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An Exclusive Relationship

An Exclusive Relationship

Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk. Revelation 17:1-2

In a small group study on marriage, my wife and I recently reread a book* which teaches that a husband and wife must know and meet each other’s emotional needs. If my wife perceives love through domestic support, then I must scrub some toilets, thereby communicating my love to her in a way that she understands it. She, in turn, must meet my emotional needs. The reciprocal is also true – We must consciously choose to find emotional satisfaction in each other, not outside sources. If I perceive love by receiving respect and admiration, then I shouldn’t seek to find those things from other women.

A breakdown in a relationship comes when emotional needs aren’t met within the marriage and one spouse finds his or her needs met elsewhere. When a woman finds another man who meets her need for intimate conversation, she begins to fall in love with that man. She didn’t intend to do so. She just became intoxicated with the power of emotion, which leads to an adulteration of her marriage. Never in a million years would she have thought herself capable of an affair, but once she becomes drunk on inappropriate emotional fulfillment, it’s all over.

Today’s passage borrows this metaphor. In it, John described a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, who carried a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. Those who drank of this cup became intoxicated by sexual gratification.

The Bible often uses this metaphor of an adulterous marriage to describe our flawed connection to God. Our relationship with the God is, like the marriage relationship, meant to be exclusive. We’re created to find our life, joy, and meaning in him alone. Instead of authentic joy though, we often settle for the immediate gratification found in our self-destructive appetites, finding temporary satisfaction in food, lust, drugs, money, toys, social media affirmation, or vanity. Just like in a marriage though, this adulteration of the relationship is toxic to it. We cannot appropriately love our spouses while loving someone else. Likewise, we cannot follow God while trying to find our satisfaction elsewhere. Our relationship with God, like our marriage relationship, is meant to be exclusive.

We’ll have healthy, happy marriages only when we find our emotional needs met by our spouses. Likewise, we’ll only know authentic life, joy, and peace when we seek and find those things in God. Some relationships are meant to be exclusive.

 

*His Needs, Her Needs (Making Romantic Love Last) by Willard F. Harley Jr.

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