Marriage in the Lord
Letter by J. B. Stoney
Shall I give you my idea of true married life in the Lord?
It surpasses everything human in grace, as it did in nature before the fall.
The trials are peculiar, but they are the trials of humanity; but then the
married have this advantage, if they really reciprocate their feelings before
the Lord, that as they are together in the trial, they are together in His
deliverance and help. A trial becomes secondary if you have such sympathy in it
as will feed the heart with affection, while the Lords deliverance from
the trial will be enjoyed together. I admit that in married life you will meet
with more trials, because you are more in the casualties of humanity; but when
marriage is in the Lord - if you meet the trials as Christians united together
in communion with His mind - I believe the trials will afford fresh occasions
for binding you together, as well as for establishing you together in the sense
of His mercy and love and discipline. What can be so grateful as to know the
depth and power of a heart that loves you? Where can you know it better, or
better prove your own love or anothers, than in passing through trials
and difficulties together? Love does not like to see me in sorrow, but in
sorrow it summons all its resources, and proves its strength, until I am
relieved. I believe all this is within the compass of married life if only both
seek the Lord together, and have communion and interchange of spiritual
Seek communion with one another, your very failures will then, like Samsons lion, be yielding honey; you will find what is of Christ in one another in spite of the failures, for nothing gives us such a sense that another is having to do with God as the simple confession of faults, and this sense will invigorate and give deep reality to your mutual affection. The one who knows me best, and who seeks out of real affection to correct my nature, gains a place in my heart, in my divine nature, that no flatterer could in any degree attain to. Be as two souls unreserved before God as to all that His Spirit is doing with you. Every confession you make to Him, every praise you render to Him, shrink not from communicating it to one another. If either of you feel that you cannot do this, the greatest bond between you, and the spring of it, is gone! You may retain a unity derived from identity of interests, but it is not one established and confirmed by union in the Spirit. If two Christians are by marriage closer in earthly things and not closer in spiritual things, they are like Nazarites who have lost their hair!
My one word to you both is, cultivate spiritual intimacy, do not be satisfied with as much Christianity as will ease your consciences; seek to respect and to wait for one anothers judgement and feeling as to things before the Lord; in a word, seek to maintain communion whether it be in humiliation or in praise. Believe me, if you cannot tell one another of your humblings, you will never celebrate together your thanksgivings. What delight it will be to my heart to see you both in fervent love, honestly confiding in one another before the Lord, learning the grace of the Lord in your mutual trials, and deepening in affection as you draw on that grace for one another.
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