One of the questions that always comes up when we discuss Christian marriage is “what if I’m the only one?” This question tends to have a variety of forms: What if I’m the only one willing to work on this marriage? What if I’m the only one who is a believer in Jesus? What if I’m the only one serving and the other person is just taking from me? What if they are not worthy of Christlike grace and love? What if they are mean and I’m the only one who is trying to be kind? While there are many different flavors and reasons for the main question, the answers may be similar. (The only exception being a seriously abusive situation where the person is not safe and if that’s the case, they need to get to a place of safety regardless.)
To answer the question(s) I offer two… 1. While temptation is strong to find another way, it’s always right to honor God and trust Him. That’s why I love how Paul writes in Ephesians 5:21 “submit to one another out of reverence FOR CHRIST”. Mutual submission is not because the other person is worthy of it but because I revere and honor Jesus! And here’s what happens when I do that — I place myself in the hands of God. And from talking with several people who have chosen this path, they’ve all said how their trust and dependence on God went through the roof. They learned more about Him and found His grace sufficient for all of life. Don’t fall for the lie, that in your situation, God wouldn’t expect you to follow His Word and trust His direction. The Bible was written for us, let’s follow it, ESPECIALLY when it we may think it may not make sense in our situation.
2. Assuming your goal is that the other person becomes connected spiritually with you, ask yourself, “what’s my best chance for that to happen?” Meaning, if you think of all the options before you, which one holds the best potential for the other person to change and come to and grow in Jesus? Is it nagging? Mocking? fighting? shutting down? repaying? I would propose to you the thing that holds the best potential (not guarantee) is to honor God by serving the other person. Serving as we defined in the sermon has to do with promoting God’s best in the other person which means it includes confronting at times, comforting at times, and calling them out at times. Serving does NOT mean becoming a doormat or a slave. It’s all about doing what will love and promote God’s best in the other person’s life. While there is no guarantee that the other person will come to faith or value their faith–this does offer the best potential for it to happen.