China Chiristian Daily

- August 24, 2017 -

Church

This Helps You Appreciating Your Spouse after Years of Marriage

By Yetta Yao
on June 16, 2017 04:06 AM

a-pair-of-rings-hang-on-dry-weeds
A pair of rings hang on dry weeds : (credit: 699pic.com)

It is indeed a miserable thing when a married couple no longer find each other attractive. Neither is this a normal or healthy marriage since God meant His people to love and respect each other in marriage.

An article by Zhang Wei, a member of the faith council in a WeChat account called Church Journal, pointed out that in a case where a spouse doesn't appreciate the other person, he or she can't just become a loving husband or wife on their own willpower. They have to deeply understand Christ's love of salvation to renew their hearts to finally take action.

The key point is that one should love his or her spouse with Christ's love. Love that is not from the Gospel is idolatrous love, what people pursue in marriage instead of loving the other half. The author cited Paul, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church." (NIV Ephesians 5:31-32) This shows that they unite in marriage as a model of Christ and the church and the purpose of marriage is to manifest the relationship between Christ and the church.

However, the love of Christ toward the church (His bride) is based on grace and forgiveness; a love from the Gospel. In the same way, marriage between a man and woman should manifest the grace of the new covenant. But how? The author quoted John Piper: "In marriage, you live hour by hour in glad dependence on God's forgiveness and justification and promised future grace, and you bend it out toward your spouse hour by hour -- as an extension of God's forgiveness and justification and promised help." (Marriage: God's Showcase of Covenant-Keeping Grace from desiringgod.org)

We were all sons of God and were about to be judged by Him, but Christ removed our charges from God through redemption on the cross. This declared our righteousness and that we're perfect before Him, so God also sees us as perfect and righteous. Therefore, people need to forgive and justify each other in faith, because marriage itself is talked about as Christ and the church. God forgave us even we let Him down so much, so what excuse do we have to not forgive our spouse?

It was further explained why Christ's love and idolatrous love are different. Only those whose lives are updated by the Gospel will love other people unconditionally. Otherwise they just live in the worship of idols. It is even more so in marriages. In this case, couples love each other based on how much the other half puts in, so their attitudes are also influenced by each other. They will not appreciate each other when the perfect expectation is not met. Such love is called idolatrous love.

In fact, even though your spouse is a total sinner without any goodness, he or she is still justified in faith by God. If couples can understand this and love each other following the message of the Gospel, they will no longer expect each other to be perfect. They will no longer be disappointed but rejoice with each other and satisfy each other emotionally and physically wholeheartedly. They will correct themselves constantly and their hearts will also be satisfied because of this.

Watchman Nee, a church leader and Christian teacher who worked in China during the 20th century, also taught about Christian marriage and he mentioned "learning to appreciate each other's good qualities." He said:" When the other half does something good, we need to know it. The family will have a big breach when either of them stops appreciating the other. This doesn't mean they need to fawn on each other but everyone needs to learn to see others' good qualities and beauty.

"Remember, the unity of the family will be stronger once you learn to appreciate your spouse's good qualities. The relationship will grow more reliable."

Pastor Chen Yilu, executive deputy director of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary also listed "the Ten Commandments" of a happy marriage with experience of married life. The seventh one is "you shall not cease to appreciate each other." "Harmonious life requires mutual appreciation. God created everything according to its kind and people in different types. People of different types have different looks, personalities, advantages, and shortcomings. No one is perfect. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. As long as we know how to appreciate each other, there will be a well of running water and God will bless you through them.

"God gave people different gifts. Some have the beauty of the rose while some have its fragrance. Those who know how to appreciate will often bloom and their fragrance will overflow."

Translated by Grace Hubl

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