June 11, 2023
Dr. Paul Cannings
The hardest thing to establish, even for me many times, is to keep God’s intent for marriage in its rightful place when emotions denominate the atmosphere. What I mean by rightful place is remaining focused on God’s agenda for marriage, no matter how vulnerable that may make me feel. Many times, it’s hard to keep the brain working when our emotions are high. Our emotions tend to dethrone God sometimes in a New York minute.
Interestingly, God never focused on Adam being in love with Eve. He did not even give Adam a choice as to whether he would want Eve to be his wife. God controlled everything. What is interesting is this marriage lasted for 930 years. What is interesting is that nowhere in Genesis, after they sinned, is there any record that they ever desired a divorce or separation or did not get along. They had Cain and Abel and more kids, so they had to be together. Despite having a sinful nature, they accepted God’s agenda and lived in it faithfully.
Marriage is first about what God desires for us to do as we live in His institution rather than what we can get out of it or what we want the other person to do for us. When marriage is built on what the other spouse can do to make us feel loved, happy or fulfilled, marriage often fails to reach our expectations. It is when each person commits to grow spiritually is when what we want becomes a reality; “love, joy, peace, kindness, patience, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23; NASB). These are all attributes that we desire to experience in marriage. This is why marriage is first a commitment to Christ (Deuteronomy 23:21-23) before it can truly be a fulfilling experience that each person enjoys.
The next couple of the Bible, however, had challenges. Abraham and Sarah, like Adam and Eve, were provided an agenda that God called them to. Abraham struggled to accept God’s agenda when God took a long time to fulfill it (Genesis 15:1-6), and so did Sarah. When God’s agenda was replaced for a time by Hagar, Abraham and Sarah’s marriage struggled (Genesis 21:9-21). The home was full of tension, and challenges that continue to the present between (Jews and Arabs).
Marriage works well when we allow the Lord to be greater than our impatience, selfish desires, and passion to prove how right we are; basically, we have less of a commitment to the flesh and more to our spiritual development. It seems easier to think of what we want than ‘Lord, what can I do to bring you glory.’ This requires more work, but it provides the greatest results; the fruit of the Spirit produces enjoyable lasting relationships (Matthew 11:28-30; John 15:1-17).
We need to focus less on making our marriages work and more on how God can complete His work in us (Ephesians 5:15-21, 25-27).