In the early years of our (unfortunately) bad marriage, we pitted our wills against each other. Did you used to do that? Or, still do?
When we finally turned our lives over to God’s control and finally took our marriage vows seriously, we noticed that as each year passed our his ‘n her growth in both our marriage and closeness to God kept being upgraded.
Two prime reasons this occurred was through our prayer times and reading the Bible, both of which we had started taking for granted. Can you identify?
We noted that by finally doing this we were slowly but continually maturing into being a better person, partner and parent. In this issue we want to tell you of the two keys that benefited our marriage and maybe these two keys will be a helpful input to you.
A. THE LORD HELPS YOU BE A SERVANT
In our natural state our goal is personal happiness. This then causes us to want to control others, rather than serve them, and that often (unfortunately) includes our mate. If you find yourself competing to “rule the roost” then you need to submit yourself to Jesus’ leadership. He turns the control into service.
B. THE LORD HELPS YOU TO NOT BE SELF-CENTERED
Without God you will deal with your spouse as two selfish people, each trying to obtain your rights. In Galatians 5:16, 19-23 we find the answer – “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature… the acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
The list of these selfish behaviors are those that can cause major marital problems. Now look at the fruits of the Spirit and in contrast you see that those characteristics are the things that can make your marriage strong, and if it is strong now, then stronger. They build unity. Being of one mind and one heart and one life.
We can tell the difference in our attitude when one of us has not been studying and applying God’s Word, for we get a bit uptight and picky with each other. It’s like the phrase we once heard, “A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to a person who isn’t.”
One of us will say to the other something real subtle like, “Hmmm, haven’t been in the Word lately, have you?” Yeah. Right. Subtle! Whichever one of us is “out of it” gets the message. We are now keenly aware that our first and most important relationship is with our Holy God, and if that is neglected then our whole being gets out of whack. Ever notice that with you? Another way to put this is that we revert back to our old ways and once again live under our limited power instead of the Holy Spirit’s unlimited power. Bad move.
Something that visually helped us understand how our his ‘n her growth helped our marriage is something quite simple. A triangle. Picture one in your mind. God is at the apex of the triangle and the husband and wife at the bottom at the other two angles. The simple principle here is as each individual grows closer in their own personal relationship with God they will also grow closer to each other. We like what Cecil Myers once wrote – “Successful marriage is always a triangle: a man, a woman and God.”
The two of us have experienced that it takes three to make a championship marriage. We have built and continue to build our marriage team as we grow together individually and collectively.
We pray the same for you!
(And to be sure that you have Peace With God we would like to encourage you to visit www.billygraham.org and then click on Grow Your Faith followed by clicking on How To Know Jesus. You may want to share this link with family and friends.)