Marriage that lasts a lifetime must be built on a solid foundation
“Marriage that lasts a lifetime must be built on a solid foundation that will not rot, erode, or wear away over time. A successful, happy, and fruitful marital relationship must be founded on principles that are permanent, not temporary; forged from things that last, not fade away.
Physical attractiveness won’t do it. External beauty fades over time. Hair turns gray or white or falls out, skin wrinkles, muscles turn flabby, waistlines enlarge, teeth come out, eyesight dims, hearing diminishes. If you have built your marriage relationship on physical attraction, what will you do when the physical attributes “that initially drew you together disappear?
Sex won’t do it. Moods and attitudes change and evolve. With increasing age both the ability to perform sexually and the interest in sexual activity decline. In the meantime, an appetite that is 100 percent physical and chemical is insufficient by itself to nourish and sustain a relationship that is essentially spiritual in nature.
Finances won’t do it. Due to economic downturns, job loss, physical disability, long-term illness, or a host of other factors, financial status can change drastically very quickly. A marriage based solely or primarily on economic factors or earning potential is a recipe for failure.
Possessions won’t do it. As permanent and substantial as material things appear, they are only temporary and can fly away with the morning breeze. Just ask anyone who has suddenly lost everything in a disastrous fire or a hurricane. What’s more, centering our life or marriage around the “accumulation of possessions simply creates an insatiable hunger for more, a craving that can never be satisfied.
Upon what, then, can a married couple build a happy, secure, and lasting relationship? What foundation will stand the test of time as well as the storms of adversity? I hope I have made it clear throughout this book that the only sure foundation for a lifelong marriage is agape, the self-giving love that has its source and origin in God alone. Only that which derives from God Himself will last; everything else is transitory. Writing to the community of believers in Corinth, Paul had this to say about the lasting quality of agape:
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.…And now these “three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:8-10,13).
In the end, faith, hope, and love will remain. All of these have their origin in God, and love (agape) is the greatest of the three. This is so because faith and hope arise from God’s love and can exist only in the environment of His presence. Because God is eternal and agape is His very nature, His love can never fail. Prophecies, tongues, and knowledge—all the things that seem so permanent to us—will someday disappear. These things also have their origin in God, but they are by His design temporary in nature. When they have fulfilled their purpose, they will pass away. It is different with love. Agape is eternal; it will never pass away.
vision, purpose, destiny,