Exhortation for Chris and Grace

People get married for many reasons. But the foundational reason we marry is because we need something. Maybe we are lonely and want a companion. Maybe we want someone to fill our sexual needs. Maybe we get married because we want someone to share the financial burden. Maybe we get married because we want children and believe they will fill some hole in our lives. Maybe we get married because our parents or friends push us towards marriage and we are trying to make them happy. Maybe we get married because we want to get away from our parents. Maybe we get married because we are tired of eating frozen pizza every night.
In all these situations we marry because we need something. We look to marriage and more specifically to our spouse to fill some hole in lives. We enter marriage as consumers. Our spouse is there to provide us with something. This consumer approach to marriage causes several problems. 
First, we suck our spouses dry. The reality is that no human being, no matter how great or how wonderful, can meet all of our needs. We all function from a deficit. In reality we are all a cup that is 1/3 full. No matter how much we pour the other person will never be full. No matter how much our spouse pours into us we will never be full. Our ledgers are in the red.  
Second, we end up viewing our spouses as vending machines. My husband is there to provide…fill in the blank. My wife is there to provide…fill in the blank. They become objects. Their purposes is to satisfy me, much like Kroger’s purpose is to give me bread and milk. 
Third, our spouses struggle because we are focused on our needs instead of their needs. If we view our spouses as
The problem with this is that no matter how hard we try we cannot meet our spouses needs and they cannot meet our needs. But we try and they try. Each time we come up short. We end up more and more empty. One day we wake up and find out our spouses are not enough and, perhaps more painfully, we find out we are not enough. A person who is empty cannot be expected to fill others. But what if we could get full? What if instead of entering marriage with a list of needs for my spouse to meet, we entered marriage full with  of ways we will meet our spouse’s needs. What if marriage became about giving from our overflow instead of giving from being 1/3 full? What if there was never a shortage?  Well the good news is that we can become full. 
How do we reach this place of fullness? There is only one way, Jesus Christ. There are two verses I want to bring to your attention this afternoon.

John 4:13-14 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Chris and Grace, only through Christ can you be full. That woman at the well had tried to get full. She had tried five husbands. But she was still empty. Christ said that he could fill her up so she never thirsted again. Those who trust in him are full. They have abundant life. Those who do not believe in Him are empty. You cannot fill each other up, if you are empty. You cannot pour out if you are half-full. Chris the only the way you can fill Grace, is if you are full. Grace the only you way can fill Chris is if you are full. That means your love for Jesus, your trust in Him, and your confession of your sins is the glue that holds your marriage together.  When Christ fills you several things happen.
First, you focus on filling your spouse instead of meeting your own needs.
Second, you view your spouse as someone to be loved, not something to used. You no longer approach marriage as a consumer, but rather as a giver. 
Third, when you hit dry, hard spots you will not drain your spouse.  Marriages are usually good when things are going well. But when hard times hit then the strength of a marriage is tested.  Now imagine our cup illustration. Imagine that things are hard and you are only 1/3 full. What if you ask more of your spouse at that time? Her cup is getting lower, but  you are demanding more. Your cup is getting lower, so you are giving less. What happens? You both end up empty and blaming the other person. Bitterness sets in. But when you are filled with Christ, you can give until you are dead. This does not mean that you are always happy or that there is never any tragedy in your life. It does not mean that your marriage is all roses and no thorns.  But it does mean when difficulties arise you will not destroy the other person in the middle of your pain. 
What does it mean to be filled with Christ? It means faith in Him. It means worshiping Him with His people. It means quick repentance and quick forgiveness. It means being sanctified by the Spirit.  
Chris and Grace do not enter marriage as consumers. Enter it as those who are filled to the overflowing with Christ. Then you will spend your years giving to one another instead of taking.