“But married people can live together and create a sense of family because they love one another. It’s different for us,” I can hear some unmarrieds exclaim. Yet the media testify to millions of unhappy marriages and prove often enough that a legal marriage ceremony seems almost a guarantee that love will flee. We all need to comprehend that love doesn’t just happen, it is made. When we work at it, then it grows; but it never flourishes in neglect.
David and I have both heard each other declare adamantly that if anything happened to the other we would never marry again, and surrounded by cloudy foresight, we both agree. This declaration is made despite the fact that our marriage has been uncommonly happy and definitely fulfilling. Yet the effort required to make it so has been so incredible we both doubt whether we could justify the time taken from Kingdom work that would be necessary to render another marriage as satisfying.
The Apostle Paul had valid reasons for recommending singleness. Good communication involves hours of work. Understanding is an art which must be fostered. Real empathy takes years to develop. And, love does not spontaneously sustain itself over the living together of days, but must be gardened—hoed, weeded and watered.
I can remember as a young bride those moments of terror when I realized I felt no love in my heart for my husband. It became very real to me at those times how easily love flees. I learned early in marriage that the human heart is a vessel not large enough to sustain love. Kneeling is the proper position for discovering love again. How often I came to my Heavenly Father and pleaded, “Lord, I just don’t feel any love for David. Fill me, please, with your supernatural grace for Him.”
There I found the source that is beyond all human effort, the everlasting, long-suffering love of God. As Psalm 136:1 states in The Living Bible paraphrase:
“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his loving kindness continues forever”
Continually, He filled the cup of my young soul. Into this endless well I have learned to dip my bucket, and in the refreshment of its long draughts breathe then a loving atmosphere into our home. As my husband does the same, we are able to establish the miracle of family.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen Mains serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.