The ultimate question in the minds of anyone who is married is, will it last? Will we live our lives together to the end and leave a legacy for our children’s children? This is a good question, but before we consider the answer, realize that the solution could be derailed by two dangerous myths:
Myth 1. Love is the basis of marriage.
Myth 2. Enduring the trials of marriage are completely up to us.
If marriage is only based on love or romance, then what happens if love grows cold? We can easily say that we’re not in love anymore. And if it is all up to us, then it’s easy to conclude that the failure of one of us equals a broken relationship. Both views seem tenable at first glance, but they are based on humanistic underpinnings, or thoughts that may come naturally to us when difficulties arise. These views, however, are without roots in the Word of God.
When God is our focus, and his word our standard, and his design for marriage central in our hearts and minds, when we fall, we will not fail. This expectation is foolproof because God does not renege on his promises to sustain us over time! The reason being is that our mutual commitment is not based on love, but on a covenant of companionship. The background for this, found in Genesis 2 and Mark 10, is provided in our blog “Is Love The Basis for Marriage,”
In our book, “The Music of Marriage, How Do You Keep The Music Playing” we answer the question by way of a musical analogy. If you’ve ever watched an orchestra perform you know that while the musicians are performing, the entire performance is directed by the maestro. Translated, the music of your marriage, as it were, is masterfully written and composed by God, and we who have taken our vows before him are privileged to be his performers.
The magnificence of marriage is that we have the ultimate composer who wrote the perfect score, directing us throughout the entire performance. Our author also provides the tempo and rhythms that guide us through the desired ups and challenging downs. These rhythms, along with discordant chords in the music push us to resolve the dissonance; likewise, the marriage commitment pushes us to resolve conflicts, returning us to the central theme of the song.
When God does his part and we do ours
The score God wrote for marriage has a way of pushing us toward Sovereign dependency. God’s purpose is to support the music where the beat goes on to the lasting fulfillment of marriage. We are not the author and composer of marriage—nor are we the director of the orchestra—we are the orchestra. Our only job is to do our part and to allow the “Maestro” to do his. Once we say “I do,” we are no longer auditioning for the part; we are on stage as performers awaiting every cue by the Maestro. Understanding the distinct role relationship between husband, wife, and God, is critical for a realistic view of marriage. The reason being is that our focus is on God and his directives to fulfill our responsibility to our spouse, rather than the focus being on our spouse and their responsibility to us.
Certainty comes from faith grounded in continuity.
So our confidence is grounded not in our abilities, or in our understanding the needs of our spouse, but in the certainty of the work of God which cannot be diminished by time or circumstance, nor its permanence easily dismissed. It is within the context of that certainty that we can more fully trust and obey God.
Declare and act on the following promises of God for you and your marriage. Notice how they link what we experience in the present to a sure hope for the future, for marriage is an extension of the Christian life:
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
If they obey and serve him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.
1 John 2:1
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the context of a certain future, the marital relationship provides the fertile soil for three critical dynamics:
- Aligning expectations—because we both are playing our parts from the same composition, we know the score, written in perfect harmony.
- Mutual understanding—because we both have supporting roles to fulfill.
- Sacrificial love—because the music will never move anyone if it is played without the dynamics and passion observed one when lays down their life for their closest companion.
Co-Author of The Music of Marriage