Marriage isn’t for the faint of heart. Life really isn’t either. At least not a life well-lived. Both require us to have a strong foundation in Faith. In a recent installment Ignatian Spirituality entitled The Depth’s of God’s Love, Becky Eldredge wrote
Even as my love for my husband developed, I awakened to the fact that even our relationship was not the firmest foundation in my life. God’s love was the unshakeable foundation, and it was upon this rock that our marriage was built. It was out of God’s love for us that we could love each other.
For me, this eloquently sums up why so many marriages that started out so beautifully fail. People place their spouses or their marriages in the place meant for Christ, expecting the love of a spouse to live up to the expectations we have for the divine love of God. We all want to love as God loves, but we’re imperfect. We just can’t do it like God does.
When we place that much weight on our spouses, there just isn’t any way for them to live up to that. We set ourselves up for failure. When we’re continuously disappointed, the disappointment leads to resentment, and before we know it, there’s no love left. We’re no longer grateful for the wonderful people we once married. Instead, we feel weighted down by people who can’t be what we want and who often are feeling the same way towards us.
When we make our relationship with Christ the foundation of our lives and God’s love the rock on which our marriages our built, we still have bad days, but we learn to forgive and to be grateful. We don’t allow resentments to be built. We allow God to continually heal us and our marriages. When we have bad days, we lean on God together to help us through to the other side.
I know a man who gave up his faith for his spouse. He did a complete 180 in his spiritual beliefs in order to take on her faith and please her. As an Anglican, I don’t believe any denomination is wrong. I believe God gave us a variety of Christian faiths to be able to reach more of us. That being said, if we walk away from our faith for another person, what does that say about our relationship with God? Perhaps we never really believed? Or perhaps we’re putting the other person in God’s place?
I made the same mistake once and ended up giving up the most important thing in my life for someone who didn’t respect the person I was, who would have never given up his faith for me. In the end, I didn’t like or respect the person I became, so how could I expect him to honor, cherish, and respect me? All true love begins in God. Without it, we have no real basis for a life together. With it, we can know a love and an intimacy that brings us closer to God.
How does your relationship with Christ strengthen your love for your spouse?