A Real and Sustained Romance

This is the fifth post in a series based on Wayne Mack’s book Strengthening Your MarriageOur small group’s couples have been walking through this Bible study together covering these important subjects:

A Godly Marriage — Godly marriages reflect God’s design.
A Husband’s Love — To be the love she needs and God commands him to be.
Learning to Communicate — Twelve ways to maintain good marital communications.
Financially One — Five financial principles for the married couple.

This past Sunday, we looked at the importance of increasing intimacy between the husband and his wife. That is to be a common goal of every marriage, regardless of how recent or long they have been together. Each marriage should aim to continue to grow together in a real and sustained romance.

1147775Once again, Genesis 2:24 applies, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Mack elaborates in his book:1

Becoming one flesh is a broad concept involving the totality of life… there is no place where this total sharing is more beautifully pictured or fully experienced than in the intimate relationship of the man and his wife.

One of the blessings of a godly marriage stems from that fact that both spouses are believers. Two real Christians have the potential to enjoy the good things that God has created for them more fully than any non-Christian couple (see Gen 1:27-31; Heb 13:4). For they will truly see their spouse and the time they have together as a gift from God; and desire to conform to Christ’s example with His bride, the church.

Although they will be enabled by God’s grace, a real and sustained romance is still hard work. That’s because there is a purpose in marriage that goes far beyond one’s personal fulfillment. The natural enemies of the flesh are always there with us, including pride, selfishness, laziness, and even ignorance. Instead, we are to have an attitude that recognizes the brevity of life — a biblical perspective on death — as it can change how each of us live and love.

Moses helps us with this in the book of Psalms. Many are unaware that Moses wrote what we now call Psalm 90. He was a man most familiar with death, as he was likely the busiest funeral director of all time thanks to Israel’s disobedience and subsequent wandering.

Here’s the stark reality that each of us need to have in our marriages:

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)

Think on this: unless the Lord returns—you or your spouse will stand over the casket of the other. I would argue that none of us want that to be an experience of regret.2 To number your days means that your heart has the right perspective and your flesh is rightfully under the control of the Holy Spirit.

In our time of discussion, our group considered three ways we can cultivate this real romance (and I’m sure there are more). They included never being complacent in the relationship, attempting to be creative (even if it fails), and the commitment of our time. At the heart of each of these efforts are the memories made spending them together talking, reading, making love, long walks, etc.

We then ended our brief study on intimacy focused on a simple truth: when couples are expressing and experiencing a “1 Corinthians 13” love intimacy problems are at a minimum. What does that kind of love look like?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (vv. 4-8)

May we use this time to stop and pray for our own marriage, as well as the marriages of others.

1 Mack, Wayne A. Strengthening Your Marriage, second edition 1999 (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 1977). 91.
2 These words are not my own, as I recall hearing C.J. Mahaney express them years ago and have never forgotten them.