By Christina Fox
My kids recently came across our wedding video. Yes, you read that right, video. In fact, I had to explain to them what a VHS is. We then dug out our old VCR and showed them our wedding ceremony. As I watched my barely-adult-self stand before friends and family and commit the rest of my life to my husband, I heard the sounds of singing as the audience stood and sang the old hymn “Be Thou My Vision.”
Nowadays, weddings are so short, hymns or songs are rarely included in a wedding ceremony anymore. But for us, this hymn is one that defines and explains how our marriage has stood the test of time all these years later: Christ as our vision. “Be Thou My Vision” is a beautiful hymn, describing Christ as our everything, our complete delight, our treasure and our very heart. What does this have to do with marriage and why did we sing it at our wedding? Because when Christ is first and foremost in our vision and heart, we can see our marriage and our spouse through the eyes of grace.
Too often in marriage, Christ is not our vision. Instead, we are distracted by the clothes our husband drops on the floor, his habits we find irritating, and the ways he doesn’t meet our perceived needs. Our conversations are filled with pointed fingers, hurtful words, and broken fellowship. Instead of relying on Christ and finding our complete satisfaction in him, we look for our marriage to fulfill us and when it doesn’t, we blame our spouse and are left feeling empty, hurt, and rejected.
The times in my marriage where this hymn has rung true, are also the times in my marriage when our relationship was in tune and we were in harmony with each other. When Christ is my vision, I can respond to my husband with the same grace Christ has for me. When Christ is first in my heart, I can love my husband the way Christ loves me. When Christ is my shelter, I have nothing to fear about my marriage. When he is my wisdom, I can trust him to help me navigate the mysterious waters of the marriage relationship. When he is my treasure, I can serve and sacrifice for my husband without fear of losing anything I hold dear.
Like Peter walking on the water to meet Jesus, when our eyes our fixed on Christ, we stand steady in the sometimes rocky waves of marriage life. But when we turn our eyes away and instead look at our spouse’s broken promises or tiresome habits, we begin to flail. If we look at our own selfish desires, wants, and plans instead of on Christ, then we start to sink.
“Be Thou My Vision” is a reminder that our gaze belongs on Christ and only Christ. For only Christ can perfectly fill all our longings. Only Christ can meet our deepest needs. And when we seek Christ first in our heart, we can love our spouse selflessly. Because Christ meets all the needs of our heart, our spouse can let us down and we can respond in forgiveness and grace. As our heart is filled full with love for Christ, it overflows in our marriage relationship.
When those times come that we do shift our gaze away from Christ and instead focus on our circumstances, we only need to call out for help. Christ stands there ready to redeem and restore. He will pick us up and help us to walk on dry ground again. If you have reached rocky waves in your marriage, call out to Christ. Fix your eyes back on him. For he alone is your heart’s shelter and delight.
“Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart; Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art Thou my best Thought, by day or by night, Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word; I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord; Thou my great Father, I Thy true son; Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight; Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight; Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower: Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise, Thou mine Inheritance, now and always: Thou and Thou only, first in my heart, High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won, May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun! Heart of my own heart, whatever befall, Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.”
Christina Fox (@toshowthemjesus) has her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology and is licensed in mental health counseling. She is a writer, blogger, and regular contributor to ministry publications and websites such as Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition. She spends her days homeschooling her two boys and in her free time enjoys reading, writing, and antiquing. Christina and her husband of seventeen years reside in sunny South Florida. You can find her sharing her faith journey at www.toshowthemjesus.com and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/
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