Marriage likely begins as a selfish venture,
but can only continue as a selfless expression.
Do you remember how it felt to be on that first date with the person who would eventually be your spouse? I do...I'll never forget! And from that point, every time I would think about him, hear his voice on the phone, see him coming toward me after a long commute,smell the scent of his cologne, or feel his hand clasped in mine, well, there it was again! It was the amazing sensation of young love (or complete infatuation...however you define).
God designed us with emotional, physical, and spiritual needs that draw us to one another. And I don't necessarily think we come into love because we have this enormous innate desire to meet the needs of another person. We are attracted because of how that person makes us feel and how he/she meets those specific needs in our life.
As a marriage develops and strengthens, it's hard to decipher where the change occurs. But it does. And in a good marriage, a spouse finds himself/herself focusing less on their own feelings, comforts, etc., and more on those of whom they have grown to deeply love.
The most beautiful marital picture is the one in which both spouses simultaneously grow in selflessness. Each spouse continues to have their needs met because each of them have made meeting the needs of the other a primary priority. It's a really great cycle that
When the relationship is lopsided (one spouse doing the giving, the other being more of a taker), someone ends up unfulfilled. The marriage may or may not last, depending on how long the giver can keep giving without much reciprocation.
Then we've all seen marriages where each spouse is wrapped up in their own selfish interest, and there are a couple of good years, followed by a couple of bad years, and then typically before year 7, the big explosion occurs. How incredibly sad that is, but scary enough, it doesn't take too much to divide us once we begin to focus on ourselves rather than our spouse.
God's comparison of marriage to His relationship with the church is an interesting parallel. It is so drastically different than the majority of the marriages we see in our culture, and it's no wonder many of them end the way that they do. Whether we've been married 5,15, or 50 years, our marriage is only as strong as our relationship with God and our selfless and complete commitment to one another.
Hope your Sunday was blessed! :-)