We celebrated my Mother and Father’s 68th wedding anniversary yesterday. They were married in 1945. Dad said, “I thank the Lord everyday as we don’t have any family or friends even close to our age where both spouses are living. We are truly blessed.”
I think it is safe to say that they have passed the test of having a successful marriage. Especially considering, their marriage, like almost every marriage, probably began with two selfish people. I am not sure, I wasn’t there, but most people marry for selfish reasons. They marry because they like what the other person does to / for them. He makes me feel so special, she honors and respects my leadership, he loves me like no other, or I just feel so at peace when we are together. Notice the “me” in all of those statements. It is only a short time later when we really realize that to be successful in marriage means we have to lay down what we want for what is best for us. Suddenly our own selfishness becomes very apparent and for those who are never able to break out of that “selfish” mindset, miss out on a depth in relationship that can only be reached by two people who die to self and live for each other. I guess the question I need to ask myself in my marriage is, who am I living for and who am I dying for? To live for the one means I will have to die to the other.
It is the same in the Kingdom, Luke 9:23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. (NLT)
Living and dying is part of every successful relationship. It is no wonder then when Paul is talking about how husbands and wives should relate, he says, “This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one.” Eph 5:32-33 NLT
May your marriage be a true reflection so that when people look at you and your spouse they see Jesus. It will only happen when you are able to put “self” out of the equation.