Warning: reading this blog will lead to you having a healthy marriage!
I am of the firm opinion that any two people, who put Christ at the center of their marriage - will have a long, loving and committed marriage.
That is not to say that there won't be trials and adversity - every marriage has times of disagreement.
What you have in any marriage are two wounded, imperfect, broken sinners who do not have the ability to love (on their own) another wounded, imperfect, broken sinner the way they need to be loved in this thing we call "marriage."
But with Christ at the center of our marriages - we can make it.
This blog describes some practical ways that you and I can implement "a God-centeredness" in our relationship with our spouses.
Let's start with some thoughts from Jesus about the two different foundations for life itself:
"Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rains descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell and great was its fall." (Matthew 7:24-27).
Principle: Build your marriage upon a solid foundation through increasing obedience to God and His Word.
When you build your marriage (your house) upon that Rock, you can withstand any storm - and the storms will come. Financial storms. Health storms. Relational storms.
How can you and your spouse be obedient?
It all comes back to this one word: Discipline.
I am not talking about applying a punishment when a spouse does wrong, I am speaking of those daily activities that you and your spouse are called upon to implement if you desire Christ at the center of your marriage.
Let me give them to you.
Disclaimer: I am not proposing a lifeless list of legalistic tasks that will turn the Christian life into a series of do's and don'ts. A joyless, religious marriage based upon works.
No! But just as you and I must exercise to stay health - so we must apply our daily spiritual disciplines not only on an individual basis but on a "couple basis" as well.
Pray individually but also as a couple. More than anything else, Satan will fight you on this. Couples will practice intimacy in any and every area of life except in the spirit realm. In fact, I would suggest that it is the most intimate thing you can do as husband and wife - and will draw you closer more than anything else. Try starting by praying together for 1 minute a day. Then 2 minutes. Then 5 minutes.
Study the Bible together. Now, I am not talking about an hour, verse by verse study. I am speaking of taking a verse, reading a devotion, listening to Bible CD's together.
Worship together in church. Come to the altar - together. Put on a praise CD at home and spend 5 to 10 minutes "praising the Lord" together.
Debbie and I teach that it is a necessity to have joint checking accounts. The same goes in this area of giving. Tithe as a couple. Give as a couple.
Of course, we talk about small groups a lot. Small groups give you as a couple time to be with other couples. And - when you hear who other couples are dealing with certain issues - you know that you are not the only ones struggling. You can know that you will make it - as other couples have.
Volunteer together for service at church or in the community. Even as I write this, the word "Together" really comes to the forefront of this blog.
This is huge. Rarely does a couple witness together. But it can happen and should happen. Debbie and I had dinner the other night with a non-churched couple. It was a wonderful time of them seeing how a Christian couple can have fun.
Now then, three things:
1. Discuss the above thoughts - together.
2. Use the following scale (1 = poor and 5 = great), how would you rate your commitment to each of these spiritual disciplines?
Prayer 1 2 3 4 5
Bible Study 1 2 3 4 5
Worship 1 2 3 4 5
Giving 1 2 3 4 5
Fellowship 1 2 3 4 5
Service 1 2 3 4 5
Witness 1 2 3 4 5
3. What changes might you make as a couple in being more faithful in exercising these disciplines?
Just a thought for a Wednesday.