“Jesus said to the man with the deformed hand, “Come and stand in front of everyone.” Then he turned to his critics and asked, “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? Is this a day to save life or to destroy it?” But they wouldn’t answer him. He looked around at them angrily and was deeply saddened by their hard hearts. Then he said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” So the man held out his hand, and it was restored! At once the Pharisees went away and met with the supporters of Herod to plot how to kill Jesus.” – Mark 3:3-6.
You don’t have to be married for long to realize that fulfilling your vows will not be an easy task. There will be seasons of little and seasons of plenty. Time of growth and times of contentment. Seasons of excitement and seasons of discouragement. But each new season gives you as a couple the opportunity to grow. With the start of each new chapter, you can choose to invest in growing your marriage or you can choose to be content where your marriage is right now.
The Christian life is not designed for maintenance or meant for maintaining. It is meant to be vibrant and alive and in the process of adding to and developing your character. Your faith is not static; rather, it is dynamic and changing. And the same should be true of marriage. If you want to invest in your marriage continue to grow spiritually, and to grow more like Jesus; see, love, and care for your spouse like Jesus sees, loves and cares for them.
We can learn how to invest in our marriage by watching Jesus in Mark 3:1-6. In this passage, we see Jesus healing a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. The Pharisees were there in the synagogue, looking to see if Jesus would break the law by healing on the Sabbath. Jesus heals a man with a withered hand. He helps him. He takes away this man’s deformity and shame in biblical times. He makes his life better and yet the Pharisees are mad at Jesus and even plot to kill him because he broke an Old Testament law. But here is what we can learn from Jesus: the way He loves and cares for the Pharisees in spite of their hatred of Jesus and their own hardness of hearts. If you look closely at Mark 3:5, you see Jesus has two reactions to the Pharisees. He looked around at them with anger and was deeply saddened by their hardness of heart.
When we are frustrated with our spouse, we tend to be compassionate in the moment but irritated on an ongoing basis. In other words, we act the opposite of Jesus. Instead of being angry for a moment and compassionate moving forward, we tend to work the other way around. What if the opposite were true? What would it be like if you and I were angry for a moment at someone who wronged us, and then lived with ongoing compassion and sadness for them? Wouldn’t that change the way you care for them? Wouldn’t it change the way you loved your spouse? Wouldn’t it lead you to more quickly forgive your spouse instead of carrying roots of bitterness around with you?
Invest in your marriage by investing in being more like Jesus. Seek to be kind every day, not critical. Ask God to have a heart that has love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, meekness, faithfulness, and self-control.
- What have you done in the past that helped you deeply connect with your spouse?
- How can you help each other feel deeply loved and cared for?
- What is one new relationship skill you could learn that would help nourish your marriage? Who or what are you investing in?