The following is an excerpt from a fine book by Gary Thomas entitled Devotions for a Sacred Marriage. Thomas appeals to all of us who are Christ-followers to get to the heart of what makes a marriage tick instead of just trying to fix symptoms of our marriages.
How often we do the same thing with marriage! We focus on the symptoms:
- "We need to improve our communication."
- "We need to get better at handling conflict."
- "We need to show more appreciation for each other."
- "We need to have a more unified plan with the children."
- "We need to work harder at keeping the romance alive in our relationship."
We can spend a lifetime focusing on the symptoms, or we can replace the BCM — the basic control module. I believe the BCM for marriage is our spiritual motivation.
It all comes down to this: Are you a God-centered spouse or a spouse-centered spouse? A spouse-centered spouse acts nicely toward her husband when he acts nicely toward her. She is accommodating, as long as her husband pays her attention. A spouse-centered husband will go out of his way for his wife, as long as she remains agreeable and affectionate. He’ll romance her, as long as he feels rewarded for doing so.
But Paul tells us we are to perfect holiness out of reverence for God. Since God is always worthy to be revered, we are always called to holiness; we are always called to love. A God-centered spouse feels more motivated by his or her commitment to God than by whatever response a spouse may give.
Spouse-centered Christians try to make excuses to stop loving their spouses because of their spouses’ sins. But if this were a valid excuse, every one of us could avoid the call to love since every one of us married a sinner!
(Gary L. Thomas, Devotions For a Sacred Marriage, pp. 11-12)