Monday, February 14, 2000

Mark 10:7-9 – For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate. (NIV)

As a newlywed, God is continually redefining my ideas of what marriage is in His economy.

Having been married before, but without verification in Christ, I had relied on my husband for my identity. In him was my value. My sense of worth was gauged by his responses. Time spent together was equated with love by which I measured my self-worth. If he made plans or decisions without considering me, which was often the case, I felt there must be something wrong with me — something unattractive, something undesirable. If he was upset by something I said or did, I became a total failure in my own eyes — unlovable, worthless.

Now it is seven years later, and a new relationship is in front of me. Nothing of the past will work in this marriage. God is doing a new thing. However, I find myself at times relating to a situation in the "old" way. Such was last evening, when a disagreement with my new husband left me with a very troubled and hurting heart.

"Lord, I know you placed me in this marriage, but right now I do not feel thankful… I don't know how to be a 'couple' in your economy. The understanding I have of who I am supposed to be in this marriage doesn't work. I need you to show me your definition of who I am to be and how I fit." With that I went to sleep, and in that sleep, the Lord gave me a vision.

In my mind's eye, I saw a train. There was no engine or caboose, just a single boxcar — the kind with big doors on the side, like the hobos would ride in — and I saw myself sitting inside this boxcar. The direction of my life, my "identity", was completely defined by the train car's comings and goings.

Then came another vision.

This time, there were two boxcars sitting on a track: two separate cars, one behind the other. Each had its own identity, its own exclusiveness, its own design. The cars did not touch each other, but rather were connected by a "coupling."

I looked up the word coupling in the dictionary. Webster's defines it as "act of bringing together; a device that serves to couple or connect the ends of adjacent parts or objects."

Therein lies the strength and the unity. Jesus Christ is the almighty "coupler". He is the strength in a godly relationship. He has made us to be individuals. He has made us to think differently, to see things from different perspectives. He has not created one to be "right" and one to be "wrong"; we are "different". The right and wrong of life is set forth in His Word. That is the only absolute truth.

Ephesians 5:21-33 speaks very specifically of our position in marriage according to God's will. We are "coupled" to our spouses through Christ Jesus. As we are "washed in the Word," we are cleansed of "self". As we are cleansed of "self", we become open and available to be used by Christ as vessels through which He can show his love to our spouse.

Our identity comes from Jesus. His death on the cross gives us our value, our worth in God's economy. There is no other who loves us so completely, so unconditionally. And there never can be. It is part of His divine design.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you have given us our identity in Christ. Thank you that we may realize a marriage relationship in your economy. Thank you that we do not have to carry the burden of fulfilling one another's desires and destiny. We have only to wash in your Word and allow you to cleanse us of ourselves, that your love would flow through us to our spouses and to all whom you put in our paths. Amen.

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Joann Tompkins-Winborn <>
Pompano Beach, Florida, USA

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