Do you have a vision for your marriage, one that’s greater than your relationship or the daily details of life? The Bible says,
The Scripture says, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18, kjv).”
Having a vision and a plan for a redemptive marriage can be one of the most inspiring, productive and motivating ways to view your life together. My husband, Dale, and I found this to be so true. Since we both come from failed marriages, we needed a vision greater than the idea of marriage and greater than our flawed selves. As we planned and prepared to remarry, that vision became the cornerstone of our marriage and held us strong through challenges, trials and more.
A redemptive marriage?
As your Redeemer, God can buy back your mistakes and deliver you from your broken dreams, your heartaches, your past and your sins, your fears and your pain. And he can restore your joy and hope, whether you’re in the midst of a marriage now or looking toward marriage or remarriage.
He knows that we make mistakes, and He forgives us so we can forgive ourselves and others. He can heal, deliver and transform you to healthy, holy individuals—if you allow Him to work in your life and in your marriage relationship. Knowing this sets you on a path of redemptive love, and it helped Dale and me to forgive ourselves, heal from our past and move forward together.
Bigger than both of you
A redemptive marriage is more powerful than either of you—or even both of you put together. It’s God’s plan to make you, as a couple, all He intends you to be. In an atmosphere of accountability, safety and grace, we can create a place where we leave our selfish tendencies behind and become more like Him. And we wanted to do just that!
Yet, though we may strive for this ideal, we won’t always love perfectly. Besides, redemption is a lifetime journey. Sometimes we will simply fall short. But as long as you’re pressing on to love as much as you are able, you are showing redeeming love. If you understand this, you’ll give each other space to make mistakes and then grace to move on.
Even if you’ve lost the permanence of your first marriage like Dale and me, God’s redemptive plan is available to you. God has promised us that He can make all things new; He’s given us a definition of love, a blueprint for covenant commitment and His grace-filled plan for marriage through His Word. But for all this to work, you have to rely on His wisdom, strength and guidance along the way.
Living it out
Marriage is for living out God’s redemptive plan and becoming more like Him everyday. It’s seeing your mate grow through the love, grace and forgiveness you freely give him or her, while that person also allows you to grow, even through your mistakes.
It’s about giving, helping, serving, trusting, forgiving, caring, learning and living through the ups and downs of life. It’s employing 1 Corinthians 13 and watching God work through that process.
Marriage is so much about working on our character, being the right person and changing as we grow and mature together. We are all works in progress, but as you strive to grow and become more like Christ, and your spouse works to become more Christ-like, too, your relationship will deepen and grow stronger.
Marriage can give you purpose, meaning, a redeeming love that knows no bounds and a commitment that brings security and happiness beyond your wildest dreams. It also helps shape you into the person of character that God intends you to be. In living out our commitment to love and serve one another unconditionally in marriage, we model the kind of redeeming love that can show the world, and our kids, a better way.
Your own marriage vision statement
What’s your vision for remarriage? Read Psalm 127:1, Proverb 24: 3-4, and Matthew 7:24-27. A vision is having common goals, which are bigger than your everyday circumstances and feelings. Create a plan together and be strategic about carrying it out. Be specific about your time frame and how you will achieve your goals. For example, what are your marriage goals? What about goals regarding your children? What about your individual life goals and dreams?
List five things you want to include in the vision for your marriage. Then share with each other what your vision for your marriage entails. What does it look like to you? How will you fulfill it? Each of your ideas may be different; that’s okay.
Now you’ll need to work together to find a united vision in the midst of those differences. If you can’t resolve your differences, be sure to consult someone who can help you work through your difficulties now.
As you develop and refine a clear vision for your marriage, the exciting vision of the marriage God has for you will be evident. Revisit your vision statement often. Establish one-, two-, and five-year goals as well as a lifetime vision.
Adapted from “The ReMarriage Adventure: Preparing for a Lifetime of Love & Happiness,” by Susan and Dale Mathis. Copyright © 2012, all rights reserved. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more on this book.