You Before Me: Who Is Your First Love?

 

Craig Gurr - Family Pastor

The Misconception

Today we live in a society that tells us that you need to love your spouse first and love yourself second. This is honestly pretty good advice but it is missing the key ingredient… Jesus Christ! You see, we all remember what it feels like the first time we fell in love. The idea that someone actually has the same feelings for me as I do for them and it makes you so happy that you almost feel like you are floating.  

It is so easy to get swept up in these feelings and wonder, “How did I get so lucky?”. But then it happens. You realize your loved one doesn’t put the top back on the toothpaste or they don’t seem to have the ability to understand the complex art of how a hamper works. Or maybe they simply put on a few pounds, are always at work, always with the kids and have no time for you. Pretty soon you may even start to feel like you are falling out of love. You may even be jealous of the relationship you once had with your spouse.  And therein lies the problem. If you are spending your time and effort making sure to love your spouse first, you're setting your marriage up for failure.  

The Facts

As wonderful as you may have felt on your wedding day, your spouse was not your first love. Before your spouse chose you, you were fully chosen and fully loved by God, and that is a love that is never changing. It doesn’t matter if you look different, or load the dishwasher the wrong way, or even if you don’t pay enough attention to Him. God’s love never fails and He will never turn His back on you. He chose you before the foundations of the Earth in love (Eph. 1:4).

Contrary to what society will tell us, that we need to love our spouse first with a “You Before Me” kind of love, God tells us that He loved us first and therefore keep in perspective where your first love should be in return. Your spouse cannot and will not ever be able to fulfill all your needs as the number one priority in your life, so please stop asking them. By loving them first you are simply putting a weight on their shoulders that they can’t bear. A weight that they will surely crumble under and will leave them feeling buried and you feeling disappointed.  

The fact is that your marriage is not about you or your spouse, it is about Christ. And in a perfect marriage He wants all of us to forsake our own desires and live for Him. Not for ourselves and certainly not for our spouse. A true biblical marriage is when each spouse willingly submits themselves to Christ and runs after God’s purpose and not their own.  

The Result

When we live in a marriage that is glorifying to God first, then we can feel this weight lifted. You no longer feel like you need to be perfect and you no longer feel as if your spouse has to be perfect. What happens is that we are more willing to be happy and graceful because we understand that we married someone who is an imperfect sinner just like us. But just as Christ died for my sins, he did the same for my spouse, and I can love them knowing that they are not perfect and I shouldn’t expect them to be. When we accept that truth we realize that our spouse is not God and I am so thankful that they are not. Because even while they may be a wonderful partner in life, it is a weight that is entirely too much to carry.    

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In the above diagram we see how a marriage should function with both the arrows pointing directly to the Lord. In doing this, we also see that that the husband and wife get closer together as they continue to chase after God. Funny how that works isn’t it? As we chase after God it allows his plan for our marriage to take shape. 

We still need to love our spouse before ourselves and thus the little arrows on the bottom, but in order to truly experience joy in your marriage you must take the weight off each other and allow a Wonderful Perfect Savior to not only take the weight, but bless your marriage in the process.