It’s Valentines on Sunday and I had no intention of writing a love-themed post…Until our 9-year-old daughter asked me to take a photo of the bracelets she created. What do these bracelets had to do with Valentines? Let me explain…
Her Papa taught her how to braid using three different colored yarns. She tried and eventually got the hang of it. When she completed all her work, she laid her bracelets, necklaces and hair pieces on my desk and asked me to take a photo.
As I studied each braid I saw some inconsistencies in the overlapping of her strands but they still came out pretty. After locking the ends of her braids, the yarns couldn’t easily unravel. Like an ordinary rope, a three-strand braid is stronger than a two-strand one. Marriage is like that. If either spouse alone would work on their marriage then it’s going to be weak, can easily unravel or break.
But God, the author of marriage, didn’t design it that way. He created man for relationships. The first relationship Adam had been with God, our creator. Theirs was a solid one with God speaking to him and giving him unburdening tasks. God knew that Adam needed to know more about relationships and be with own kind so He fashioned Eve from the rib of Adam.
God was never out of the picture. It was God who initiated the meeting of Adam and Eve. However, Adam and Eve disregarded God and decided things on their own. You all know what happened after. They could not escape the consequences of their sin, so God banished them from the Garden.
Since that time, the relationship between man and God was never easy so does man’s relationship with women. In courtship, we always we put our best foot forward. We unintentionally present a better version of ourselves to the other. After the wedding bells, the real persons come out. We now have to live with this person who snores, who is disorganized, who has zero cooking abilities and the one who doesn’t lift the toilet seat up. These may be minor issues but if left unresolved might lead to a major rift in the marriage.
Marriage is not devoid of problems. We hear of intimacy issues, money, different personalities, fidelity, morals, priorities etc. We all go through them to test our relationships. My marriage to my husband of almost 14 years has not all been smooth sailing. I would say that the most tumultuous time in our marriage was after getting married! Yes, the supposed honeymoon period was met with tears and frustration on my part.
I was that strong-willed, arrogant wife who wanted out of the marriage after barely two years. During that time my husband was not aware that I was that desperate until I disclosed it to him years later. I felt hurt and I just wanted out.
But the Lord had other plans for me and my husband. We agreed to join a new couple friend to study the Bible int their home. They never knew about our issues because I for one was too embarrassed to share. They simply wanted to share their lives with us.
I realized I don’t have to end our marriage just like that. I realized I needed to fix my relationship with God first because I can fix my marriage. Both my husband and I found something far greater than any seminar, talk, church gathering. We found Christ.
He was the one who opened our eyes to the truth that we don’t exist in the world simply to find love. We exist to have a relationship with God and to honor Him. We realized that it was impossible to honor God in our sinful state. Remember how Adam and Eve disregarded God? We are kind of the same. Yes, we know God. We go to church. We pray. But it was not the kind of relationship God wanted us to have with him.
Christ gave up His life so He can be our bridge, our way to God. There is no other way acceptable to God. It is only through the death of His perfect son can we find forgiveness of our sin. Our efforts to reach God cannot compare to the holiness of God. In fact, no one, no matter how “good”, pious or “religious” can ever reach God.
We admitted our complete inadequacy to come to God in our own terms and in our way. We need Christ in our lives to forgive us and make us new. He will give us the opportunity to pick up a new slate and start fresh.
There are still areas in our marriage that needs to be tuned by Jesus and we are constantly being transformed, individually and as a couple. It’s a humbling experience to be mentored by Christ himself. Again, not because of what we do or who we are but because of what Christ did and who He is.
The braid that our daughter lovingly spins is a picture of our marriage. The two colorful strands of yarn would not withstand the pulling and twisting, they would easily separate or break. It needs another yarn to make it strong. In the same way, our marriages not God. He will not only add color and our marriages more vibrant, but He will, in our complete submission, make it strong because our love is founded in HIM.
Imagine a triangle, as one pastor said, “The tip is where you put God. The two corners at the base are you and your spouse. The closer you reach God, the gap between the two of you becomes smaller making you closer to each other.” Get closer to God and you will get closer to your spouse. Happy Valentine’s Day!