Many of the married couples I speak to are in need of good news. They love each other but may be discouraged. They are frustrated and fearful. Some have failed in past marriages. Others feel like they are failing now.
They don’t know what to do.
I always tell them that God created marriage, and when He creates anything, He creates it for success. He designs it according to the laws of His kingdom and His Word. When you follow these laws, you will find success.
One law is from Genesis 2, where God says a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife. The word we translate “cleave” means to pursue with all energy. In other words, marriage requires effort. It’s hard work.
A marriage can be great as long as the husband and wife both work at it. There are no exceptions to this. Unfortunately, a lot of people think something is wrong if it requires too much work. This is one of three big misconceptions about marriage:
1⃣ Marriage should be effortless. Everyone is looking for their soul mate. Once they find that perfect person, chemistry will strike. They’ll fall deeply in love and live happily ever after.
The reality is that there are no perfect people. No one is completely compatible with another person. That’s why I believe soul mates are not born, but made. You become soul mates when you travel through life’s valleys together. You can fall in love and live happily ever after, but it takes effort.
2⃣ Emotions never change. The early days of a relationship are filled with love and devotion and warm feelings toward each other. But what if, someday, you wake up and aren’t filled with those warm feelings? If the emotions aren’t there, did you marry the wrong person?
The reality is that feelings change. Emotions are unpredictable. You can’t depend on them or control them. What you can control is your will. The greatest kind of love isn’t built on feelings, but on a decision. I love Karen Evans. That means, regardless of how I feel or what she does, I’ve made a decision to be faithful.
If your feelings change toward your spouse, you rely on your will as you work to rediscover those emotions. That leads to one final misconception.
3⃣ Love can’t be restored. In Revelation 2, God has a message for the church at Ephesus, which has fallen out of love with Him. “You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”
Emotions may disappear. You may think you’ve fallen out of love. You may think it’s over. But God says it’s never over. He told the Ephesians to remember, repent, and return to the actions that characterized the start of the relationship.
Remember when you fell in love? Remember how you listened to each other, how you cared for each other, how considerate you were? Remember how every thought was about each other? Return to that. Pursue each other like you did when you began dating. Put in the effort.
That’s how you fall in love again. That’s how love gets restored.
Marriage isn’t easy, but success is always possible when you work hard and trust God’s plan. Get these misconceptions out of your mind and remember this: He created marriage, and He didn’t create it to fail.
Jimmy Evans // Marriage Today