Here we are, Part Three of the “Spiritual Healing” series. Hopefully, you have read the first two parts. If not, you can click the link just to the right of this post under the “Recent Post Series” tab. From there, you can access the previous posts from this series and any other series as well.
Assuming you have now read my previous posts, you realize I am not starting at what most would consider the “normal” place to begin working on your marriage.
I’m starting at GROUND ZERO.
In my mind and in my experience, spiritually speaking, GROUND ZERO is comprised of 3 things:
- Your relationship with God through Christ Jesus
With that said, you may wonder why a site like this one, which is supposed to be dedicated to strengthening your marriage, isn’t more about marriage, or at least doesn’t appear to be more about marriage on the surface. Well, hopefully you can see beyond the forest into the trees and realize that getting to the foundation of things really is what improving your marriage is all about. In fact, I believe it’s the only way to begin to improve your marriage.
If you want a site that tells you, “Hey, husbands, talk to your wives more; she connects through quality time.” Or, “Hey, wives, make love to your husband more; he connects through physical touch.” Well, you just aren’t going to get that here. In my mind, knowing what these things are is a no-brainer anyway, especially if you’ve been married for any time at all. And, if you haven’t and/or want to know these things, there are a million books out there to tell you exactly what to do and what to look for, some of them wonderful reads.
For example, if you really don’t know what taps into your spouse’s personal makeup and you really want this type of information, then go buy “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. It’s a great book, and you will undoubtedly begin anew, feeling amazingly refreshed in your marriage, hopefully striving to meet your spouse’s deepest needs, attempting to reach them in the area(s) in which they connect most easily. It’s great, really.
The problem though is that it makes an assumption that I don’t believe can be made for most people or most marriages. This book assumes you know what love is, and I think this is where most people are way out of whack and disjointed in what has been implanted in their hearts along the way.
Jesus Christ tells us, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40)
This is an interesting passage and you may never have thought about it in terms of marriage, but it can easily be applied to marriage. Before we do this though, let’s back up.
Think back to some of my very first posts ever on this site. If you can’t remember, click on the “God Is Love” link to the right under the “Recent Post Series” tab.
You may remember the picture I painted in those first few posts, the picture of the convoluted mess we often make our faith. “Do this” and “don’t do that” and everything in-between, and how in all that mess, we often lose sight of who and what God really is.
In these posts, I very heavily emphasized the truth found in 1 John 4, verses 8 and 16, which both clearly state “God IS love.”
This truth is vital to latch onto if you really want to know who you are in Christ and who you are in God’s eyes. If you don’t have a firm, heart-grasp on this truth and how it impacts your life, please go back and read my early posts entitled, “The Tangled Web of Faith” and “Water Is Wet”.
God IS love, my friends. He doesn’t just feel love for you, He doesn’t just offer you love, He doesn’t just give love to you. HE IS LOVE. His very being is love. His very essence is love. His very nature is love. He can be nothing else.
So, whatever view you have of yourself, if it isn’t aligned with love, then it isn’t of God. He is love.
Please do whatever it takes to really implant this truth in your heart.
(Side note: when the full impact of these two verses were revealed to me a few months ago, I literally spent three weeks meditating on them and confessing the truth “God is love.” I spoke it out loud wherever I went. When I found myself entering a place of judgment, worry, doubt, fear, or anything I knew was not of God, I spoke this truth out loud. I spoke it toward people I was judging. I spoke it at objects that were annoying me, like a dying computer. I spoke it toward situations that were stressing me out. I literally said, “God is love” out loud, toward whatever it was that was drawing me away from God, and when I wasn’t speaking it, I was thinking about it, pondering it, and meditating on it. Needless to say, after three weeks of intense internal therapy in this area, I finally believed it. It truly took that long for me. Do whatever it takes for you.)
So, with that said, let’s go back to Matthew 22 from above. The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all of our being. How and why can we do this?
I believe we can only truly do this if we really believe that God is who and what He says He is, that we can come before Him with anything and everything in our lives with complete trust, that we can obey Him with complete trust, and that we can serve Him with complete trust.
Trust in what? That HE IS LOVE.
We can come before Him and confess all of our dirtiest, darkest secrets and sins because we know that He will come at us only from a place of LOVE. We can obey any and all commands that He gives us, even when they make no sense to us, because we know that He is commanding us from a place of LOVE. And, we can serve Him in all ways, again even when it seems to fly in the face of what society dictates, because we know we are being called to serve by Him from a place of LOVE.
We can do all of these things with the fullness of our beings because of who and what He is, which IS love.
So, keep all that in mind as we go back to Matthew 22 to look at the second part of these verses. In addition to loving God fully, which we just discussed, Christ also tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. I’m not going to get deep into the parable of The Good Samaritan, but in that particular story, Christ clarifies who “our neighbor” really is. Simply stated, it’s anybody, anywhere, anytime. We must love them, so in essence, we can basically say that Christ’s command to us in Matthew 22 is to “love others as ourselves” with “others” being anybody, anywhere, anytime. Not surprisingly, this would include our spouse.
Now, the interesting thing about the second part of Christ’s command to us, I believe, is that most people focus on the “love others” or the “love your neighbor” part.
It’s easy to get in our heads, “Love others. Love others. Love others.” But, why is it that we can easily focus on that part of the command but often dismiss the “as yourself” part? Have you ever wondered why God even put that in there? Why Christ would command us to not only “love others,” but to also do it as we love ourselves?
I mean, come on, the second part of this command isn’t that hard, is it? After all, aren’t most of us pretty darn high on ourselves? Well, friends, thinking you’re great at stuff, or that you look good, or that you’re important or powerful or successful isn’t really loving yourself in the way God means in this verse. He’s not talking about a prideful, arrogant view of who you are. He is talking about loving others in the same way Christ loved us when He saved us.
If our alignment is out of whack, if we don’t view ourselves in the same way God sees us, then we can’t truly love others the way Christ commands of us. This is vital, and just like the first half of these two commandments, I believe this one also goes all the way back to “God is love.”
If God IS love, and we can approach Him with this knowledge, that He IS love, then we must…I repeat…WE MUST…see ourselves the way He sees us…from a place of love and only love, because after all, that’s all He can do because that’s what He is…love.
So, all those words that have power in our lives, you know, the negative ones I referenced in Parts One and Two of this series, the words like ADULTERY, ABORTION, PORNOGRAPHY, MISCARRIAGE, INFERTILITY, ALCOHOL, DRUGS, MOTHER, FATHER, etc, etc, etc, whichever ones have power over your life or power over how you see yourself, the ones that make you cringe or cower in fear, guilt, and shame, the ones that send your heart reeling into the past and all the lies you have believed about yourself for years and years and years, all of those nasty words and experiences, they must be realigned with truth. They must be realigned with “God is love.”
They must, or you will never be able to do what Christ commanded of you in Matthew 22. You can’t love God fully until you realign all that stuff and approach him from a place of trust in who He is, and you can’t really love others until you really love yourself, because after all, Christ didn’t tell you to just love others, He demanded that you love them AS YOURSELF.
So, if you don’t see yourself from a place of love, as God sees you, then you won’t love others as God sees them. You will love them from a distorted view of yourself.
It’s an amazing divine dynamic that staggers the brain when you really think about it.
Stated another way: if you think God sees only YOUR WORDS, the things satan lies to you about, then you are not approaching God from a place of trust in who and what He says He is…which is LOVE and only LOVE.
Friends, are you beginning to see the progression here? Are you beginning to see how important it is to allow God to reshape your thinking and restructure your heart to a correct alignment with Him? It’s because without that, we can’t love Him fully and we can’t love others as Christ demanded of us.
In turn, since our spouses are part of the “others,” we can logically deduce that we can’t love them the way Christ commands of us because we don’t correctly love ourselves.
Do you see it now? It’s our CORE BELIEFS. It’s our FOUNDATION. It must be fixed first before we can be what God wants us to be for and to our spouses.
Now, going back to that book I told you to go buy, it’s about yours and your spouse’s love languages. It’s great. It helps you figure out in what ways your spouse connects most easily and deeply. I will tell you this though, and this is just my personal opinion (so don’t shoot me if you disagree), most of what you get out of that book, or any other that doesn’t dig deep to the root of things, won’t last if you don’t first work on who you are, who you are in God, who you are in Christ, and how you see yourself before Him.
And why? Because you must truly love yourself as God loves you before you can love your spouse or “others” in the way Christ demands.
Please, please, please ponder this dynamic and truth. In my next few posts, I’m going to share with you how to begin to do this, and we are going to discuss what it is that keeps us from getting there.
I’ll leave you with this one thought to ponder:
With this crazy dynamic, is it any wonder that marriage is tough?
God bless, Friends, and as always, please think about who you can share this post and/or this entire website with, and please do!!