When God begins to makeover a marriage, He doesn't line up the "reality-TV" producers and display our flaws and scars before a leering world. Quite the contrary. In order to transform your marriage into the joyful and intimate relationship that He intended it to be, He begins from the inside out, in a most private and personal way.
He knows that we need a marriage makeover on a fairly regular basis. So like going in for an annual physical, we need the Lord to check us out and prescribe the appropriate medicine for our marriage so that it will not contract an infectious disease and collapse before its time. That's why we call Him the Great Physician. But how does God makeover a marriage? What steps does the Great Physician take in order to renew our love and intimacy? What does He expect from us and what can we expect from Him?
The X-Ray Machine of God's Word
The first thing the Lord expects from us is a willingness to go under the x-ray machine of His Word (cf. James 1:22-25). He has an ongoing commitment to expose our flaws and scars when He knows we are ready and willing. But He won't do it apart from the Light of His Holy Bible.
Too often we are like the person who is so afraid of what the doctor might find, he avoids the x-ray machine at all costs. We avoid being in His Holy Word (a regular devotional life: His medical manual of choice) as well as being under His Holy Word (a solid Bible preaching and teaching church: His medical hospital of choice). Sadly, we are more like the couple that would rather hangout at the local pub and get marital advice from the bartender, rather than from a good, biblical church where Jesus Christ is honored as Lord and His Word is proclaimed on a regular basis. But remember: God's marital makeover, with all of its transforming power, will never take place unless we place ourselves in His Word as well as under His Word.
The Gentle Touch of the Great Physician's Hand
The next thing that the Lord expects from us is a willingness to allow His gentle hand to bring about the changes we need. His healing touch is the gentle touch of the Great Physician's hand.
So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body (Eph. 5:28-30).
Notice that husbands are to "nourish" and "cherish" their wives, just as Christ also does the church. That is the transforming touch of the Great Physician's hand -- one that nourishes and cherishes. When you place your marriage under His hand, you can rest assured that His surgical abilities will excise the diseased tissue and transplant His own love and grace in its place by nourishing and cherishing you and your mate.
"To nourish" means to nurture or to bring up. The only other time this particular word is used in the New Testament is in Ephesians 6:4, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." God's nurturing hand in your marriage is never an experience that provokes anger, but it does promote growth. He is committed to strengthening and building your marriage for His own pleasure and glory. It is important that you place your marriage under His nourishing hand by asking Him to do His marital makeover in your marriage.
Further, the Lord's gentle hand will cherish your marriage. "To cherish" means to warm, to foster with tender care. Like "nourish," this particular word is also used just one other time in the New Testament, in 1 Thessalonians 2:7, "But we [apostles] proved to be gentle among you, just as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children." When the apostle Paul wanted to convey his love for the Thessalonian church, he chose the archetypical portrait of a newborn infant nursing at its mother's breast. The Lord has committed Himself to your marriage in the same way. God's cherishing hand in your marriage is never harsh or crushing. It is a hand of TLC: tender loving care.
But again, you must place your marriage under His cherishing hand by inviting Him to perform His marriage makeover in your marriage, without any delay. Your marriage is too important to God to put off His nourishing and cherishing marital makeover any longer. One final reminder: Your marriage is always safe in the hands of the Great Physician!
Your Marriage and God's Makeover Process:
In light of the fact that God is totally committed to making over your marriage, prayerfully answer the following questions:
1. In the last six months, how have you and your spouse placed yourselves under the x-ray machine of God's Word, in both your personal devotional life together and in a good Bible believing church? How can you do this in the next six months?
2. In what areas of your marriage do you need the nourishing touch of the Great Physician's hand? Why not ask Him to do so right now.
3. In what areas of your marriage do you need the cherishing touch of the Great Physician's hand? Why not ask Him to do so right now.