If the earliest moments of human history have taught us anything it is that developing and defending love and harmony in our relationships is not an simple task. Reading through the first four chapters of Genesis we find Adam blaming Eve for their sin, Cain killing Abel out of jealousy and Lamach both murdering and practicing polygamy. To say the least, none of these encounters did anything to advance the virtues of love and harmony in those relationships.
If these examples affirm anything, it is this–that in our earliest record of interactions with each other, humans appear to have a well developed disposition of self-advancement that ignores others needs at best and injures others at worst. Rarely do we see ourselves as possessing such self-centered qualities. And though we would imagine that Christian marriages are immune to this base expression of selfishness, honesty requires that we acknowledge that all of our marriages are occasionally marked by these destructive behaviors.
For example, haven’t we all made a request of a spouse imagining that our request would be met with a sense of obligation on their part? Or haven’t we all received a request from a spouse that led to our imagining that their request was open to negotiation, discussion or correction?
Dear ones, humans in general and spouses in particular are not our possessions. And they are not projects. They are in the strictest sense people who have been made in the image of God. As such, they possess intrinsic value that should engender our respect. And they possess a need for human help and kindness that should encourage our sacrificial service.
Perhaps following the example that Jesus left us would help us develop and defend love and harmony in our relationships. He said, ‘I did not come to be served, but to serve.’ Beloved let us then serve one another in love.