DOZ Issue 28 February 2018 - Page 15

to be kept fresh and alive. And that takes work. A never-ending work. Look around. Notice the happy, deeply contented couples who have been married for many, many years. Look hard; there is less and less of them that is for sure. However, those who have remained together in love are those who have discovered the secret of courtship. It is more than wooing. More than dates and giving gifts; though that is a part. It goes far deeper. Courtship is about serving one another in love. Considering the other before considering oneself. Didn’t Paul say something just like that in Galatians 5: 13? Our marriage is summed up in the exhortation to love each other as we would love ourselves. When this happens, we stop becoming critical of each other, ceasing to see the other person’s faults. Instead, we remain united by focussing not on our partner’s shortcomings and weaknesses, but their strengths and attributes. We will offer ourselves unreservedly, desiring to do what is best for them, because in love, we want to bless them. Freely we have received love, and in mutuality, we offer the same. I wonder if you dear reader are married, yet the days of courtship have ended? The romance of wooing is just a reminiscent thought relegated to pre-marital days. Perhaps, in fact, you and your partner have ceased to serve one another in love? When we lose the desire to love another as we love ourselves, the stones of criticism and carelessness creep into what was once rich, fertile soil that had the potential to create a Christ-honouring marriage. To begin to recreate a loving marriage, where courtship is never-ending, we must turn to the author of love Himself. Him whose love never ends. To rebuild what has been lost will take time and it will be hard work. But it can be done together with Christ. His is a love that knows no bounds, nor barriers. All things are possible in our marriage as we turn to the One who designed and drew us together into our marriage. Begin today where you are. Offer Christ whatever you have, whatever your marriage may look like. Ask for a heart to love and serve and the ways to practically do that. His Spirit will guide you. The God who made the world and all that is in it from nothing is on your side and stands committed to your marriage for all time. Jennifer lives on the Darling Downs, Queensland, Australia with her family. She enjoys encouraging others on their Christian journey through mentoring and writing. DOZ Magazine February 2018 15 «