As believers, the Gospel is at the core of everything we do. It overrides every self-help book, trend in psychology, and piece of advice you receive from a well-meaning friend.
Our sin, Christ’s holy incarnation, death, and resurrection, it reaches into our hearts and our marriages. We have an opportunity to live out our faith in every interaction we have with our spouse, whether others bear witness to it or not. It is seen in the quiet Saturday mornings, in the crazy Monday race to work, in the discussion on which movie to watch. We get share His work, the story of the Gospel, every day in every moment of our lives.
Because the Gospel speaks into everything we do, it applies to our marriage.
It applies because your spouse is wrong
But so are you.
Recognizing your deep-set failure, your shortcomings in life, it’s the starting place for moving forward. Romans tells us that we’ve all sinned, we’ve all fallen short. That means your spouse and that means you. It doesn’t matter who is more right or less right, because in light of glory, we’re all wrong.
Deep down, we’re all justifiers. We stand before one another and point and yell and find all the specks in our spouse’s eye to avoid the plank in our own. No matter what our spouse’s sin is, it doesn’t negate our own shortcomings. We stand on an equal level of failure before God. The Gospel makes it clear that our efforts can never do what Jesus did. This changes the way we respond to our spouse’s sin.
But that means the Gospel gives our marriage grace
The example set for us has been grace. Vast, unprecedented grace that covered the depth of all our icky, wrongful sin. Because the punishment for sin was met on Calvary and it is no longer on our heads. So we don’t need to hold it over the head of another.
If we are to love our enemies as ourselves, that means we are supposed to love the enemies we share our last name and our bed with. It means we show love when frustration would be easier. It means there is grace for the dirty socks that missed the hamper for the 8th time that day. It means that we love and love and forgive and forgive up to seventy times seven.
In the weary moments of our lives, of our marriages, we must drink deeply from the well of Living Water. We must ask the Holy Spirit to fill us with the grace that we’ve been given. Grace that keeps pressing on, keeps believing, keeps overlooking offense. This is the grace that is life-giving.
The Gospel gives our marriage the hope of context
Our marriages are not the end goal. They will end. Depending on the current state of your marriage, this may either come as a relief or cause tears to start brimming up in your eyes. But no matter which group you fall into there is good news. Our marriages will be fulfilled.
Revelation 19 paints a beautiful picture of the marriage supper of the Lamb. The Church, the Bride of Christ, will be presented beautifully to the Bridegroom. Our earthly marriages have grasped at the beauty of this unity but, as anyone who has been pronounced, “man and wife” and walked past the end of the pews can tell you, we don’t live up to the standard we’ve been given.
But we can wait, longingly, for the day when this will be fulfilled. All will be made right and the echoes we grasp at on earth will be fully revealed. On this day, we will stand and say, “This is it! This is the beauty we tried to capture on earth. And it is more glorious than we could have ever imagined.”
The Gospel means God’s work in our lives isn’t finished
Paul and Timothy tell us in Philippians 1 that, “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (ESV). No matter where we are, no matter where we are going, God is in control. He will be faithful to the work He has begun in our hearts and in our marriage.
He is redeeming every aspect of our lives. In Romans 8, He promises us that all things will work for the good of those He loves. Our lives are being woven into a beautiful tapestry, transforming us into the image of Christ.
Christ Himself set the example of what a marriage looks like. He let go of His glory to dwell with us, endured unthinkable suffering, and ultimately sacrificed His life for the sake of us, His bride. We have been loved to the point of death. The pattern of sacrifices is essential in a healthy marriage. As we keep dying to ourselves, may we rise with Christ and embrace the life He has given us.