In the span of 13 days, 4 of my best friends are getting married. Needless to say, life has been hectic. My wife and I already live a busy life, but adding on all the fun responsibilities of wedding prep has added a whole other layer of crazy. During this frantic season, it’s easy to forget why we do it. This week, as we look at relationships, I want to dedicate this post to my 4 dear friends, who are making the decision to pursue one of the most difficult but fulfilling choices of their lives, and my amazing wife, who continually shows me the power and life found in a meaningful relationship.
Before I begin, I have to admit, I have struggled in finding my voice on this topic. So often, the Christian’s role in discussing relationships is simply to “win back lost ground,” but I’m a firm believer in the power of speaking life instead of declaring destruction. So, my prayer is that you find something in this post that edifies you and grows you towards the one true thing that speaks life into dying things, Jesus Christ.
Genesis 2 tells us, “it is not good for man to be alone.” In God’s good world, the first stimulus that produced anything other than goodness was loneliness. No matter the capacity, quality, or type, humanity was designed to desire and flourish through relationship; however, as history attests, strong desire turns to selfishness, which leads to sin and death. For many, their fulfillment comes from relationship. Whether it is due to feeling accepted, maintaining some sort of stability, or to just feel needed, pursuing relationships from a self-centered mindset simply produces failure. The book of Hosea, my favorite lesser-known example of God’s selfless-love (dare I say reckless?), shows how God’s pursuit of relationship is the converse of what our selfish desire produces.
Hosea begins with the story of his wife, Gomer, willingly leaving him to live in adultery. Despite her unfaithfulness, Hosea seeks her out to buy her back from her prostitution. Later in the book, this is shown to be a metaphor between God and His covenant partner, Israel. After delivering Israel into the Promised Land and giving them the Torah, teaching them to bless themselves and others, they blatantly and willingly cheat on Him with the pagan gods surrounding them. While there are consequences for their unfaithfulness, God’s covenant with the people, and mankind, is never broken but, instead, His ultimate love comes to fruition through the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Whenever I read Hosea, I always respond by saying, “I don’t think I could forgive my wife for doing such a thing,” and then, “I can’t believe God loves me that much,” which is the exact point. So often, we think that we can succeed and produce life wholly on our own; however, a reliance on God, His wisdom, and love is the only answer to our selfish desire. While we are often told to “put God first” in our relationship, we rarely do, but I assure you this is the key in a long lasting and fruitful relationship. Not only will He teach you how to love more intentionally and fully, truly pursuing God is, in itself, a selfless act. The greatest piece of relational advice I ever received came from the fruit of such a pursuit.
After years of figuring each other out, my wife had the epiphany “we are on the same team shooting for the same goal.” What’s the point in fighting if both parties are seeking a win for the same team? Share the ball, make right decisions, and trust one another. If my wife is much better at converting a score than I am, then I should be putting my time and energy into producing assists. This is selfless love. So often, we want to make the point and get on the highlight reel; however, a relationship is a team, and a good team highlights one another, not the individual. I personally hate sports analogies, but let’s drive it home. As you and your loved one make a great team, let God be your coach. Trust me, He’s the best one out there. As long as you act as a selfless team, listen to your coach, and seek to produce life in all that you do, your relationship will consistently make the highlight reel.