April Motl is a pastor’s wife who loves to laugh, loves her man, loves to talk on the phone entirely too long and most of all, loves her Lord. Collaborating with the efforts of her husband Eric, the two of them share a ministry dedicated to bringing God’s Word into the everyday lives of married couples, men and women. April has been privileged through her own church and ministry outside her local body to share God's Word with women ranging in ages and stages, across denominations, and walks of life. April is a graduate from Southern California Seminary and has written for Just Between Us Magazine, Dayspring's (In)courage, and The Secret Place and also writes regularly for crosswalk.com, iBelieve.com and Women's Ministry Tools. For more information, visit Motl Ministries at: www.MotlMinistries.com
Many waters cannot quench love... Song of Solomon 8:7
As we wrap up this series from Song of Solomon, this finale verse well encapsulates the kind of love I think we all want to have in our marriages: a love that nothing can wash away. We all want a steadfast, passionate, enduring love. We want a love that stands strong despite the disappoints, distractions, exhaustion and burdens of this life.
Over the course of the series, we picked up practical ways we can nourish our marriages to have that enduring love. From the Song of Solomon lovers, we saw the following ingredients to maintaining a lasting love:
Song of Solomon is a beautiful book in Scripture. In it, the Lord shows us His design for our drive for passion. Without Song of Solomon, we might easily flop to the extreme of thinking intimacy and romance aren’t “holy” and miss something God designed for our joy and delight. Many Bible scholars also believe the book reveals the intensity of heart God has for His bride, the church. Throughout the rest of Scripture God tells us His love for us is like our earthly relationships at their best. He loves like a good father, a watchful shepherd, a sacrificing friend and brother, and with the intensity and passion of a lover.
Ultimately, all the passion and drive that’s been wired into our souls can’t be centered on a person or pursuit other than the person and pursuit of Christ. It’s too big for anything other than Him. Even our precious marriages weren’t designed to be the receptacle of our entire heart.
If we want to have a married love that lasts through the floods of this life, our marriages have to be centered around Christ. When they are centered around us and our own pleasure, we get self-centered and emotionally unhealthy. When they are centered around our kids, they get self-centered and unhealthy, and we get worn out. When they are centered around our careers, we drift apart. But if we keep them centered around Christ, our relationship will be safe. It takes two to make it work best, but even if you are alone in your desire, here’s five practical ways to center your marriage in Christ:
1. Begin by understanding Christ’s sacrifice for you to wash away your mistakes. Here’s an example of how to pray to begin your relationship with Christ.
2. Start seeking God’s wisdom for life on a daily basis. The book of Proverbs has 31 chapters and you can easily read one each day of the month. Also, the book of John is a great place to start reading about Jesus’ life and love for you. If you are doing this as a couple, try popping open Proverbs while you eat dinner and just talk over any of the verses that stand out to you or that you have questions about. Don’t be super formal about it, but begin inviting the concepts from Scripture into your household conversation.
3. Get involved in a Bible study at a church where you can grow together as a couple. Sharing life with other Christians can be a very special blessing to your marriage and family. I grew up in a home where there was much struggle and strife, but the most peaceful seasons were the ones where my parents were actively involved in a small church. The tight fellowship of the church was a blessing to all of us. So whether it’s a small church, where people know your name and what’s going on in your life, or a small group at a larger church, allow your life to known and shaped by the accountability that comes from positive Christian fellowship.
4. Regularly assess the direction and focus of your marriage. Budget your energy, time, finances and other resources in ways that are purposeful and direct your heart and family toward God-honoring pursuits. My husband says that too often we all just “let the big wheel roll” and then what happens is that big wheel rolls over us, or our kids, or our family. Following Christ as an individual or a couple requires much intentionality. God will lead us, grow us and accomplish all things for us (Psalm 57:2). But because He involves us in the process, it’s our responsibility to constantly be checking our hearts to make sure we are inviting Him in with more than just a mental assent. He wants our hearts, actions and desires.
5. Last, but not least, pray together as a couple everyday. I’ve heard that couples who pray together on a daily basis have a less than 1% divorce rate. Praying together is a blessing and safeguard. Here’s a PDF of Scripture Prayers to get you started praying over your marriage. You can pray them together or individually.
I pray your marriage might find it’s center in Christ and that your love would be stronger than all the flood-waters this life dishes out!