Intimate Allies, written by Dan B. Allender and Tremper Longman II, is the BEST book on marriage I have ever read. It was published in 1995 before we got married. A marriage covenant between a man and a woman, made in the presence of God, is meant to reflect the perfect relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As His image bearers a marriage should also reflect the covenant between God and His creation. Marriage involves ‘leaving, weaving and cleaving’. I love that statement.
In recent sermons we learned that selfishness and a fear of death are the two biggest issues in our lives. We are called to love one another, be kind, faithful, forgiving, righteous, holy, in short, the opposite of selfish. Dealing with our selfishness is the evidence that we have been reconciled to God. Dealing with our selfishness is evidence that we are committed in our marriage too.
It wasn’t always the case in our marriage. Both of us were headstrong, rebellious and selfish at age nineteen and twenty. Yes, Christ was a part of our marriage and prayer was important but it was a work in progress. This past year, from July 2013 to July 2014, we had five family weddings and although I planned to give that book as a wedding gift to each couple, I only got my act together once. I’m sorry about that,
The main idea of the book is that, united together as one, we reflect the glory and diversity of God. Marriage is not about you (single). It is about putting your spouse first, loving, respecting and encouraging them to be everything God intended for them. Intimate Allies is a book that helps couples work through that process.
Years ago, as we were being interviewed for a pastoral position, my husband was asked, “What would you do if your wife’s ministry became greater than your own?” Bless his heart, he replied that it would be fine with him. Not to worry, that never happened. But in some cases it does. If the wife does have the stronger ministry it is the husbands job to love, encourage her to be all that God wants her to be and protect her. A wife’s job is also to love her husband, respect him and encourage him to be all that God wants him to be, NOT making him into what she wants him to be.
It is probably safe to say that if there is trouble in a marriage it is because one or both parties have not dealt with their selfishness. In that light we can understand how the solution to problems in a marriage is to deal with our own selfishness. Sounds a little too simple? It’s not but Jesus offers us His resurrection power to overcome death AND selfishness.
Jesus spurned selfishness and embraced death. If we are His image bearers we have a lot to live up to.