Yesterday, I did my first wedding at First Pres Evanston. The text I used to encourage the young couple was I Peter 4: 7-11. The text has nothing to do with marriage but it speaks persuasively about the way Christians are to live in light of the imminent return of Jesus.
Peter says, "the end of all things is at hand." Since Christ is coming soon what manner of people should we be?
Be self controlled
Be sober minded so that we are disposed to prayer
Love one another constantly because love covers a multitude of sins. This is so helpful to me in my own marriage. I tend to see the flaws of my wife and turn a blind eye to my sin. When I see her with the eyes of Jesus, God's love, working through me, covers her imperfections. Praise God, she does the same for me.
Our relationship is not based on perfection or works, but on grace. Just as I do not deserve and can never earn God's love, I do not deserve and will never be able to earn Judith's love. So she covers me in the blanket of agape love.
The greatest source of conflict in marriage happens when couples operate out of a standard of perfection that is long on works and short on grace or forgiveness.
Whether we are married or single, through marriage, we see clearly the love Jesus has for his church (Ephesians 5: 25). He laid down his life joyfully and sacrificially for his church, his bride. Sacrifice and unconditional love are the matrix for the marriage that resembles the cross bearing life of all disciples.
Daily, the couple is called to take up their cross and follow Jesus (Matthew 16:24). They die to themselves, their urges, their wants, their needs and they focus on the will of Christ in every area of their lives. This is truly a paradox, isn't it? Your greatest joy comes through sacrificing for the joy of the other. Try it!