Marriage is a challenge. Two people need to become a united team. They need to learn to love each other when life is happy and difficult. After the first blush of infatuation wears off, we begin to notice our spouses’ weaknesses and faults. This is normal. At this stage of marriage, the couple needs to develop mature, godly love – agape love.
Consider how God loves us. Agape love always desires to help and to bless without considering self. All Christians are to develop agape love for our spouses, for mankind, and even for our enemies. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7 (ESV).
The Bible specifically addresses Christians who married before becoming believers. Paul wrote, “But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife…Each of you should continue to live in whatever situation the Lord has placed you, and remain as you were when God first called you. This is my rule for all the churches…Yes, each of you should remain as you were when God called you…Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you.” 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 (NLT)
We are not to divorce our spouses except on the scriptural grounds of adultery and fornication. Three times, Paul wrote to remain in the marriage as when God first called you.
This may be difficult; however, our goal as Christians is obedience to God’s word and the development of Christ-like characters. As Paul wrote, “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13.
If rightly exercised, marriage teaches us to love, to forgive, and to rely on Him for grace.