2 Corinthians 5:16-19 – From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (RSV)
Not everyone who meets his future wife on New Year's Eve gets married seven months later, and stays married for 18 years, but I did. There is the grace of God for you, the power of the new creation.
Having grown up in a dysfunctional home and having come late to know Christ, I didn't want to repeat any destructive cycle in my own marriage. So I suggested to my fiancée that it might be best to call the whole thing off.
Mary Beth (MB) was undaunted. She asked me if I believed the Bible to be the Word of God. I knew that my only available option was to answer "Yes". She then opened her Bible to today's scripture, and asked me to read it out loud, and I did: "Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come."
MB asked me if I believed that to be true in my life. I did. She told me that she saw no reason not to get married, because the cycle was already broken. What I needed to do was walk the truth out.
As a precaution against a negative reaction, I made my proposal on April Fool's Day (yes, really), but if I had understood 2 Corinthians 5:17 better, I would not have worried. Just as I am made more complete by my spouse, more fully 'me' than I was before I met her, so it is that in-Christ I am more fully 'me' than I was without Christ.
The Word and MB were right. Ours is a blessed marriage. Ours is a marriage that we have worked for. Your story may be different, but I can assure you of this: in Christ, we can always begin again, for in him we are a new creation.
Prayer: Father, we who are happily married thank you for blessing us through our spouses, and we ask you to help us not to take our love for granted. For we who struggle and who are at odds in our marriage, we ask that you would grant peace and the hope of new life again in your Son. For we who ache with pain and remorse for a marriage ship-wrecked, we ask for mercy and the will to seek your outcome. For we who are not married, keep us pure, fill us with hope, and point us in the direction of your will. Amen.