“A generous heart is always open, always ready to receive our going and coming. In the midst of such love we need never fear abandonment. This is the most precious gift true love offers – the experience of knowing we always belong.” —Bell Hooks

If we have accepted the Lord as our Saviour God says that we belong to Him.

“…and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God”  —1 Corinthians 3:23

If we have said yes to our spouse before God, we belong to God and to our partner.

A synonym for belong is ‘to have a home, to have a rightful place’ and the origin of the word belong comes from ‘to reach’. God reaches out to us and Jesus says, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” (John 14:23)

Once you enter into the marriage covenant God comes and makes a home of that covenant.

C.S. Lewis describes the way God changes our ‘house’ or as I like to think ‘our marriages’ because He wants to make it a fit place for Him to call His home.

“Imagine yourself (marriage) as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house (marriage). At first, perhaps you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house (marriage) about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house (marriage) from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage; but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

God wants your marriage to be a fit place where he can live.

When we commit our lives to Jesus, we become His disciples here on earth. We are called to be a light to the world, to follow His example of living, to love, to serve, to care, to be generous.

We become God’s earthly representatives. Or as Mother Theresa puts it, we become “God’s love letter” to our spouse.

In practical terms, it means that you have to choose your attitude every morning.

Choose whether you are going to let things upset you or whether you are going to let them go. Choose whether you are going to be joyful and thankful or miserable and ungrateful. Choose whether you are going to forgive your spouse and yourself or whether you are going to hold onto unforgiveness and hurt.

We live in the world, so we don’t have much power over things that happen around us and to us, but we do have the ultimate power of choosing how we will respond in any given situation.

In other words, it’s not what happens to you that matters it is the manner in which you react that will determine a positive or negative outcome in your marriage.

There is always a split second before we react when we have the chance to choose.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” —Viktor Frankl

Neurologist and psychiatrist, Viktor Frankl, was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. He suffered greatly and was stripped of everything. This included his wife, parents, brother, career, and his human dignity. Yet, he discovered the following:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Choose to compromise, it is better to bend a little than to break.
Choose to let your love be stronger than your hate or anger.
Choose to believe the best of your spouse rather than the worst.

True friendship is the basis of every relationship. Choose to treat the person you are married to with the same kindnesses and courtesies that you bestow on your friends.

“A soul mate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are: we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise.Our soul mate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction.” —Richard Bach

Originally written for and published on Start Marriage Right https://www.startmarriageright.com/2021/05/do-you-belong-in-your-marriage/