By Lane P. Jordan, Crosswalk.com
I bet you can remember exactly how you felt the first time you realized you were in love and you felt “This just might be the one!” And I also bet you can remember what you wore, where you went on that date, what you did and ate, etc.
And I also bet that as you remember these thoughts, your heart or stomach does a little jump.
It’s just the way we are made. When we have romantic love for this person we have fallen in love with, we get all warm and funny inside to the point that when we look back on that time in our life, even years later, the memories will bring back those same feelings.
Which makes me wonder. If our memories and feelings are that strong, shouldn’t we go after intentionally remembering all the reasons we got married in the first place?
I believe that if we could remember the reasons why we chose this relationship to begin with, then the chances that our marriage will stay strong are that much higher.
Why should we remember?
We know that God wants us to remember our marriage covenant to him because of how many times the Bible commands it.
In Deuteronomy, Moses commands the Israelites dozens of times to remember and not forget the covenant they made with God and all that God has done for them. The previous generation has passed away because of their unbelief and Moses is warning them to avoid the sins of their parents. He warns them about not worshipping idols or copying the religions of the people surrounding them. Moses reminds them to never forget who God is and what He has done for them! God separated the Red Sea and saved them, He gave them food and water for forty years and not even their shoes wore out.
But he warned them: “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Deut. 8:11-14).
As well, in Joshua 4, God had Joshua lead the Israelites to pick stones of remembrance as a memorial for when God dried up the Jordan River for them to cross. Fast-forward to the New Testament, Jesus calls his followers to remember him and what he did for them by regularly taking communion (Luke 22:19-20). Remembering is clearly a very important part of our walks with God.
Unfortunately, the Israelites did not always remember. They turned to false gods, followed the wicked ways of the world around them, reacted out of fear instead of faith in God’s provision. And their relationship with God suffered for it.
What happens when we forget?
So, think back to what drew you to the wonderful person you married. His kindness; her beauty; his character; the way she reacted to children; his work habits; her faith; his ability to fix things; the way he talked to other people; how she treated her elderly parents; his great looks; her ability to understand his job; his athleticism; her devotion to her work and perhaps, the great interaction you had with each other in that carefree way you could just open up and talk and be yourself.
Why do these wonderful attributes and dynamics change?
My daughter just shared with me about a couple at her church who are dynamic Christians and parents of three young sons. The husband had an affair in their first two years of marriage, greatly repented and said never again. And yet, he has just admitted to an emotional affair. How can this be? How can two people who make a vow before God allow their flesh to damage so many lives?
Peter understood how weak the flesh is: Beloved I urge you…to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). In fact, there are many verses throughout scripture which warn us about the weakness of the flesh.
Which brings us back to the importance of remembering why we got married to this person in the first place: it’s through the bonds of marriage where we can be made stronger as we go through the pitfalls of life. The gift of a strong marriage is that it can keep us away from these lusts of the flesh.
But when we forget why we got married in the first place, we can become like the Israelites whose hearts wandered from God to our spouses. We look at our spouse’s flaws and the distance in the relationship, and it can make us doubt if we’re even supposed to be together. We forget that we promised to love them no matter what. We forget that they are to be our priorities, our best friends—and we are tempted to put ourselves first instead.
Remember, God is the author of marriage. So, He must have thought it a pretty good idea! And He said that when two people are joined in marriage, they shall become one flesh. This is vitally important because if two people are one, they will think like one and act as one.
This is such an important concept that God goes on to explain it even more fully when He compared the church as the bride of Christ! Those of us who believe in God and His Son are considered the bride: Christ died for His bride. He was tender and caring and most of all, loving toward His bride the church. It is such an intimate relationship that God equated it to a one-flesh relationship. Like our relationship with God flourishes when we remember all he has done for us, our relationships with our spouses can be the very same—even through the deserts of life.
How can we remember?
Think back to those early months and years. What was it about him/her that made your heart race? What made you begin to respect and care for him? Write these things down.
Then think about how you responded to him then and how you are responding to him now. Perhaps you are taking each other for granted?
To help keep you from this pitfall, start the practice of saying “I love you” every day! Greet them at the door when they come home – and without your cell phone in your hand.
Every night before you go to sleep, pray together, kiss and say, “I love you”. Purchase a marriage devotional to read at dinner every night or the time that works best for you.
Make her favorite dinner or go to your favorite restaurant and just talk. No phones. Tell each other what you remembered from that first time you met or your first date. In fact, make sure you celebrate your anniversary every year!
Put ‘date night’ on your calendar each week. If you can’t get a babysitter, then you can still have a date night! You just plan a date at home, after the kids are asleep. You can eat ice cream, drink wine, etc. together outside while looking at the stars or cuddle on the sofa talking or watching that movie you have been wanting to see.
Date night needs to be honored. If either spouse begins to opt out because they are ‘too tired’ or it’s been a ‘long day’ then realize that is not a good sign. Paying attention and spending time with our loved one should be top priority!
LOVE is spelled TIME. It’s so easy to say the words I love you, but our actions are what matters. Think about all the ways you could serve your spouse and then do it.
Remember that we have made a vow to God to love and honor this person. So, bring God into your marriage! Pray daily for your spouse and your marriage.
- And last, remember the loneliness you may have felt before you met your spouse. Most people when they fall in love feel like their whole lives have opened up with joy! You can still have that.
I so pray that you and your spouse realize that what we do today impacts what happens in our life tomorrow. Remember your promise to each other! Pay attention to all the small details that make them happy and you will end up being very happy in your marriage!
“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So, choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him. Deuteronomy 30:15-20
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless. Ephesians 5: 25-27
“And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:2
Lane P. Jordan is a best-selling author, writer, international motivational and inspirational speaker, singer, artist, Bible teacher, and professional life coach. She lives in Frisco, Texas with her husband who partners with her in ministryand waits impatiently for daughters and granddaughter to visit! Lane’s desire is to encourage, support, and motivate women of all ages to be better wives, mothers, and women of God by organizing their lives and time. You can find her at: www.LaneJordanMinistries.com and her blog at www.PathwaysToOrganization.com.
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