Q: Should I consider my marriage as being doomed to failure–a defeat–if my spouse does not love me sacrificially and generously like Christ?
Ideally and according to God’s plan, both will love like Christ (sacrificially) and will look to the other’s interests first. Nevertheless, even if you are the only one is able to understand and live it out, your marriage is still glorifying God on account of your faithfulness . Although you may suffer and feel neglected, God will honor you for your faithfulness.
1 Peter 3:13-14, 17 AMP~ “13 Now who is there to hurt you if you are zealous followers of that which is good? 14 But even in case you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, [you are] blessed (happy, to be envied). Do not dread or be afraid of their threats, nor be disturbed [by their opposition]. 17 For [it is] better to suffer [unjustly] for doing right, if that should be God’s will, than to suffer [justly] for doing wrong.”
Let’s reconsider “doomed”. You speak from personal hurt and experience. We must understand that although we may not be rewarded now (in this temporal life), God will give an eternal reward to those who choose to live their lives in accordance with His will. Marriage is intended to bring Him glory and be an earthly example of Christ’s love here on earth. Christ’s relationship with the church.
Even if a person doesn’t achieve happiness or the feeling that our spouse loves him/her like Christ, if he/she is doing their part according to God’s Word, their marriage is still a success.
Even Jesus loved and was not loved in return; yet He was victorious.
1 Peter 4:1 AMP~ “4 So, since Christ suffered in the flesh for us, for you, arm yourselves with the same thought and purpose [patiently to suffer rather than fail to please God]. For whoever has suffered in the flesh [having the mind of Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [has stopped pleasing himself and the world, and pleases God],”
1 Peter 4:13-14, 16 AMP~ “13 But insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, rejoice, so that when His glory [full of radiance and splendor] is revealed, you may also rejoice with triumph [exultantly].
14 If you are censured and suffer abuse [because you bear] the name of Christ, blessed [are you—happy, fortunate, to be envied, with life-joy, and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward condition], because the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God, is resting upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
16 But if [one is ill-treated and suffers] as a Christian [which he is contemptuously called], let him not be ashamed, but give glory to God that he is [deemed worthy to suffer] in this name.”
When we live according to God’s will we have an eternal reward. I pray that your spouse will be won over by your right conduct and you will see your marriage as a success because you are doing your part. 🙂