As Christians, we are called to live in community with each other. It doesn’t mean we can’t have our own houses where we live with our family and a golden retriever chasing rabbits in the backyard, but rather that we begin and grow relationships with other Christians. These people are our brothers and sisters.
When we think of growing these relationships, or those with people we’re close to, such as our spouses, our first thought is often that we need to spend more time with that person. If you’re like me, though, you rarely think, “I need to spend more time with God so I can love that person as He does.”
God is meant to be not only the focus of our lives, but our source and example as well. For our relationships with others to be truly healthy, our love for the other person must be fed with God’s love for us and them. Yes, you can still have a generally happy marriage without being a Christian, but it will be based on how the other person makes you feel, usually about yourself, rather than on a love that transcends what they do for or to you.
My wife and I agreed early on in our dating that if we loved each other more than we loved God, our relationship would eventually fall apart and that we weren’t loving each other enough. I have to put her second to Him if I am going to have the relationship with her we’re meant to have and show her the kind of love she really needs. I must do this because I don’t have this kind of love in me, and so I need God to show it to me over and over again.
It is only when we love God more than anything that we can show people a love they have never before known. And we win both ways, in strengthening our relationship with God and in having fellowship with other people not based on how they affect our self-esteem.