At the Center of it All

Devotionals from Leslie Ludy and the Set Apart Girl Team

At the Center of it All

by Leslie Ludy | December 29, 2011

C.T. Studd wrote: “Marriage can either be a great blessing or a great curse, depending on where you place the Cross.”

Eric and I recently celebrated our 17th anniversary. Looking back over our many adventure-filled years together, I have found the above statement to be absolutely true. Eric and I are more in love with each other now than we were on our wedding day. And yet, this is not because we are perfect communicators, or that we never say hurtful things to each other, or because our life is replete with roses and romantic sonnets. Rather, it is because Jesus Christ has remained at the center of our marriage. By God’s grace, we have purposed to approach each other with a selfless attitude – focusing on washing the other person’s feet, rather than constantly evaluating if our spouse is perfectly meeting all of our needs. We do not always excel in carrying this out, but serving each other has been our focus and aim every year that we have been together.

I have learned over the years that nothing will kill marriage intimacy faster than selfishness. Whenever I take my eyes off the Cross of Jesus Christ, I begin focusing on what I want and what I need, rather than on pouring my life out in selfless service to my spouse. And suddenly I find myself nagging, nitpicking, and criticizing, rather than loving, serving, and giving to my husband.

There are many simple principles of the Gospel that can easily be overlooked in a marriage – commands like “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “love is not rude” often seem far more difficult to apply to marriage than to any other relationship. For some reason, marriage seems like the one place where it is somehow acceptable to fight and claw for our own wants and needs and to complain about all the shortcomings of the other person. But if we are not willing to live out the Gospel in our marriage relationships, we will not be truly capable of living out the Gospel in any other sphere of life. When the Cross of Jesus Christ remains at the forefront of a marriage, self-denial and sacrificial love are the natural results. And that is the only kind of love that can truly stand the test of time.

Eric and I do have a romantic life together. We love to go on special getaways, have special date-nights, and write each other special letters. And yet, I know it is not romance that has kept us thriving for seventeen years – it is the Cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the ultimate Bridegroom, and He has set the pattern for our earthly marriages. Though self-denial and selfless love is not always the most gratifying way to approach marriage, in the long run, it is truly the most satisfying.*