You have probably heard it said that the best gift you can give your children is to love your spouse well. Certainly, it is a wonderful thing for our children to live in homes where they are not the center of the universe, where they see and understand that a person’s first priority is devotion to the Lord, then commitment to their spouse, then love and affection for their children. But what if we were to decide each day to give our spouses this same gift? To correctly prioritize the relationships in our lives by placing Christ at the forefront? Coming off of a busy holiday season and a year of division, pandemic, and chaos, I believe there is much rest to be found in releasing our spouses of the pressure to carry more than they were designed to carry.
In Exodus chapter 20 we read about the ten commandments. Verse 3 instructs us not to have any other gods before the Lord. Verses 4-6 say, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.”
Notice that the Lord points out it is us – sinful humans – who make for ourselves other gods or idols. God is not going to hand us a false god, item, or person to place above Himself and bless us for doing it. Knowing this, we should be challenged to ask ourselves why we place things or people in front of the Lord. Of all the earthly relationships we will engage in over the course of our lifetimes, it is marriage that so beautifully represents Christ and His Church. It is powerfully impactful when we prioritize our spouse above any other person, even our children. It can be powerfully destructive when we prioritize our spouse above the Lord.
When we think about our lives and our stories, and when we consider what really brings wellness, wholeness, and health, we are selling ourselves short if we think we gain any of those things from anything or anyone but God. His design and plan for marriage is that HE gets all the honor and glory from two people representing Christ and the Church on earth. When we expect our spouses to fill, heal, redeem, or love us perfectly, we have made for ourselves an idol in the form of our husband or wife. This isn’t God’s design, and it is certainly not His best. What a relief to know God isn’t asking us to fill His role with our spouses! What a gift it is to our spouse when we release them from the burden of holding the rank of God, and the expectation of holy perfection.
Aren’t you so glad He doesn’t leave us with no help or resources to find our way? Me too. The Bible is our guide back to Christ when we have mixed up our priorities and placed things or people in front of Him. If you have found yourself drained and depleted coming into 2021, be encouraged today! With the Lord as your main focus this year, the story He writes for you is already filled with hope and victory. Good is ahead!