“It is finished.”
Perhaps the most glorious sentence ever uttered, at the end of Jesus’ crucifixion, can serve every marriage by teaching us to keep the last day of our marriage in mind.
Jesus’ words declare with triumphant finality the completion of a passionate mission. In just three words, Jesus proclaims that He lived a supremely obedient, meaningful, and victorious life.
There will come a time when each of us are also just minutes away from death’s door. As married people, one of our promises to God was to love His daughter or son like they have never been loved before by any other human. We men pledged to be our wives’ living martyrs (Eph 5:25-26); you women even agreed to undergo training to learn how to love your husbands (Titus 2:4). These are serious calls, leading us to actual study, much thought, diligent practice, and unending prayer and counsel. And since we marry people who “stumble in many ways” (James 3:2), such commands are not universally or persistently easy to keep. There will be some seasons when it feels difficult, perhaps even impossible to love like this.
But there is a finish line. There will be a day when the race is over, when it all comes to an earthly end. And our goal for that day is given to us here from Jesus’ own mouth: “It is finished.”
When you are looking at your spouse’s lifeless earthly shell (or he or she is looking at yours), will you be able to say, as Jesus said, with some finality, “It is finished”?
“I loved her as well as I could; more than I could, even, as I drew upon God’s power every day.”
“I was faithful, encouraging, I did all I could do to remain a loyal brother/sister in Christ.”
“I remained true, I asked forgiveness when needed, I granted forgiveness freely, I reconciled quickly, and I stayed true to the end.”
“We laughed together; I never took her/him for granted. I pursued a friendship with them like I have pursued it with none other.”
“I prayed for her/him, I encouraged her/him, if necessary I even fasted for her/him. I loved her/him as best I could, but now the race is over.”
There is a day, friends, when this marriage stuff comes to an end; a day when God will look at how we have loved His son or His daughter, and we will be judged accordingly. For some of you, that will lead to many eternal rewards. God is not stingy when it comes to rewarding those who faithfully serve His children. (This is NOT to imply that our actions in marriage are all that will be tested or rewarded—not even close.)
To live today well, think about your last day of marriage. Whether you’re the one leaving your spouse behind, or you’re the one being left behind, think about how you want to feel, what you want to be true, what you hope you will be able to say. And then, under God’s grace, let’s start loving that way today, to make it come true.