It Is All About Me, After All
by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Romans 14:12 NLT : Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God.
Let us face it. Living up to the wedding vows you both took is not easy in this postmodern culture. The term postmodern involves a lot of things, but essentially it means there is no final source of absolute truth, and if there is a “creator,” he is not a personal God to whom we are accountable. In this kind of climate the idea of staying married as long as you both shall live has been twisted by a lot of people who cross their fingers at the wedding ceremony and think, well, maybe as long as we both shall love. After all, if there is no source of absolute truth to whom we must give account, who is to say how long we need to stay married, especially if love has “faded”?
Of course, Christians don’t think like this, especially Love & Respect couples, so there is no problem, right? I wish it were so, but the epidemic that motivated me to start Love and
Respect Ministries in 1999 is still raging in far too many marriages. Divorce rates, in the church and out, keep going through the roof for any number of reasons, but often because “we just aren’t happy together.” A 2010 report in the New York Times on research findings regarding happy marriages highlighted the following two questions that are supposed to help you assess how happy you are.
How much does your partner provide a source of exciting experiences?
How much has knowing your partner made you a better person?
Innocent enough questions? Hardly. They are perfect examples of postmodern thinking, which does not have to give an account to any kind of higher power or ultimate truth. The viewpoint behind questions like these does not ask, what’s in this marriage for my spouse? Instead, the question being asked today is, what’s in this marriage for me? Does my partner improve my life in every way by providing great conversation, wonderful companionship at Club Med, and, of course, exciting romance and sexual intimacy? Obviously, if any of these elements are average or less than average, then that must mean bits and maybe chunks of happiness are missing.
We like to think Love & Respect couples are practically immune to this worldly “what’s in this for me?” syndrome, but we all know better. We have been on the Crazy Cycle and know how easy it is to get on again. There has to be a different motivation for Christ followers, and it begins by getting the question totally straight: What’s in my marriage for Jesus? Yes, I should want to put my spouse ahead of myself, but doing that is really a by-product of my first responsibility—to please my Lord and Savior.
As she wraps up the session she teaches at our conference, Sarah (Eggerichs’ wife) throws the crowd a bit of a curve by saying, “It’s all about me…” And then she goes right on to explain: “It’s all about me doing what God is asking me to do in relationship to my spouse.” Sarah is helping everyone in the room think ahead to that day when, “Yes, each of us will have to give a personal account to God” (Romans 14:12 NLT). Each of us will “appear before the judgment seat of Christ” to receive what is due us (2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV).
Think of it this way. What will Jesus ask us as we stand before Him on that final day to give Him our “personal account”? He will not be asking, “What did your spouse do to make things more exciting for you?” He will be asking, “What was in your marriage for Me? Did you try to glorify Me as you did your best to unconditionally love or respect your spouse?”
The point is clear: marriage is all about you—it’s not about trying to get your spouse to please you, but about seeking to please your Savior and Lord. And as you please Him through
His grace, you will be pleased, forever and ever!
Prayer: Thank the Lord for His grace, which not only gives salvation, but also the strength to do good works, especially in marriage. Ask Him for the wisdom to understand fully what it means to say, “My marriage is all about me and how I can glorify my Lord.”
Action: For the next week or longer, put little notes up—on the mirror, cupboard door, or wherever you will see them often—saying, “It is all about me.” Talk together about the effect this reminder has on how you treat one another.
This excerpt from The Love & Respect Experience by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs was reprinted with permission from Thomas Nelson, Inc.