Seven from Seven (part 7)
This is the seventh and final part of Seven from Seven, the blog-post series I’ve been doing. It’s about seven lessons from seven years of marriage. If you missed part 1 and are wondering what this is all about you can read it here. If you want to read the parts in order, click here for part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6 also. Basically in the year that Lucy and I are celebrating seven years of marriage I’m sharing seven things we’ve learned in those years. Not to brag, not to show off, not to pretend we’re perfect, just to talk about some things that have helped us and that will help to build our marriage further in the years to come. I’ve broken it into 7 parts so it’s not too much to read at any one time. Parts 1-6 published over the last week, and this is the last part.
The first lesson was: we’re not perfect and that we shouldn’t expect too much of each other.
The second lesson was: we’re not God.
The third lesson was: not to go to bed angry.
The fourth lesson was: love is sacrificial.
The fifth lesson was: speak in each other’s love languages.
The sixth lesson was: keep each other’s love tank full.
The seventh lesson is: we’ve learnt that marriage is really a metaphor of God’s love for us. All these lessons really come back to Him. God is love and Jesus showed us in person what that love is really like. The longer I’m married, the more I learn about God’s love. The more I learn the more I try to imitate His sacrificial, selfless, servant-hearted and sublime example. Marriage is a worthy institution in its own right, but it’s not just about man and woman, husband and wife. It represents something greater, the union between Christ and the church. Just as when man and woman become one flesh, so Chris abides with His people. As the husband looks after his wife, so Christ cherishes His church. As a wife respects and honours her husband, so the church reveres Christ. All the instructions Paul gives for Christian marriages in Ephesians 5 are based on the model of Christ and the church. The former flows from the latter. Marriage is there for the company and delight of two individuals, and as the basis of family life, but it is also a revelation of the kind of relationship we have with Jesus, and a foretaste of the even greater intimacy that is to come. This eternal perspective helps us in the here and now. It helps us look beyond short-term circumstances and overcome passing problems. It encourages us to be a better husband and a better wife. I thank God that He uses something so vivid and tangible to give us such profound insight.
So these are seven things that Lucy and I have learnt in seven years of marriage. We’ve learnt to have reasonable expectations of each other and to both look to God for what only He can provide. We’ve learnt to settle quarrels quickly and not give them room to fester. We’ve learnt that love has to be sacrificial, and that is has to be expressed in the right terms. We’ve learnt to keep each other’s love tanks full, whatever it takes, and we’ve learnt how our marriage symbolises God’s devotion and commitment to each and every one of us in the church. These aren’t the only lessons we’ve learnt, just some of the most important. Each one has enriched and strengthened our marriage, safeguarding it against selfishness and indifference. I wish we had learnt them all right away, so that our first couple of years together would have been easier, so I would encourage other couples to be mindful of them right from the outset.
But now that these seven years are complete, another seven begins. May God continue to speak to us and shape us in His image, giving us the grace to love each other ever better. There are more lessons to be learnt along the way, but these seven are a strong foundation for the stories we build next.
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