Souls knit together: one wife’s thoughts on love in marriage

Marriage is the most intimate of relationships on earth. It is the sacred place in which two people are united before God, joined together as one. Spouses should share deep affection, lasting love, and fulfilling physical intimacy – married people can be the best of friends, the most devoted servants and the most passionate lovers. In our society, marriage is undermined at every turn and the sacred bond ignored by whims of man. Sadly, even in godly homes, many fail to teach their children about the beauty of marriage — in word and by example!

God’s word describes the strength of the friendship between Jonathan and David this way, “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”(I Samuel 18:1). This is a beautiful example of love between friends — but I also believe it is a wonderful example of how spouses should love one another. I often use the term ‘soul mates’ to describe myself and my beloved. I personally feel that this term illustrates our relationship quite well. Some see the term differently and avoid it. Here’s why I use it. Consider these two definitions of the word soul mate: 1.) two persons compatible with each other in disposition, point of view, or sensitivity. (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2009) 2.) a person for whom one has a deep affinity, esp a lover, wife, husband, etc. (Collins English Dictionary, 2003).

When I say ‘soul mate’ I am not referring to the idea in Plato’s Symposium … the idea that we are two parts that were separated by the Greek god, Zeus, and are somehow cursed to search for our other half. I am speaking of two hearts united by love, by vows to the one true God, and joined together by Him. This is how our souls are knit together. Love and devotion to one another (and most importantly to God) should encourage spouses to dwell together in unity. Good marriages are made up of many different personalities. No two marriages are exactly alike. No matter how deeply kindred, no two people are exactly alike. The strength of my husband compliments my weakness and my strength compliments his weakness. We are compatible because we have learned to work together. We share a deep affinity because we love one another deeply, but mostly because we love God and believe in His gift of married love.

In Matthew 19, verse 6 Jesus Christ of Nazareth speaks of the relationship between husbands and wives, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,  And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?  Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

When my husband and I committed to one another we believed the words of Jesus wholeheartedly. We entered into a union in which we would cleave together and we would be joined together by God — as one flesh! This meant, for us, that our relationship would be the most important relationship on earth. Of course, we would both put God first — building our foundation on Him. But our earthly tie would be the strongest, the deepest, and the most significant. We knew that our relationship would take priority over the precious relationships we had built with parents, siblings, even (later) our very own flesh and blood mingled together in the form of children. When our first child was born, I was faced with such strong emotions that I felt overwhelmed. Would I still be able to hold to my vow to love my husband most? Of course, love multiplies and as each child entered our family my love grew — for my husband and our children…one thing we never lacked was love! I realized that as much as I love our children, that my bond with my beloved was unique. We were one. I knew that our children would mostly likely grow up and get married – leaving and cleaving just as we had done. And, no matter how strongly I felt toward our children – and I love them with every ounce of my being – I knew that my husband would always have my first love and devotion.

In the second chapter of Genesis, this truth is clearly stated: “And Jehovah God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.” When I consider my behaviour toward my husband, I always want to remember that I am this help meet that God created for him. I want to ask myself if my words and my actions reflect my role as a helper to him. When I was a selfish young woman, even with a heart full of love for my husband, this was a difficult concept to grasp! I feel strongly about things and I like to march to the beat of my own drum! As our early years went along, I found that the more I tried to do things my way, the less I behaved like a helper to my husband. I learned that I could still feel strongly about things, but that I needed to get my rhythm in step with the beat of his drum! I learned that I could always share my thoughts and feelings, but that I needed to also listen to his — and — even that I might need to consider that his way might not be the right way in my mind, but it was the right way for us because it was the unified way. As the years past, I learned that my support and encouragement, even when it meant putting my trust in him when I still had doubts, was the act of faith that he needed to feel my love and respect.

Consider Paul’s inspired words to spouses written in Ephesians 5:22-33:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Husbands and wives are given distinct commands on how to treat one another. I know from Titus 2:4-5 that wives must learn to love their husbands, That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. One way I show my husband how much I love him is to submit to him as the leader of our home. Even the best friend and lover would fall short if she did not submit to her husband. This submission shows my husband that I respect him, that I trust him and that I honor him as a blessing from God.

Though I am specifically speaking from a wife’s perspective, God's word speaks to husbands and wives! The idea of a husband and wife as one flesh is presented again in Ephesians. My husband is commanded to love me as he loves himself…as he loves his own body! When my husband shows me this kind of love it is much easier for me to treat him as I should. When I offer him my love and submission it is much easier for him to love me as he ought. When one spouse is lacking the other must never use that as an excuse to love less or serve less. Jesus teaches us that we must not only love those who love us — consider his admonition in Matthew 5:46: For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?

With whatever materials you are given, build your house! Every wise woman builds her house: but the foolish plucks it down with her hands (Proverbs 14:1). If you do not have a deep affinity with your spouse, if you believe you are not compatible, if you feel unloved or underappreciated — don’t give up or give in in to worldly thinking about marriage. You will not build a beautiful marriage by loving less, serving less or giving less. If you want to make your marriage beautiful, no matter your circumstances, build anyway with God as your foundation. Read everything in God’s word about love. Love the way you want to be loved. Love more. Serve more. Give more of yourself. Your service and devotion to your husband is really service and devotion to your God! 

Consider these words written outside an orphanage in Calcutta, India. They are applicable to a variety of relationships — including marriage!

Do it Anyway
from a plaque on the wall of Mother Teresa’s Orphanage in Calcutta, India

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight. Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.

Category: Musings
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