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“A married person does not live in isolation. He or she has made a promise, a pledge, a vow, to another person. Until that vow is fulfilled and the promise is kept, the individual is in debt to his marriage partner. That is what he owes.” ~ R.C. Sproul

If you have been married for any length of time, some stark reality has probably creeped into the equation.  Maybe the last time you spontaneously embraced your spouse is when you found out that your homeowners’ insurance covered the hole in the ceiling from the leaking washing machine.  Oh, and don’t get me started on the children. Is it true there is a federal law that I have to let them drive? Have you met my mother-in-law, the one with the personality bypass done some years ago?  My wife wants to be loved, to be listened to, to be desired, to be respected, and sometimes, just to be held. I just want Florida State/Florida football tickets. I could build another garage in less time than it takes my wife to summarize her day. She confiscates my remote control.

What happened to all the magical moments we used to share?

Those comments are not all that unique. Many couples go into marriage with lofty expectations or simply not knowing what is around the next bend. Many expect a storybook marriage that doesn’t require a lot of effort.  After all, I have enough going on without worrying about our relationship. If you are losing the sizzle, the magic in your marriage, it is probably because you are not proactively working on the relationship. There is a lot to deal with, especially when you add kids to the mix.  Life just seems to get in the way of the picture perfect marriage.

You have to work at it. If you are focused on other priorities, the marriage relationship will suffer. In order for a marriage to be rich, it must be worked at and fed, just like a plant needs water and sunlight. If you put your relationship on a back burner constantly, the relationship will slowly dissipate. So, with all the craziness and demands on you, how do you do this? Well, in one word, “God” needs to be part of the marriage equation.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone. Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

What is this ‘threefold cord’? It could be interpreted as referring to husband, wife, and God. Marriage was God’s plan from the beginning, as Jesus reminds us in Matthew 19:4-5 which says “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’?

It’s something God has designed, and we need to enter into it together. God has a stake in the success of your marriage. God is ready and willing to help, if we are ready and willing to ask for His help. To have this kind of God-ordained relationship in your marriage, you must both work at it! You will need to put the thought and energy into building your marriage that a rookie pitcher will work on his pitches. Truly happy and successful couples never take their marriages for granted. Truly Christian couples regularly pray about their marriages. They study the Bible and other sources to improve their marriages. And they make a mutual commitment to make God one of the three strands in the marriage.

The relationship between Christ and the church is the best example of commitment. Jesus committed Himself to the church to such a degree that He even gave His life for the church – He died for her. He loved mankind so much, and He loved the church so much, that He even endured great suffering for their sakes.

Never be lazy in your marriage. Work on it by praying and worshipping together. And never become too busy for God not to be number one in your life. “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” as it says in Mark 12:28-31.