Shouldn’t all Christian marriages be strong and vibrant? Nevertheless, we know not all are. There are tools, such as premarital counseling, marriage conferences, books, blogs and more. All of which are designed to create and maintain strong marriages. But, let’s forget all about them for a moment. As great as they may be, they don’t necessarily mean a hill of beans if we don’t get this first thing right: God being the Absolute Center of the marriage. And that means each partner has to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. Think about this next statement, and it is a strong one. Some might be offended by it, but slow down and think it through. To be clear, it is not judgmental. Marriages that are struggling or are in deep trouble are out sync with God. If your relationship with Him is off, your relationship with others will be off. Let’s touch on a few areas in order to bring more clarity to that statement.
Maybe it’s not a question of whether the husband and the wife love God; rather, it has more to do with their knowing who they in Jesus Christ, their worthiness and whether they love themselves as God loves them. Galatians 5:14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. If you do not love yourself the way God loves you, how would you expect to love your spouse well, let alone anyone else? If you treat someone the way you want to be treated, you may not treat him or her as you should. Maybe at first you will, but at some point, self-sabotage may set in, and the next the thing you know that relationship is strained at best. This is especially true if you feel unworthy to have a strong relationship, or in this case, a strong marriage. We won’t cover the subject of worthiness as a whole at this point, but know that Jesus paid the price for you to be worthy. Why? Because God actually does love you!
Those who don’t receive God’s love and fail to love themselves, become needy. They are not as free to love as they could. Consequently, they get married in hopes their spouse will fill that void. When they find he or she is incapable of filling it, they become disenchanted. Relying on your spouse to fill a God-sized vacuum can be dangerous to your marriage. It may lead to jealousy and envy, not to mention adultery in some unfortunate instances. Moreover, it can be very difficult to affirm your husband or wife, if you are so focused on being affirmed. In some cases, if one, or perhaps both, don’t find affirmation in the marriage, he or she may seek it elsewhere. One possible clue that someone hasn’t received Father’s affirmation is by the answer they give to the question of why they married someone. “He makes me happy” or “She makes me happy.” It’s not the job of the husband or wife to make someone happy. That’s an inside job. It’s a decision on everyone’s part. No one can do that for you. In short, without receiving God’s affirmation and properly loving yourself, you may place unrealistic expectations on your loved one.
If God is not your First Love, His will won’t have first place in your life either. We know marriage was God’s idea. If you’re not married yet, it would probably be a great idea to check with Him about whom you marry. If you already are married, Scripture makes it clear that you are to stay married unto death do you part. Going further, by filtering your decisions through His will, your marriage has a far greater ability to stay on track, than if you strictly focus on what you want. The Lord has a place for you, which includes what church you’re part of (see 1 Corinthians 12:18; Colossians 1:18), what community in which you live, and even your vocation. What you buy, when you buy it and how you pay for it, are other important considerations in relation to His will. How many marriages have been negatively effected by financial woes? Many of those difficulties could have been avoided by asking God about the decisions involved with them at the start. What we think is the best thing, may not be the best thing. In fact, it could be quite the opposite. Our Father never withholds anything good from us, and He will protect us from self-sabotage if we allow Him to speak to our hearts. Remember, He knows the ending before the beginning. How many have gone into unnecessary debt because they didn’t wait on God, or trust Him for that matter? Being out of sync with Him effects everything. There is more that could be said, but we’ll stop here.