If you exchanged your wedding vows in church, or recently came to believe in Jesus, you may have be told that marriage isn’t just about deriving satisfaction from companionship but more about glorifying God with your marriage.
Indeed, in no other relationship are we daily challenged to think in terms of less of me, and more of our Abba Father. The very people who we have made vows to, who elicit from us the loudest laughs and most joyful of smiles are often the same ones who are equally capable of searing our hearts with such deep-seated pain that sometimes almost seems too much to bear. The only constant and fully dependable source of joy and comfort is in reality – our God.
As believers, we are blessed to have the ability to tap on His grace to help us through marital challenges, and so the first step to a marriage with a firm foundation is to earnestly seek God. Simply illustrated in this diagram below, as husband and wife draw closer to God, a natural effect of that would also be for husband and wife to naturally enjoy deeper intimacy with each other.
As your marriage glorifies God and reflects Him as being centre in your marriage, the fullness of blessings in terms of what God has always intended for each married couple will automatically be lavished on you and your spouse. So how can we have a marriage that glorifies Him?
Regular Bible study
One of the best marriage-building exercises is to have a regular Bible study time with your spouse. With a busy schedule, start by committing just half an hour each week to study a Scripture passage together, discuss its meaning and explore what it is telling you about Jesus. Then, discuss how it applies to your life and marriage.
Sharing struggles and praises together before God opens up communication and fosters openness in your relationship. It may seem difficult to commit to this at first, but by nurturing your relationship with God in marriage, you’ll likely find yourselves greatly enriched and coming back for more.
You can also create prayer prompts - choose a landmark on your drive home from work, or a task such as brushing your teeth to act as a reminder to pray for your spouse. Every day, when you drive past the mark or paste your brush, lift up your spouse's needs or simply thank God for him or her!
Then, end each day with prayer. Give thanks for the day, pray for the next day and lift up any concerns or worries. Use this time to ask God to continue to strengthen your marriage.
For spiritual formation in your marriage, try memorising Scripture together. Whether you’re cooking, cleaning or driving somewhere together, see if you can recite the week’s passage to each other. You’ll have God’s Word dwelling in both your hearts and minds week by week.
Prayers for the New Year
As the new year approaches, decide to put your marriage on your resolutions list. Start with discussing with your spouse three things about your marriage you are thankful for, and three major tendencies that most negatively affect your marriage. Then, pray for each other, using the list as a reminder of these prayer requests throughout the year. On the following New Year’s Day, return to your list to see how God has been answering your prayers and how your marriage has glorified Him.
Remember that it is always more about having faith than feelings. We pray for our spouse regardless of how he or she made us feel that day. The end goal is to rest in His Spirit in order to be pushed deeper into His pleasure as husband and wife.
Adapted from Marriage Tips by Focus on the Family (Canada) Association © 2016. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Whether you are considering marriage, engaged or have been married for over 20 years, discover new things about your relationship through an online assessment and receive personalised coaching from a marriage counsellor when you sign up for Marriage Builders.