By Elisha Galotti
There are days in marriage when love flows gracefully and when, if you could peek through a window into our home, you would see a husband and wife talking and laughing with joy and affection. These are the marriage-days when loving one another comes almost naturally.
Then there are other days when kindness feels counter-intuitive and the love-one-another part feels almost impossible. These are the days when, if you could peek inside, you would see a wife half-heartedly seeking the humility to go to her husband and repent of angry, unkind words, or some other ugly variety of selfishness.
Our spoken marriage vows were solemn words of love, commitment, and selfless devotion. But we are sinners who, even on our best days, fail to perfectly love one another as we ought.
We’ve all heard it said that marriage exposes our own sin and selfishness, and that the marriage relationship sanctifies us with an intensity that can be, at times, quite uncomfortable. The hope—the amazing grace-filled hope!—is that marriage is not merely a relationship of two sinners trying to make things work. No, in each Christian marriage there are three: two sinners and one sinless. Even as we so often fail and fall short of the mark, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, is at work helping us, comforting us, advocating for us and encouraging us along in this journey of marriage.
We believe in the power of the Holy Spirit—the power that brought about resurrection life, softened hearts of stone, and gave eyes of faith when we were blinded by sin. Yet sometimes in marriage, in the dismal moments of anger, hostility, or painful hurt, we forget that we’re not doing this alone. Sometimes in our sin and failures, we forget that the power and help of the Holy Spirit is ever present, ever helping, ever convicting, guiding, prompting and empowering us to do what is right.
The Holy Spirit is at work in us as individuals and the Holy Spirit is at work in our marriages. What hope!
We do not lose heart when we consider the certainty that, as two married sinners, there will be more sin. We do not lose heart because within us the Holy Spirit is prompting change and bringing about growth in grace. There may be certainty in future sin, but there is also certainty in future growth. When the Holy Spirit prompts repentance, we should go and repent. When the Holy Spirit prompts forgiveness, we should soften and forgive. How sweet it is when a husband and wife are dwelling together in the Spirit-prompted unity that comes from repentance and forgiveness.
Let us be quick to repent; let us be quick to forgive; let us be quick to see that such repentance and forgiveness is a gracious and beautiful evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in our marriage.
Elisha Galotti is a pastor’s wife and mother to three children, ages 5, 3 and 1. Though her B.A. is in Communications, she worked as a ballet teacher before staying home with her little ones. Elisha and her husband, Justin, live in Toronto, Canada. She blogs regularly about faith and family at thegalottis.com and you can find her on Twitter @elishagalotti
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