Monday, October 3, 2016

Loving Well---Romance and Redemption: A Marriage Mini-Series--Introduction

Note: This post is part of a series of posts on marriage/relationships. I pray that this "mini-series" would be a blessing to you! Please feel free to share any of your own thoughts in the comments! 


Chivalry in love has nothing to do with the sweetness of the appearance. It has everything to do with the tenderness of a heart determined to serve.
~Ravi Zacharias


As I've been thinking and praying about this mini-series on marriage and relationships, an idea surfaced in my head, and that was this--Perhaps we show how much we love someone by how much we are willing to suffer for them . . . how much we are willing to give for them. . . how far we are willing to go for them . . . how long we are willing to wait for them . . . how steadfast we will be not to compromise with sin to gain a temporary false peace that may be easily shattered.

This idea began to take root in my heart and in my head and I will follow this thought process throughout this series on marriage. Because I believe that it is true. And because I believe that there is no easy way for true romantic love to flourish except through sacrifice.

Our example is Christ and His church--and what stronger example of sacrifice and sacrificial love can there be? Even before we loved Him, He loved us . . . even when we scorned Him, spurned Him, spit upon Him . . . He loved us

I have to ask myself this as a woman and as a wife and as a follower of Christ--

How much am I willing to suffer, to give, to die to myself for the ones that I say that I love--

Nowhere is this more played out than in the marriage relationship.

The same goes for men--for husbands--and I believe, on a mystical level, they will answer to the Lord more strongly as the head of their families under Christ--

How much am I willing to suffer, to give, to die to myself for my wife?

Only when we can give everything, as Christ did, on the cross of Calvary, will we fully arrive. And never on this earth, or in this life, will we fully arrive . . . and that is where grace comes in.



We will never fully arrive. But if our hearts beat with the heartbeat of Christ, if His love flows through our veins, and there is life--than we will strive to be like Him. Here. In the now. In this moment with my husband or with my wife.

We have the gift of the Spirit of God. He enables us to become more and more like Christ. And the more that we become like Christ, the more we will arrive, the more we will love, the more we will see our shortcomings and cry out for grace. We will never arrive but we are arriving.

Defensiveness in our relationships is usually a sign that we have not humbled ourselves, have not been humbled enough--when we argue and we fume and we rationalize our actions, we show that we are lacking something of grace--the grace of humility.

The most tender, sensitive men are the first to admit that they are not always tender and sensitive. The most gracious, gentle woman is the first to admit that she is not always gracious and gentle.

Humility is the door to obedience and only when we stoop low can we enter the vastness of God's grace on the other side, in the great pasture of obedience and love.


Real love, real romance begins with humility. It begins with losing ourselves and putting on Christ. The most handsome men are the ones who serve, not the ones who work out at the gym and drive shiny cars. The most beautiful women are the ones who put other's needs first and forget about themselves in the blessedness and freedom of serving and loving purely. The most spiritual men and women are not those with the most theological head knowledge, but those who walk in daily obedience to Christ. 

The degree of love that we have for others is proportionate with the degree that we are willing to suffer for their sake.  


"Love suffers long and is kind." (I Corinthians 13:4 NKJV)

Real love has to be willing to sacrifice in order to mirror the love of Christ. 



"In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (I John 4:10 NKJV)

Because Christ suffered for us--God Himself, who is Love, suffered for our sakes--suffered because He loves us, suffered so that we may be holy and pure and one with Him. 

So we take Him as the Example in our relationships, as the way to know what real love is and how to practice it. 



There are no gimmicks when it comes to real love. Not even spiritual ones. We love well when we serve. We love well when we suffer. We love well when we abide in the vine. We love well when we die to ourselves and live to God. 

This is what brings breath and life and passion and grace into our marriages, into our relationships. Oneness with Christ and the joy that only self-giving brings. Death that brings life. 

And so I head into this series on marriage and relationships with a bit of trepidation. Because I know that I have not arrived. But by God's grace, I am arriving. And so I write. 



~Part One Next Week~

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23 comments:

  1. So true! Humility and mutual submission are no gimmick, but they are the key to a lifetime of love! Thanks for your always faith-filled words here in this place.

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  2. "Real love, real romance begins with humility. It begins with losing ourselves and putting on Christ."
    Yes!
    There would be a lot less failed marriages if this was taught.
    Its a daily process of humility and investing in our Christ relationship first.
    My marriage got better when I began taking time to grow in Christ. I didn't seem as defensive, and I could overlook things so much more.
    #InspireMeMonday neighbor,
    Julie

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  3. What a lovely post! Thanks for sharing!

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  4. Great thoughts. Easier said than done for sure. But with God's help we can.

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  5. Ah, writing to understand myself and how I react to life's lessons is something I definintely understand! May God be with you on your journey of discovery!

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  6. We have not arrived, but we are arriving - love that! Marriage is such a humbling experience and it is truly a daily give and take. Dying to self - laying down our rights - is never easy, but there is no relationship more worth that sacrifice. I don't always get it right, but I don't ever stop trying. Great encouragement here. So glad to be your neighbor at #testimonytuesday today. I'm relaunching my blog today - you're welcome and invited to join the celebration!

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  7. Rebekah, I love your post. As a happily remarried woman I can read this article with new eyes on how marriage works when you have two partners willing to love well, love like Christ. Great Inspiring Post! I was your #RaRaLinkup neighbor today :)

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  8. You write, "there is no easy way for true romantic love to flourish except through sacrifice" - marriage is part of God's opposite day way of living in a God-opposite world. The more each sacrifices and submits in love to the other, the more that marriage flourishes, strengthens, grows and endures. Such good thoughts in your post!

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  9. Beautifully stated, Rebekah. Even I, the most romance-deficient of men, can appreciate this!

    http://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/10/your-dying-spouse-215-caregivers-bill_4.html

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  10. Amen. Thanks for examining this point as you enter this series. So often all we hear about healthy marriage is conflict resolution, not heart resolution. Many issues we face in marriage are because of unresolved heart issues, though- like pride and self-serving love. Humility and spouse-serving love are totally different- thank the Lord we are "arriving" as you put it, by His guidance!

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  11. Amen to this. Dying to self is a daily process that helps us love others well.

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  12. How much am *I* willing to suffer for those I love? You’re right that it definitely begins with humility. It’s a scary thing to ask for more humility, but it’s the best thing. Thanks for this, Rebekah.

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  13. Such great reminders about such a special, beautiful relationship. Finding ways to encourage one another in our marriages is so important!

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  14. Bekki, I am very much looking forward to your series on marriage.

    The Lord is already ministering to me in this area. I am reading an excellent book on marriage right now written by a Christian woman. The thoughts you convey here in your introduction tie in with the book I am reading. It's all about sacrificial love.

    There are so many things I could highlight in your blog post here, but the insight that sums up best for me is, "Because Christ suffered for us--God Himself, who is Love, suffered for our sakes--suffered because He loves us, suffered so that we may be holy and pure and one with Him.

    So we take Him as the Example in our relationships, as the way to know what real love is and how to practice it."

    Thank you Bekki for your humility and obedience for sharing this marriage series. I know it will bless us all.

    :-)

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  15. Beautiful reminder! Thank you for this.

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  16. Rebekah ... this is amazing! Love this: "Real love, real romance begins with humility. It begins with losing ourselves and putting on Christ." ... and that entire paragraph! Beautiful, yet convicting.

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  17. All of this is gorgeous and inspiring and true. I am sharing today. +
    Prayers & Blessings ~
    Neighbor @ #GraceAndTruth

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  18. Yes, real love and romance begins with humility! Marriage takes a great willingness to suffer, but the beauty created in the process is extraordinary! I love this series, and can't wait for more.

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  19. Lovely and gently convicting, Rebekah. Thanks so much for sharing this with our readers at Coffee and Conversation. We'll be featuring this at tomorrow's party!

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  20. Thanks for sharing these deep thoughts at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com! I feel I will learn much and benefit greatly from this series.
    Tina

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  21. Rebekah, Your points about humility are so true. It’s been on of my biggest struggles in marriage because I’m so naturally inclined to be defensive. Truly something to work out in our daily walk with Jesus.

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