SUNDAY, MARCH 6, 2011 "Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day." Ecc 9:9 TM Marital happiness requires an environment of unselfishness. Two people deciding to live out what Jesus taught in His Sermon on the Mount, will find happiness together. Each beatitude (what our attitude should be) begins with the word "blessed" which means "happy." True happiness is found in humility, readiness to repent, gentleness, patience, being unassuming, loving what's right and just, pureheartedness, and peacemaking. These are the qualities that make a marriage go the distance. And notice, they're the opposite of selfishness! An un-crucified self is the worst possible marriage material. The wedding ring symbolizes unending commitment, but unless it is superimposed over the cross, the symbol of death to self, there can be no lasting marital happiness. Self will put an end to love; love will put an end to self. Marriage is the ultimate invitation to growth in unselfishness. Living with another imperfect person pushes us to mature, mellow, and master the art of relationship-enhancing self-denial. Paul writes: "Love deeply; practice playing second fiddle" (Ro 12:10 TM). The test of a loving relationship lies in putting your partner's needs before your own. Ask yourself, "Whose good am I seeking in my handling of this situation?" reveals your real heart attitude, prompting you to put your partner first. Deliberately deferring to them applies the cross to self and the flesh, and promotes your marriage. The more self dies, the more your relationship lives! "A grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die to make many seeds. But if it never dies, it remains only a single seed" (Jn 12:24 NCV).
Published on Sunday, March 6, 2011 @ 6:09 AM CDT