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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Guest Post: Pretend You're Married to Jesus

I'm taking some much needed R&R time with my family this week. Graciously one of my favorite bloggers, Sheila from Longings End, is sharing her wisdom through another beautiful post. Happy Valentines. Enjoy and I'll see you next week.

Pretend you’re married to Jesus…

It is by loving, and not by being loved, that one can come nearest the soul of another; yea, that, where two love, it is the loving of each other, that originates and perfects and assures their blessedness.
George MacDonald, Phantastes

What if married couples took this to heart?

What might the union, the family and eventually society look like?

How might loving your mate more than wanting to be loved work out in day to day living?

And what would happen if you really believed that everything you did to your spouse you did to Jesus?

These are all questions worth prayerfully pondering if you want to grow in love, learning daily to love like the Lord does.

In the beginning…


Us loving because He loved us first.

And you can’t love another more than you love yourself unless you love God most.

You won’t be able to lay aside your selfishness until you understand and appreciate His great sacrifice for you.

And your love relationship with the Lover of your soul needs to constantly grow, changing over time as He changes you – and me – for the better.

Spending time with God helps us become more like Him. Not only in prayer, Bible reading or Sunday services, but in every moment of every day being so consciously connected that He truly is closer than your next heartbeat.

Seeing Him in everything and giving thanks for it all, especially your spouse. He has given you the perfect imperfect partner to help perfect imperfect you. 

Mirror image…

Often what you don’t like in your husband or wife is merely a version of the same sin in you. Like can attract like.

But instead of casting stones, love your spouse enough to keep no record of wrongs nor hold onto a bad attitude. 

Instead love them as if they were Jesus Christ Himself right there in front of you, wet towel on the floor and all. And when she blows the budget on a grocery store sale pretend it’s Jesus with the empty pocketbook. 

Do unto others as you would have it done to you and always remember that Jesus said whatever you do unto the least of these brethren of mine you do to Me.

Closing the gap…

You will come nearest the soul of your spouse as you continue in loving them more than asking for their love. And of course it works best when both husband and wife feel this way.

So try to outdo each other in practicing the deeds of love as laid out in 1 Corinthians 13.

This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience—it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance.
Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over the wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it is glad with all good men when truth prevails.
Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. Love never fails.

As you practice loving God’s way you will find joy in giving more than in taking or demanding love and you will see that as one-flesh partners if you hurt your spouse you will hurt yourself.

It is so easy to be selfish but it takes discipline, determination and devotion to God to lay down self for the sake of one’s marriage, putting your partner first. 

And Jesus came that we might have abundance including in our marriages. But the only way to win it is by being in it. Consistently abiding in Him, reading and studying His life-giving word, and giving your life away so that His way has precedence.

Day by day…

In marriage a husband or wife must choose to lay down selfishness in order to lift up God by putting their spouse first.

Maybe he really likes a particular meal, but she doesn’t and cooking it is not something she readily wants to do. She does it anyway asking God to change her heart so that she can prepare and serve it graciously.

Or perhaps she can’t sleep at night because something is troubling her and her mind keeps racing. He thinks it’s a tad irrelevant but listens to her heart and keeps himself from getting impatient even though he really needs to sleep so he can be alert for work in the morning 

In each example it was by loving the other more than oneself, that the marriage moved forward, the relationship strengthened and God was glorified.

Together at the banquet …

Each morning my Michael and I take our first bites of daily bread together. At our breakfast table, verses from 1 Corinthians 13 or Ephesians 4 are standard fare along with a portion from the gospels. 

You can grow your marriage up into all God wants it to be by doing the same, tasting together and seeing that the Lord is good.

Reading and re-reading certain scriptures helps us remember and learn to love like God loves us.

And it sweetens our marriage.

So with love in the air this Valentine’s week, but more so every day all year long, why not commit to spending time daily with your spouse and Jesus learning what love really is.

And then loving your spouse more…

All our longings end in love.

Sheila Kimball is the author of Heart Cry: 40 Reflections for a Woman’s Soul (2013). She offers C2: Comfort and Conversation for women, and with her writing-partner husband Michael Kimball provides life coaching for men, women and married couples. Longings End is their faith-filled blog focused on love’s healing power and tips for making marriages better. For more information, visit LongingsEnd.com and LongingsEndCoaching.com. A free copy of her eBook, BREAKOUT Manifesto: When you’re ready to break free of brokenness is available when you subscribe to Longings End.

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