Stubborn divorce rates proclaim that spouses often get bored with each other which, in a sense, is understandable. There are movies that I love—but I don’t want to watch the same ones every weekend. There are restaurants I enjoy dining in but except for Starbucks, I wouldn’t want to go there every day. I have favorite shirts, pants, and shoes but I don’t want to wear the same outfit every day. So, it would seem natural to get a little bored with the same marital relationship.
Unless there is something so compelling, ever expanding, even eternal in the soul of that person.
That’s what God provides in a marriage based on Him. This isn’t some ethereal theory—it’s very practical, so hang with me.
In the first sermon he ever preached, the famous Jonathan Edwards dropped this brilliant passage: “The glorious excellencies and beauty of God will be what will forever entertain the minds of the saints, and the love of God will be their everlasting feast. The redeemed will indeed enjoy other things; they will enjoy the angels, and will enjoy one another; but that which they shall enjoy in the angels, or each other, or in anything else whatsoever, that will yield them delight and happiness, will be what shall be seen of God in them.”
That last sentence is key: “That which they shall enjoy…in anything whatsoever…will be what shall be seen of God in them.”
As God captures our hearts, we fall more and more in love with Him. He becomes all our desire, all our hope, our very life and breath. There is a point in a mature believer’s life when it would be impossible to truly enjoy and revel in something that is in rebellion to God. The ancient classics talk about this all the time—the stages of soul formation in which we obey out of fear, and then out of love. Then, because God has so captured our hearts, we obey because we truly only desire the good (that is, God). It’s not that temptation can’t seize such a soul—it surely does—but even if we fall, we hate what we’re doing when we’re doing it and we’re appalled by what we’ve done after it’s over.
Which means that a marriage with a shared love and worship of Christ is a marriage that grows ever deeper over time; as God shapes our hearts to desire Him, He is also, in that work, shaping our hearts to desire and enjoy each other. The more I love my wife out of worship, then the more God brings my heart into an ever-worshipful state (which He is doing steadily and continuously), the more I will love my wife. It will increase! I take delight in the eternal will of God, because God is giving me the heart to do so, and His eternal will is that I love my wife as Christ loves the church. So I start to relish the thought and practice of loving my wife that way, because what I love in my marriage, what I love in my wife, is the presence of God in my marriage and the presence of God in my wife.
What if your spouse isn’t a believer? You can still enjoy the presence of God in your marriage because God’s word says, “The unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband.” (1 Corinthians 7:14) We don’t have enough space in this short blog post to explain what that means except to say this: there is enough of God in one believing spouse to provide everything a marriage needs to be sanctified.
What this means friends is that marital satisfaction is based in worship, in yielding our hearts first to God, in saying no to the corruptions of this world, and cooperating with God’s grace to make us not only do what is right but to truly desire what is holy, and good, and worthy of praise. The more we do that, the more we will cherish our spouse, the more we will cherish our marriage, because we will never—not even in a million years—grow weary of Him. And He has so made us, He has so redeemed us, that we find our delight only in Him.
Put your marriage in Him and watch the delight and even happiness, flourish. That is how you enjoy someone for eternity.