Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, ““It is not your love that sustains the marriage, but from now on, the marriage that sustains your love.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison
The day Russ and I were married, we entered into a covenant which will be broken only by death. We fervently meant it then, and we mean it now.
This isn’t to say it’s easy – it isn’t. Russ and I are incredibly different which makes life challenging, but also keeps it interesting. Russ would probably add it makes life more fatiguing, which is also true, but being an idealist, I figure we’ll catch up on our sleep one day.
John Piper says this about the covenant of marriage,
If you are in a season right now where the flower is wilted, and you think the solution is to pull the plant up, that’s not the solution. The ground of covenant, the ground of promise…that’s the ground where it can flourish.
As I wrote yesterday, good marriages require work. Life grinds us down, and sin tears at our best intentions. Every marriage should have a healthy dose of repentance and forgiveness, because try as we might, we will sin against one another.
I love this prayer of confession,
Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.
Isn’t this the way it is? We sin against God and the people we love by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. It’s tempting to leave sin unconfessed and unforgiven, but this allows a root of bitterness in our hearts which can only grow into an unhappy marriage.
Confess sin, cling to your covenant, love your husband more than you love yourself, and pray with him and for him. Let your marriage sustain your love.
#721 – 730 giving thanks
Russ, who has faithfully loved me for so many years
the sure knowledge that our life together is a good gift
children, a blessing from the Lord
three days spent away from the frenzy of life to focus on one another
friends who opened their vacation home to us
the river, snow, sunshine
older children watching the younger ones
friends who helped make it possible
prayer, laughter, forgiveness