Anne has been on me a while about writing a marriage blog to singles. I’ve been setting aside the idea for a long time. But over the past two weeks, some comments have come my way,
“I love reading about your mistakes. They help me correct my own.”
“Some of your mistakes help me to know what to NOT look for.”
So I’ve been asking myself a simple question: Of all of the things I’ve done wrong (the list keeps growing), what have I done right?
I came up with two.
Obviously there’s more, but these were literally the first TWO that came to mind that, I believe, are the TWO FOUNDATIONAL decisions that has given me a great (not perfect) marriage. Again, I’ve gotten other things right in the past 18 years, but they’ve built off these two.
If you’re single, this is where you START.
If you’re reading this and your married, this is what you WORK ON.
The FIRST thing I got right: I loved Christ before I loved Anne.
There is no other foundational decision greater than this. Everything, and I mean everything, builds off this. Let me explain. In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment. He said,
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
I cannot possibly love Anne the way she needs to be loved without first loving Jesus. I’ve had people take offense to that type of priority. But when I love the Lord first, He teaches me how to love.
Why is that? When I encounter His love, it teaches me how to love myself AND others. It helps me live life through His perspective. I forgive completely because that’s how He forgives. I have compassion for others because He showed me compassion. I serve selflessly because He served me by laying down His life. I choose to love unconditionally because He choses to love me that way.
I’d love to say I’ve perfected all but, as you’ve read in previous blogs, you know I’m a work in progress as are all of us. But this is where I start from and CONTINUE to build on. Any season that I face, this is where I begin. And it’s given me a powerfully healthy perspective to have.
The SECOND thing I got right: I chose a woman who loved Christ before she loved me.
I didn’t ask her for an application followed with references and a dissertation. I saw her devotion to Christ.
When worship began, she entered in as a passionate worshiper.
When someone was in need, she gave without expectations.
When something needed to be done, she was the first to serve.
When someone needed to be encouraged, Anne was the first to step up.
But most of all, her reputation amongst people who knew her was the reputation of Jesus. She had the character of Christ (Galatians 5:22-23).
She’s nowhere near perfect. Like me, Anne has plenty of flaws and it’s not my place to list them (that point may be for a future blog). It’s my place to see her how Christ sees her. And that list what I saw. Her life was evidence of a Matthew 22 life. I knew if she loved Jesus completely, she could love me that way (because I’d love her that way).
If you’re single, this is where you start. Instead of trying to find the “right one” for you, become the “right one” for others. Go after Matthew 22 passionately. As you encounter the love of Jesus, it’ll change you AND change what you look for in a spouse.
If you’re married and you didn’t start this way. Don’t scrap everything. Start a Matthew 22 marriage today by letting the love of God change you. And from you, let His love encounter and change your marriage.
I love you all. I believe in great things for you. Why? Because I know how great Christ is and I know, through you, great things can happen.
Thanks for letting me ramble…