Every successful marriage
has had thousands of choices to come together again.
To be joined.
To come home to her every night,
and to say yes to his advances.
To try again, even if she gave you the cold shoulder.
It isn't the vows that bring the intimacy --
those only begin the marriage.
We speak words of love to one another,
but they must be said again.
And we must choose to yield ourselves to one another.
We long to commune, to lessen our loneliness, to be joined in community.
Paul advised that each man should have his own wife,
and each woman her own husband,
because of sexual immorality.
"Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her,
and likewise also the wife to her husband."
This is apostolic marriage counseling.
That we would have a spouse, and give ourselves to them.
"Do not deprive one another
except with consent for a time,
that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer;
and come together again
so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
So much about this passage is so practical.
Have sexual intercourse with your spouse.
This is one very specific way we can serve their spiritual needs.
The intercourse of marriage--
sexual, emotional, financial, spiritual--
is a mysterious display of Christ and the church.
That abiding in the vine that Jesus spoke of is a plant life display.
They are both about connection, unity, exchange--
intercourse resulting in fruit.
In human intercourse, it is a choice that presents itself again and again.
We Christians are presented again and again
with the option to interact with Him intimately, or to shut Him out.
If we want to bear His fruit,
if we want our union with Him to be successful,
we must yield.
Perhaps you have said 'no', and it has become a habit to say 'no'.
I'm too tired.
I have a headache.
We've grown too far apart.
I've washed my feet; how can I defile them again?
Seek Him again, because His heart is still for you.
Or perhaps it is worse than just not opening up when He came to you.
Maybe you called Him 'master', and lived in His house,
but never saw Him as your husband.
Maybe you have never been close,
and all your children have been someone else's.
And He is broken-hearted over your infidelity,
but you are hard-hearted.
Make a choice to be His for real.
He'll buy you back from the auction block of your whoring shame,
and call you His own,
and let you bear His children.
I will heal their backsliding, and love them freely,
for My anger has turned away...
I will be like the dew to Israel;
He shall grow like the lily, and lengthen his roots like Lebanon...
Those who dwell under His shadow shall return;
they shall be revived like grain, and grow like a vine.
Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
And you will find yourself saying,
"What have I to do anymore with idols?
I have heard and observed him.
I am like a green cypress.
Your fruit is found in me."