The Easter message starts with Jesus in the garden of Gathsemane, dying on the cross, getting buried and then rising again. It is a moment of love so pure, daring and restorative. A number of relationships are dealing with debris so deep and yet couples do not have the will to dig through it to find themselves again.
Maybe you have lost that physical love you once had for your spouse for whatever reason. Here are some lessons we can pick from the Easter message.
Being hurt by those you love is what Jesus saw firsthand through Judas Iscariot whom He had walked with all His ministry days. “Betrayal from one you trust and love cuts so deep yet no marriage is immune. Moreover, some of the deepest hurt will come from your spouse. However, our response should be one like Jesus; forgiveness, if the marriage is to survive,” Pastor Moses Nsubuga of Victory City Church, Rubaga, shares.
Even before meeting Judas, Jesus had told His Father, “not my will but yours be done”. That means that the attitude with which you get into your marriage matters as it helps in manoeuvring the tides that lie ahead. “That way, even if they do something that seems to rip your heart open, Jesus’ forgiveness at the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do,” is an example that we can always forgive,” Pastor Nsubuga adds.
As though Judas’ betrayal was not enough, Peter denied Jesus thrice despite swearing he would even take up His place. Esther Mutungi, a marriage counsellor, says most people cannot imagine hurting their spouse, but they do. “It could be that nagging habit that has become part of you or words spewed during a bitter argument. Either way, those times will happen. Therefore, we are not exempt from hurting our partners,” she says.
After all the betrayal, many, friends, family and strangers alike, just like the high priests and Pharisees will mock you. “Yes, they will remind you of the days you helped other people’s marriages thus tell you to save yours. The trouble is that many, today, do not believe in lasting fruitful marriages so they watch to see if you will ever come through. Paying attention to the barking dogs will cause you to lose focus of your goal,” Mutungi says. Rather than yielding to their taunts, she urges any hurting couple to surround themselves with those that encourage the healing of marriages. “That said, forgiveness does not come easily, but Jesus makes us see that it is feasible.”
Seeing His humility should also make the other party get humble enough to ask for forgiveness. Dennis Lutwama, a marriage Counsellor, says, this is really up to someone, choosing to recognise where they hurt the other and confessing.
“It brings in the element of making a sacrifice for the sake of your marriage. You might have to let go of your ego and self-righteousness to save your relationship. Jesus could have asked the angels to get Him back to heaven while in the garden or get Him off the cross being God. But He did not, living through the sacrifice because He knew every part of the sacrifice mattered for our freedom,” Lutwama says.
He adds that the practicality of making a sacrifice for our spouse is not easy. For example, are you willing to put their interests above yours?
“Forgiveness is one of the sacrifices and it is not just a matter of overlooking their actions but rather genuine forvineness and allowing healing to take place. That is what Jesus’ forgiveness was, thus reconciliation with the Father and our sin was totally forgiven. Such forgiveness makes a lot of difference as no bitterness is left,” Lutwama says.
Every marriages faces circumstances that rock it and without the Jesus-kind of forgiveness, overcoming them seems impossible. Lutwama adds that some disappointments could be small while others are monumental.
“However, the Easter message of forgiveness and resurrection makes working through them possible. That is because we get to understand that Jesus died for us as well as our spouse thus His shed blood covers both our sins. With such knowledge, the unforgiving wife, and the angry husband relent because they understand that everyone errs and forgiveness is needed by all. Moreover, Jesus’ forgiveness as He hung on the cross urges us to forgive even as we go through the pains of people’s actions,” Pastor Nsubuga says.
Spending three days in the grave showed us that sin causes death which is a wakeup call to us that there is a need to re-evaluate how we live, and in this case, how we treat our spouses. “Those small habits that hurt our spouse cause pain that with time, kills the love and destroys the marriage. It is a call to do better by them, to put ourselves in their shoes, if we are to keep the love fires burning,” Mutungi says.
Because Jesus rose from the grave means that despite the hurt, there is need to work through the differences. “That shows that marriage calls for faith without which we cannot see life after death (detrimental occurrences).
However, Jesus did not raise Himself. We need to call upon God to intervene in our dead marriages to breathe life into them.
That is when we learn to be kind, tender hearted, forgiving one another as to reignite our dead relationships. These are not easy to practice if you blame your spouse for all your pain and failures but when we look to Jesus to help us, then restoration is possible,” Pastor Mutungi says.
The Easter message is about an imperfect person being embraced by a Holy God thus called His again. “That is the message that will cause even the worst hit marriage to get life again. When we think on what Jesus did for us at Calvary, we are given hope to know that despite how much we sin, He still loves us. With that we can accept our spouse despite of their wrongdoings,” Pastor Nsubuga says.
We should value the meaning of marriage as a testimony of God and his people. When a husband sacrificially loves his bride, that bride is empowered to live for her husband. And this love points upward to what Easter Sunday is all about, a sacrificial love brought about by a savior named Jesus Christ for his bride the church.