No matter how great your intentions or aspirations are; no matter how hard you try, you cannot love your spouse, so stop trying. I know that’s inspiring, huh? Be encouraged though, because I am going to tell you why and how to fix it.
You and I are corruptible, fallen, and fallible human beings. We are prone to pride, selfishness, discouragement, self-centeredness, and fallibility, but as believers we have a great hope and remedy.
Something we have lost the importance of teaching within the body of Christ is that we now have an indwelling Lord. (I discuss this further in one of my gifts when you join my email list.) We learn “Jesus lives in my heart” as little children in Sunday school, but then it’s as if we grow up past that. When in reality, this is one of the greatest lessons we could ever learn.
Watchman Nee refers to it as “the release of the Spirit.” Frank Viola describes it as living by the indwelling life of Christ.
Imagine if you will the story of the woman and the alabaster jar.
While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. – Mark 14:3
How you can love your spouse
Until your outer man is broken, until the flesh is crucified, and until the Living Spirit of Christ (the sweet perfume) that dwells within you as a believer is released, you will never be able to love your spouse. You must be broken.
In Galatians 2:20 Paul says,
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
He is saying he is not living the Christian life. It is Christ living through him. Until you are broken and have crucified the flesh, you will be unable to fulfill the call in Ephesians 5 to love your spouse as Christ loves the Church. You will also be unable to submit to each other as co-laborers in this life.
In your own power and ability, you will fail at loving your spouse. Christ must live through you to love your spouse, just as He must live through you in every other area of your life.
Your earthly relationship is an intermittent (unsteady) representation of the imagery of the relationship between the Son and the Bride. Until you have the release of the sweet, precious, and powerful life of Christ that dwells within you, your representation of that relationship to the world will be ineffective.
You cannot love your spouse, so stop trying. Allow Christ to live through you. Allow Christ to love your spouse as an effective means of reflecting the imagery of the Son and his bride into your world.