Have you ever noticed that there are some couples who just seem to be so compatible and so joyously married and others seem to just be bearing through and enduring life together? I know that every couple has its own challenges, but I am amazed at how God draws two different individuals together in unity and how we respond to one another in love greatly determines the character of our marriage. Some marriages are more difficult than others just as some people are more difficult than others. When people have hardened hearts toward God and toward one another there is a limit to how much God can use them as his witnesses to a lost and dying world.
I am not sure on earth that we will ever see the "ideal" marriage; that is reserved for Christ and his church. There are some couples who have so allowed Christ to capture their hearts that they can truly act in one accord as Christ has called us to. They honor and respect the differences of their spouses and seek to reconcile differences quickly before God that in everything God may have the preeminance.
There is one couple I am associated with that exemplifies this model for Christian marriage. As I have been contemplating Thanksgiving and our need to have hearts full of gratitude, I noticed that this couple has a habit of thankgsiving toward one antoher. Things that I often take for granted in my own husband, they verbalize thanksgiving for. The husband often praises his wife behind her back when sharing his week. His wife thanks him frequently for little kindnesses he displays toward her. He hands her a book, she looks him in the eye with an expression of love on her face and says "thanks, honey".
I am challenged by their example to be more thankful for not just the outstanding acts of kindness shown to me by the people in my life, but also for the smaller acts of kindness that often go un noticed. As I prepare my heart for this Advent season, I plan to look for those smaller blessings and make a habit of saying "Thank You".
May God richly bless you as you seek him and as you serve him.