Scripture Texts: Romans 12:9-21; Romans 13:1-7
Earlier in chapter 12 Paul writes about living as a sacrifice to God, transformed and not conforming to the ways of this world. The end of the chapter paints a picture of what that means. As we live our transformed, sacrificial life we will live in the ways explained in this chapter.
Turning the lens to look at marriage we wonder how many times Romans 12:9-21 has been included in a wedding ceremony. Countless times 1 Corinthians 13 has been read but how many times have these words of really loving people been shared? These few verses seems to inform us more about the love which sustains a marriage more than those of 1 Corinthians.
In particular in mind today is verse 15, "Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep." This speaks of love based on presence, simply being present with our spouse when they are experiencing various emotions. A marriage based in real love is one where we can be happy for our spouse, no matter what is going on in our own life, and we can be sad with our spouse no matter what.
This kind of love resists the temptation to change the situation. We do not need to steal the happiness of our spouse, merely share in it. Likewise we do not need to fix the sadness of a spouse, we only need to be fully present.
Cultivating a healthy and full marriage pays attention to the love shared between two people. It is not always focused on the romantic and intimate love. In fact more often than not the greatest impact of love is found when we walk with our spouse with Romans 12 as our guide. May we be people who love deeply, not as the world around us loves but as people who have been transformed by the love and grace of God in Jesus Christ.