“Love as distinct from ‘being in love’ is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.” – C.S. Lewis.
There are people who settle for and are happy with a “good enough” marriage. This is the group that wishes to be happily married, but is only mildly interested in working toward a great marriage. A good enough marriage is when people do enough to get by. Neither spouse is willing to go for the gold preferring instead to be in the middle of the pack somewhere.
This reminds me of a prevent defense in football. This defensive strategy is designed to prevent the big-play that would jeopardize their lead. This defensive strategy works for short periods of time and often gives up the lead it is trying to hold. Married couples can also find themselves playing a prevent defense. They are “playing” to prevent divorce, major unhappiness, or personal discomfort. A good enough marriage is better than a bad marriage.
This is not how God created marriages to be. God is in the business of scripting beautiful love stories. God wants our marriages to only grow stronger and more beautiful. God wants you and your spouse to not only be in love, but to stay in love. That can happen when we choose to keep Christ at the center of our lives. Instead of looking to our marriage to meet and fulfill our needs and desires, we need to look to Him as our ultimate source of joy and security. Making Jesus Christ our “all in all” is the secret sauce that keeps marriages thriving.
This does not mean we don’t have to work at it. We do because love is a verb. We will need to put the thought and energy into building your marriage that a top scientist might invest in an important new invention. Truly happy and successful couples never take their marriages for granted. They pray for their marriages and they study the Bible for ways to improve their marriage. And they make a mutual commitment to make their marriages last.
When someone loves us, they make a point of showing up for us. And showing up is verbalized in the big and little actions we take every day to show your spouse you care for and love them deeply. It is verbalized in our commitment to be selfless and love your spouse sacrificially just as Christ loved us. God wants more than good enough and so should we.
- When you were younger, how did you view marriage? How has this changed? What kind of marriage do you want to have? What will it take to make that happen?
- What steps can we take short and long-term to strengthen our marriages/relationships?