I have found that the secret of staying in love can be summed up in one potent word: Intimacy. You won't find the word intimacy in the Bible at all. Instead, it speaks of oneness in marriage; a oneness that has been designed to meet our needs of companionship and completion, and to relieve the loneliness that is part of being a human being. Since this is precisely what intimacy does, we can view it as the vehicle that carries out God's plan to bless us in marriage.
Oneness has a deeper significance and intimacy a higher purpose. Oneness contains such depth of meaning that the Word calls it a great mystery. Scripture informs us of two amazing things about this oneness. First, the husband-wife relationship is designed to reflect God's image. In marriage, neither the husband nor the wife can do this alone. It takes two together united as one to reflect God's nature. Second, the New Testament reveals something even more mysterious. God has chosen the one flesh union of husband and wife to depict and paint the picture of the intimate closeness and permanent love relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ and His church. So, intimacy in marriage becomes the expression of the oneness that reflects God's image and Christ's love to the world around us. I believe that it is a vital part of our witness to a lost generation and to our own children.
When we consider intimacy in this light, it acquires a new sense of urgency. We stop asking ourselves what is in this intimate relationship for me to enjoy and begin to ponder what is there in the intimacy of our marriage for God's glory.
Today I want to write about a principle of intimate relationships found in Genesis 2:18. Because God said that it is not good for man to be alone we need to recognize the factors that cause failure in relationships and discover the steps to make your marriage a success. It's important that you must first understand a person's need or your spouse's need for love and oneness.
1. Every person has a need for love and relationships.
a. Marriage statistics confirm a need to love and a need to be loved. Nine out of ten Americans get married at some point in their lives.
b. God created in mankind a need for relationships. Love or relationships are a central part of the Bible. The scripture places great importance on loving God and on loving others as well. In Mark 12:30-31, Jesus elevated the command to love God and others above all other commands by saying, "There is no greater commandment than these". The apostle Paul reinforced this by telling us that Christian relationships are not an option but are mandatory (1 Cor 12:18-21). God is very serious about the importance of love and relationships. I am convinced that we cannot accomplish His purpose for our lives or meet our own needs without loving other people.
c. God identifies this relational need in scripture as oneness. Spiritual oneness in relationships can be defined as being in agreement with God, with His purposes, and with one another. When we are not submitted to God and are not one in marriage, we block a major avenue through which God meets our desperate need for love.
2. People attempt to meet their need for love and oneness in a couple of different ways, but only one will succeed. After 35 years of marriage, I realize why so few marriages really succeed. The simple answer is that there are two kinds of relationships. One based on God's plans for relationships and one based on man's plan for relationships. Only the ones designed by God truly succeed.
a. The natural human relationship. No one gets married to destroy his or her mate. I don't believe that is what people have in mind, but that is what is happening across our country and around the world. Divorce statistics are staggering. Over a million divorces take place in this nation each year. Each spouse develops a natural human plan for marital happiness. The couples' separate plans are based on unique personalities and the personal differences of each partner including different family influences, role models, books, and yes, I hate to say it, different church experiences. Because their plans for marriage happiness are different, conflict usually results. Most of our plans have a familiar flaw: a focus on the spouse's performance. Each spouse has a certain expectation. Each believes, "I will be happy when my spouse does what I want him or her to do". When one spouse focuses on the other's performance it usually leads to the destruction of the relationship.
b. The relationship that is based on faith in God. This relationship is opposite to natural human relationships in two significant ways.
1. It is not natural at all, it is supernatural. You can only learn about this kind of relationship from God through His word.
2. The faith relationship does not focus on the human performance of one spouse, but on God's promises and faithfulness. This kind of relationship involves God as the glue of the relationship.
Pastor Earl Goings shares his thoughts on everyday concerns.
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