Happy Valentine’s Day Eve! I love L.O.V.E.! Dark chocolate, gifts, hugs, smooches, romantic stuff, cuddles, sweet nothings, $5 cards, Hallmark movies, all of it! I love thinking about memories with my husband as we approach Valentine’s Day – how we met, how we were too shy to speak to each other, how we planned “the talk,” how we knew that we didn’t want to be apart, how we endured six months of long-distance dating, how we began wedding plans, how we told our families, how we planned our honeymoon, etc. But those are not my only thoughts of Valentine’s Day. I have lots of other Valentine’s memories, too - the ones that consist of me being alone on the dreaded holiday. I didn’t date until I met Patrick, which means that 25 of the 29 Valentine’s Days that I’ve been alive were spent without a significant other… I have not at all forgotten about what it was like to be single, and I remember the heartache I experienced as I longed for the Lord to allow me to be romanced by a man who would one day be my husband. During the wait, I learned lots of good things about marriage, but I also picked up on a lot of bad stuff by watching too many romantic movies while living in self-pity, building my future husband and marriage up to be something more important that it needed to be. Unrealistic dreams and expectations started piling up, and they didn’t all disappear once I got married. Marriage and the dream of being loved by a husband became an idol – one that the Lord wanted me to give to Him before He would bless me with what I desired. (So, side note, if you’re not married yet, I hope you’ll keep reading, too, because these verses and lessons might encourage you to hold onto a right and godly idea of marriage, not the unhealthy one that our culture – even church culture, has adopted.)
The Lord has recently burdened my heart for my marriage in a way that I haven’t been burdened before. I picked up a book from a stack of books near my bed. The book’s title is You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis Chan and Lisa Chan. It is a wonderful book – wonderfully challenging, encouraging, and convicting. While reading the book, I reminisced back on a conversation that Patrick and I had early into our marriage. “Would we be married in Heaven?” Sadly, no, we won’t. Heaven is a mystery. There are so many things we do not understand about it, but we do know that we won’t be connected to our spouses in the same that we are on earth. Praise the Lord, we will be married to Him, as we are His beloved bride! But to a young newlywed, I was kinda sad that Patrick wouldn’t be my husband in Heaven. Will we know each other there? Will we be connected in a deep way there, even if it’s not the same way that we are as one in our marriage relationship on earth? Hmmm. Of all the things I learned from my parents, other couples, marriage books, premarital counseling, and experiences since being married, I was never really focused on marriage in light of eternity. But, as I was reading the book mentioned above, I began to understand that I don’t need to be worrying about what our marriage will or will not look like once we are in heaven. What I should be focusing my time on right now is…How is my contribution to our marriage helping my husband to be sanctified so that He will be prepared to meet God on the day ordained for him? Ouch! No, we may not be married in Heaven, BUT the way that we live and love and act toward each other WHILE ON EARTH can affect us when we each stand before the Lord one day! So out of Christ-like love, we should each do everything in our power (through Christ!) to point our spouse to Christ so that they will be ready to stand before our God! That’s heavy!
On p. 10, Francis Chan starts out by making the following statement: “Because I’m crazy about Lisa, I want her to have a great life. But more than that, I want her to have a great eternity. I want her to look back at her life without regret. I want her to be confident that the time she spent on earth prepared her for Heaven.” As a spouse, we have the strong influence and important role of spurring on our spouse to have the kind of great and fruitful life that will prepare them to hear “Well Done!”
Basically, the lesson is simple. We need to be women who point our husbands to Christ, no matter if we think they deserve to be treated the way Scripture mandates or no matter if its really difficult at times. Your love and devotion might be the catalyst that will inspire your husband to dive deeper into his relationship with Christ. We don’t think of eternity enough, but we should! It’s a realllllly big deal, and the day we see our Lord and Maker face to face will be the most riveting and awe-inspiring moment of our lives! While we don’t need to live in fear of that day, we do need to feel the weight of it because what we do RIGHT NOW determines what that day will look like. Now, we know that if we have been saved and redeemed by Jesus' blood and sacrifice, that God will look on us with mercy instead of wrath. BUT we don’t want to merely scoot into Heaven; we want to be welcomed home because of how faithful we were to Christ while on earth! And what does this have to do with marriage? Everything! Serve your husband as Christ has called you to no matter what. Love him with all that you have no matter what. Encourage him and pray for him and let him lead so that He can confidently stand before the Lord on that day, and you can, too.
The Lord has put LOTS of scriptures on my heart to help this lesson sink in. As you read them, I hope you’ll prayerfully consider the “Application” questions that follow.
Ways to Spur Your Spouse into Godliness
- LOVE = 1 Peter 4:8 – “”
- TENDERNESS, HUMILITY, and PRAYER = 1 Peter 3:8-12 – “
- PURITY BEFORE THE LORD, OUR JUDGE = 2 Peter 3:14-18 – “
- EDIFICATION, NOT STUMBLING BLOCK = Jude 24-25 – “
- SELFLESS, LIKE CHRIST = Philippians 2:1-11 – “
1 Peter 3:7 – “
- Ephesians 5:25-33 – “
1 Peter 3:1-6 – “
- Ephesians 5:22-24 – “
Encouragement that God Hears Your Prayers for Your Marriage
- Hebrews 4:14-16 – “”
- 1 John 5:14-15 – “
APPLICATION (for those who are married)
1. Make a list of all of the traits of a godly wife that you can find in the “For Wives” section. Find some other Scriptures on your own. Pray through these traits. What are you already doing well? What are some ways in which the Lord needs to train your heart and mind to be obedient to these mandates for a godly wife?
2. Make a list of all of the traits of a godly husband that you can find in the “For Husbands” section. Now, DO NOT make a list of ways that your husband does/does not meet these expectations. Our job is NOT to judge and condemn. Rather, make a list of ways that you can pray for your husband so that he can “
APPLICATION (for those who are single)
1. Make a list of all of the traits of a godly wife that you can find in the “For Wives” section. Find some other Scriptures on your own. Pray through these traits. Ask the Lord to train your heart to these ways, rather than to what our culture, even church culture, deems as “successful” for marriage.
2. Make a list of all of the traits of a godly husband that you can find in the “For Husbands” section. Pray for your future husband, if that is the Lord’s will for you. Pray for him with whatever God has him doing right now. Pray for him after he is your husband, that he will follow the Lord’s standard. It’s never too early to pray for him!
(So, I’m sorry for all of the list-making, but I hope that it has proven fruitful! I like to have a tangible list of things that I’m learning and want God to do!)
Now, as you approach Valentine’s Day, whether married or single, think of your spouse/future spouse, and PRAY EARNESTLY for them, that they may be found faithful to the Lord. And I can promise you, it won’t happen through nagging or worrying or criticizing or doubting, BUT THROUGH your prayers and the Lord’s merciful power and sanctification. You have such a ministry to your spouse to PRAY for them! God loves marriage, and His heart is for your marriage (or future one!) to bring glory to Him. Pray about and brainstorm ways that you can serve the Lord together, working together to fulfill His grand mission of telling everyone you know about the saving power of Jesus Christ! That is His mission, and therefore should be the mission of every godly marriage! Don’t make your marriage be about your marriage; it’s much bigger than that! Focus it entirely on the Lord’s mission and glory!
Happy Valentine’s Day, sisters! Make this V-Day about more than gifts and romance or about self-pity and loneliness. Get to praying, loving, encouraging, serving, dreaming, and telling others of the greatest love story of all time! (And if you’re married, you can throw in some of the chocolates and smooches too! ;-) )