I’ve often heard this appraisal of a spouse in a difficult marriage: I don’t feel any affection; the chemistry just isn’t there. I’m in a loveless marriage. One of the first questions I ask is: “Are you interceding for your spouse asking God to see them in the same way that He does?” A loveless marriage is rescued from the inside out. It requires a shift in vision and a fresh resource of affection. Naturally, external perks are appreciated and welcomed. It’s nice to have secure and abundant finances, good health, unity in family relationships, and a fun, restful vacation at least once a year. When all is running smoothly, almost anyone can find a way to love their spouse.
Prayer Activates Affection
The most reliable aspect of my marriage is that my wife and I are “partners in the gospel.” We share a core value and priority which facilitates a renewal of love between us. First, we look to renew our love towards God and to soak in the affection He delights to pour out upon us. Secondly, we enlarge our reach to share that love with our family and friends. The retaining force by which we are able to hold someone in our hearts is the affection which Jesus feels for that person.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. Phil. 1:4-8
Partners in the Gospel
Over my forty eight years of walking with Christ, I am blessed by many who have been my “partners in the gospel” – those who held me in their hearts and encouraged me to run the race unto completion of the “good work.” Beloved, our hearts were meant to hold one another. What Paul felt for the Philippians, Epaphras felt for the Colossians.
Epaphras…a bondslave of Jesus Christ…always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God. “For I testify for him that he has a deep concern for you. Col. 4:12-13
Being yoked (a bond-slave) to Christ will result in your being yoked to others. Intercession (laboring in prayer) will be a natural outflow – a deep concern on their behalf for God’s will to be made manifest. We cannot carry the whole world on an intimate level, only those whom God assigns in a particular season.
Catch the Fire
The one person that transcends every season who must remain at the core of concern in our hearts, is our covenant partner, the one to whom we solemnly vowed. When it’s just you and Jesus, alone in prayer, can you grasp the fiery affection that Jesus feels towards your spouse? In the realm of your marriage, this is the fire of love from which all other fires catch their flame.