lack thereof. A marriage built on sand is unstable, unfulfilled, and when the storms come that marriage may not stand.
Sand of Selfishness - Why did you get married? Ouch, that's a hard question, right? Sometimes our motives aren't what they should have been when it comes to marriage. Maybe our spouse was a major hottie or maybe they made us feel like a better person. So many reasons to get married exist: to remove loneliness, to have companionship, to make our life better, to have children, to marry the hottest girl/guy, or maybe to be taken care of by someone. While it might seem that most of these reasons are just fine (minus maybe marrying the hottie), they are all selfish motives. We need to let God remove the sand of selfishness from our marriage.
We may have gotten married for selfish reasons, but God still has amazingly wonderful plans for our marriages!!! Remember the verse Romans 8:28? "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." As a couple, you have to seek God to renew the purpose of your marriage. In Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV 1984) God says, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Pray to the God who has plans for your marriage, plans beyond what you may have thought for your marriage. Allow Him to hold the reigns for your marriage and see Him convert the sand of selfishness into the rock of his will.
Sand of Relationship Sin - The second kind of sand that many marriages are affected by is that their relationship is already in sin. So many couples begin their marriages from a life of sin. The movies show that living together is only natural and being intimate before marriage is merely a part of deciding if that person is right for you, but the Bible is very clear that this is not God's plan.
Let me let the Bible speak for itself. 2 Corinthians 12:21 (ESV) says, "I fear that when I come again my God may humble me before you, and I may have to mourn over many of those who sinned earlier and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and sensuality that they have practiced." Also Hebrews 13:4 (ESV) states, "Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous."
May I be clear that God is ready and able to take this sand of sin and turn it to stone? God is a beautiful redeemer and can take a marriage that has been built on the sand of sin and bring it to stone that is mighty in His strength. However, as 2 Corinthians 12:21 mentions, a couple that begins in sin must repent before God to be renewed.
Sand of Good Intentions - Just because we may have married for the right reasons and didn't have a sinful relationship before marrying doesn't mean we are still operating in the right spirit. Often we go into marriage expecting ourselves to be the best spouse ever and one day the best parent ever. We also expect our marriage partner to be everything we ever wanted from a spouse. At this point, we are victims of the sand of good intentions.
We must sacrifice our good intentions to the cross as well as our expectations of our spouse. A marriage doesn't operate on what should get done or the love we intend to show. A good marriage happens because of what does happen and what love we actually show. Let yourself be the spouse that God intended, not the spouse that you expect yourself to be. In addition, let your spouse be the spouse that God intends, not the spouse that you expect them to be.
The sand of good intentions can be transformed into a stone of reality. God can take our hurts of expectations not met and show us that He has met our expectations all along. He also helps us to show our love, display our love, and be vessels of his love to our spouse. Give up your expectations of yourself and your spouse and allow God to pour out his love into your marriage.
|Dar al-Hajar - by Yemeni|
Rock of Salvation - I will be completely honest with you. You will not have a fulfilling marriage built on stone, if you have not given your heart to God. He is the only one who can bring you fulfillment and if you are looking for emotional fulfillment anywhere else (including through marriage) you will never find it.
By giving your life over to God and committing your marriage to his will, your marriage will become built on his purpose and his rock of salvation. That's not to say you won't have issues, we all do. However, if we stop relying on our spouse and rely on God as our source of love, the expectations that we have been laying on our spouse will become areas that God's grace can cover. God is perfect, our spouse are humans and sinners. Rely on God and minister to your spouse in love. Amen.
Staying in Love on the Rock of Salvation
When we allow God to redeem our marriages from the sand of relationship sin and the sand of selfishness and we accept the salvation God offers for our hearts, God can be the power pack of our marriage. Staying in love doesn't have to be a human effort, rather God can supernaturally work in our marriages!!! I'm not saying it's going to be easy, I'm not saying it's going to happen in a day, but when we begin to let God build our marriage on the rock He can and will do miracles.
Staying in love means relying on the source of love, our God who is love. Commit today to staying in love with your marriage partner by laying your life and marriage relationship at the foot of the cross. Allow his redemption to redeem your heart and your marriage, his rock of salvation is the only foundation on which to build your marriage.