Even if you are in a bad marriage, I have often said that there is never a completely one-sided divorce. Even if one party contributed 99% of the conflict, the other spouse hasn’t been perfect.
While I have counseled that logic for years, I have changed my mind recently regarding that claim. After years of teaching, writing, and counseling, I did discover a dysfunctional marriage that was ultimately one party’s fault. I found one marriage that should have never worked.
- In this particular case, the wife had been adulterous, disrespectful, ungrateful, accusatory and unwilling to provide anything for the husband.
- On the other hand, the husband had been nothing less than sacrificial, patient, forgiving, and willing to do not only his part but even her part to make the marriage work.
- Every time she numerously betrayed the marriage vows, he sought her out time and time again.
- Her mistakes cost him more than they cost her.
- And yet, he pursued her passionately.
I had never seen anything like it.
Do I sound like I am making this marriage up? I have good news to share with you – this marriage is the most real thing in the world.
It is the love Jesus has for his bride – the people of God.
Scripture illustrates that the Church is the beloved Bride of Christ (Rev. 21:2, 9; Isa. 54:5; John 3:29). A wedding will soon take place, and somehow this perfect groom will follow through and make it all the way down to the altar to marry the most unfaithful of brides who will somehow be clothed in radiant white (Rev. 19:7-9).
How could such an unfaithful bride be arrayed in such purity? It can’t be because she brought those clothes herself. The Bride of Christ is made up of wretched sinners like me (Rom. 7:24)!
Here’s how this good news plays out for us.
The Gospel Truth Regarding Your Marriage
We were created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27) and were meant to bring him glory (Col. 1:16). We rebelled against him repeatedly (Rom. 3:23) causing our sins to separate us from him (Isa. 59:2). God demonstrated his love for us in that while we were still sinners, he sent Jesus to die for us (Rom. 5:8). After our consistent inconsistency, Christ went to the cross with joy (Heb. 12:2) because of his great love (Eph. 2:4), and he is eagerly anticipating his wedding day with a bride dressed in a white gown which he purchased with his red blood.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom. 3:23-24).
Sin distorted the first marriage. Adam and Eve sinfully chose their way, and the rebellion’s consequences devastated every marriage after that. But Scripture teaches that there is still a wedding day yet to come.
While sin marred the first marriage, grace will transform the last one.
The only way for your marriage to work is if Jesus’ love is the standard and the source. The only chance we can even comprehend or offer love is because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). Our marriages are intended to reflect this type of unending commitment to one another (Eph. 5:25-27).
While sin separates you from God and your spouse, the gospel can reconcile you to both.
If he removed my spouse’s transgressions as far as the east is from the west, they must be removed from my map as well. Your marriage needs the grace of Jesus. Good thing he is ready to offer it.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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