Would it surprise you if I suggested that one of the greatest risks to your marriage is loving your spouse too much?
It's true – but with a twist.
Many of us will be attending weddings in the coming months. They're beautiful affairs where we witness two individuals pledging their love and fidelity to each other. The happy couple leaves the ceremony and reception awash in advice and wise counsel, all centered on the challenge of fulfilling the marriage vows. They're rightly enamored with each other and want to do everything they can to please their new spouse.
This is good, of course, but it can also be a problem if it's taken to the extreme.
If we spend all of our time focusing our attention on our spouse, of pouring all of our energy into mastering their moods, their likes and dislikes, there's a good chance we're not spending enough time developing our relationship with God. And if our relationship with the Lord is deficient, there is no way our marriage can be all that God has designed it to be.
Jesus put it very succinctly in the gospel of Matthew: "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (6:33).
Before reaching for that next book on marriage, consider digging into your relationship with Jesus. The very best thing you can do for your spouse is to fall deeper in love with the Lord.
C.S. Lewis once pondered this very question, of whether it's possible to love another in excess. His conclusion was brilliant and instructive:
We may love another person too much in proportion to our love for God. But it is the smallness of our love for God, not the greatness of our love for the man, that constitutes the inordinacy.
In other words, it's not about loving your spouse less, but simply loving your Lord more.
If you're married or widowed, how have you seen this dynamic at play in your own life? How have you managed to make certain that the Lord comes first?