Romantic love is beautiful and exciting. It is sparked by mutual attraction and how the beloved makes us feel. But by definition it is destined to wear out and must be replaced by something more enduring.
Consider what the Bible says in Colossians 1:3-5b:
“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven.”
In these verses we learn what must be the basis of any enduring love. We can love others with an enduring love because we have a hope that is focused on what Christ has stored up for us in heaven.
Christian marriage is a picture for the world to see that reveals Christ and His love for the church and of the church’s loving loyalty and dependence on Christ. Christ’s love is sacrificial and saving. The only worthy response to such love is love, honor, and faithfulness.
But…our husbands are not Jesus and are at this stage only beginning to learn to love like Jesus. Yet we, as Christian wives, are commanded to treat them as if they already are what God will shape them to be! How do we do this? We put our focus on what Christ has stored up for us in heaven. We treat our husbands with honor, love, and respect now, long before they act or love like Jesus does. Then something begins to happen. That loving respect and honor moves our husbands to work to be worthy of that respect. The most effective way to help our husbands grow in godliness is to treat them like you would if they already were like Christ! And that is next to impossible unless we are focused on Christ and what he has in store for us.
God created human marriage to picture an eternal, heavenly reality of oneness between the Trinity and all who are joined to God through Christ. In the church we tend to undervalue the human expressions of this truth. In the world we tend to glorify the human expressions and ignore the spiritual reality.
One expression of unity is in our sexual relationship with our husbands. Sex was given as a gift to humans to help us experience this oneness now. Sex does not create oneness. It reflects oneness. Marital sexuality confirms a loving relationship and makes it tangible. Every time you make love to your husband you affirm that one day you will be with Jesus face to face and never separated from him. Sex serves oneness, it does not stand apart from it.
The same thing holds true for many other parts of marriage. Meals cooked and eaten together serve the oneness. Furnishing and decorating your home serve the oneness that reflects the ultimate oneness. Raising a family is bearing fruit and extending oneness outward. In all these things: sex, sharing meals, decorating and caring for a home, or raising children;our lives can point to our life and hope in Christ. Or we can make these very same things the focal point of our reason for living and they will tear apart our unity with our spouse.
The only way we can prevent the very good gifts God gives us from becoming sources of destruction is by keeping our hearts and minds focused on Christ and the hope laid up for us in heaven.