We have some friends who have been married more than thirty years. In their mid-fifties now, they seem to enjoy all the blessings possible for a healthy married couple — a beautiful home, good friends, bright children, and fulfilling careers. But their marriage hasn’t been a walk on easy street. Their second child, a boy, was just four years old when he wandered into a neighbor’s yard and drowned in their swimming pool.
The mother found her son facedown in the water and worked frantically to revive him, as did the emergency crew, but his life was lost. Faced with this tragedy and the unbearable grief that followed, this couple could have given up. After all, it is not uncommon for a marriage to dissolve in the face of overwhelming suffering. Strangely, sorrowful partners sometimes retreat to separate and bitter corners of misery. And because misery doesn’t always love company, their circumstances tear them apart instead of bringing them together. But not this couple; they chose to call upon the power of love to help them weather their tragedy as partners.
Are you and your partner cultivating the power of love? We hope you will never be forced to test its strength, and we pray you will always rest in the courage that comes from a healthy Christian marriage.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. — Romans 8:35, Romans 8:37
In his book Power through Constructive Thinking, Emmet Fox wrote these words about the power of love:
There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer; no disease that enough love will not heal; no door that enough love will not open; no gulf that enough love will not bridge; no wall that enough love will not throw down; no sin that enough love will not redeem.
It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake, a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. If only you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world.
What a marvelous resource partners can be to one another. For as we cultivate love we strengthen our ability to cope with all that life might bring. And in the process we are reminded that “in all things God works for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28)
From God’s Word
I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. — Ephesians 3:16-18
- How do you experience the love of Christ in your life? When have you felt most loved by God?
- Give a personal example of a time when an unexpected or painful blow was mitigated by love in your life
- Since misery doesn’t always love company, what can you do now to ensure that when misery strikes your lives you will not be pulled apart?
- What can you do as a couple to cultivate a reliance on the power of God’s love in times of difficulty?
- Do you agree with Emmet Fox that no matter how deep the trouble, a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it? Why or why not?
Soul to Soul
To deepen your spiritual intimacy this next week, make note of:
- What you gained from this session together
- A pressure point in your partner’s upcoming week you will pray about
- A concrete kindness you can offer your partner this week
Dear God, sometimes the storms of life threaten to overcome our human capacity to love. Help us to drive our roots down deep, to be so established in your love that we might know its height and depth which surpasses understanding and be filled to over-flowing with a measure of that love within our marriage — especially in the face of unexpected loss, bitter disappointments, and unsolvable situations. Amen.
Real-Life Soul Mates
My wife and I have come to see life more and more as a war. Ultimately, our battle is with the forces of evil, but on a daily level war involves a struggle with time, money, priorities, health, and unplanned crisis. If we are to fight as allies, then we must grow in greater intimacy. To this growth we devote our time before dinner. This time is sacred and rarely crowded out by other activities. It is our R and R to return to fighting well.
This has required repeated instructions to our children not to interrupt us. It requires us to let the phone ring, to let guests wait for their hosts to return, and to offend countless others who see that as a selfish venture. In fact, it is a refueling time that allows us to engage with our world with a dearer loyalty to one another, a deepened passion for what is good, and a sense of rest that can come from no other place.
The time is seldom less than a half hour and occasionally may stretch for an hour. We usually begin by catching up on the events of the day. Soon, the events become the springboard for conversation about what was provoked in us that caused distress or delight. Often my wife will have read or thought about things that she recorded in her journal, and she will read to me. Other times, I will want her to listen to something I have written. We find it crucial to read out loud together: it not only crystallizes our vague struggles, but it also records our progress together through life.
Our time is unstructured, but it is not uncommon for us to move from events to feelings, from a struggle to joy, or from reading to prayer. In conclusion and consummation we call on God to deepen our heart for Him. We return to our family and world refreshed in our sense of being intimate allies. ~ Dan and Rebecca Allender
Excerpted with permission from Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts Devotional by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, copyright Les and Leslie Parrott.
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Come share your answers to the questions above on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Faith.Full