What does a perfect marriage look like? Should it not be made up of two perfect individuals? (i.e. a perfect husband and a perfect wife) For those who enjoy mystery novels or are “movie-goers” you may recall the book by Ira Levin or the movie by Stephen King entitled The Stepford Wives. The blurb on the back of the book reads, “All the beautiful people live in the idyllic village of Stepford, Connecticut, an affluent suburban Eden populated with successful, satisfied hubbys and their beautiful, dutiful wives.” Now for some, you may be thinking, what’s wrong with that? I suggest that it may be in your best interest to keep those thoughts to yourself. But on a serious note, many of us enter into marriage with a dream or at least a degree of desire that our marriage will be perfect. I know of very few couples who come to the altar with thoughts of their marriage being a total disaster and they can’t wait to jump into the mess.
Do you have a perfect marriage? Let me ask you this; are you a perfect husband? Are you a perfect wife? In Matthew 5:48 we read, “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This statement of Jesus comes within the context of what is known as the Sermon on the Mount, in which He has just outlined in verses 43-44 the expectation of God the Father that His children not simply love our neighbors and those who love us, but we are to love our enemies as well. Jesus says in verse 46, “For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?”
The implied truth here is that God can enable us to accomplish these things, to love even the unlovely. Now, if God can give us the ability to seek the best interest of people with whom we have no natural attraction, how much more will He enable us to seek the best interest of those we love who may irritate, annoy or offend us at times? God Himself is the standard we are to follow.
As disciples or followers of Christ, we must identify ourselves with God’s interests in other people and that includes our spouse. I am called of God to love him as Christ has loved me. To express Christian character is not simply doing good deeds. It is displaying God-likeness. What is to be seen in me is Christ-likeness, not merely a “good human being.” The goal is not even to be godly or to be “god-like” in my actions but to get to the point that they don’t even see me but see God. This is to be accomplished in the ordinary things of life and living in relationship with others (i.e. my spouse). When faced with the ordinary things of life or when we are faced with the crises of life, a perfect husband does not become self-centered. A perfect wife does not become self-centered. They are God-centered and God-controlled. God will give us ample opportunities in actual life to prove whether we are perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect. As disciples we must deliberately identify ourselves with God’s interests in other people. “That you love one another, as I have loved you . . .”
What does a perfect husband look like? A perfect husband is one who identifies with God’s interest in his wife. He wants what is best for his wife in her relationship with God. In like manner, a perfect wife is one who wants what is best for her husband in his relationship with God. A perfect marriage is not one that simply doesn’t have difficulties. It is not without fussing or arguements. It is not one that is simply debt free. A perfect marriage is one in which a couple’s interest is in identifying with God’s interest in others. A couple that understands that the world does not revolve around them and allows God to use them to love others will experience a perfect marriage.
Do you have a perfect marriage? Are you a perfect husband? Are you a perfect wife? You may say, “No, not yet.” I would reply, “But are you working on it?” Is perfection a goal for your life and marriage? To be perfect, complete, fulfilled as the Father in heaven is perfect should be goal of a Covenant Marriage. I challenge you to make it a goal of yours.
By Phillip Waugh, Executive Director, Covenant Marriage Movement.
Copyright © 2007 Covenant Marriage Movement. All rights reserved. Used with permission.