December 31st, 1969
Recently my husband and I had the opportunity to attended “A Weekend to Remember” Family Life marriage conference. It was a much needed time of getting away from the busyness of daily life and refocusing on the most important relationship God has given to men and women, second only to our relationship with Himself. Though our marriage is very much alive and healthy it takes a diligent effort to keep it that way. Since becoming a Christian 26 years ago I have read countless books on marriage, I’ve done extensive bible studies (once I taught on the subject for an entire year covering pretty much everything the bible had to say to wives), in addition to that my husband and I have gone to several conferences for couples. Although there are many important pieces in creating and sustaining a vibrant marriage there are three key ingredients that always seem to stand out from the rest, three things that I have studied and tested over time:
1. Forgive Frequently! Keep short accounts in your marriage! Ephesians 4:26-27 says “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil.” When we hold on to even a small amount of un-forgiveness, resentment settles in and a root of bitterness will ensue. Bitterness taints and poisons our perspective of the person we are bitter towards. This is how the enemy gains a foothold and creates division. It is never worth it! Forgiveness is a choice we make to release a debt. We can choose to forgive because of Christ’s forgiveness toward us and the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. Choosing to forgive builds unity and solidarity in the marriage.
2. Bless Daily! “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Matthew 6:21 What we invest in the most, we will treasure the most! This is by design. Over the years I have found that when my husband and I get too busy, distracted or lazy to intentionally bless each other we begin to drift apart. But when we choose daily to build up one another through kind words and generous actions it does wonders to endear our hearts to each other. Being intentional about making daily decisions to “invest to bless” pays huge dividends. I have heard it said: “The grass in not greener on the other side of the fence; the grass is greener where you water it” so true!
3. Receive your spouse as the gift God intended! This includes not only their strengths but also their weaknesses. Looking back over 27 years of marriage I can say with confidence “my husband and I are not the same people we were when we got married”. Praise God! The Lord has used the good, the bad and the downright ugly to transform us into the people we are today. Your heavenly Father has always known who your spouse would be and although you may feel your marriage was a mistake, it is important to remember God is able to use even the “mistakes” to bring about something beautiful in you both. “Your spouse is not your enemy” is a phrase I have heard and repeated many times over the years. We are not on opposing teams but the same team; is a vital truth that we must keep our perspective aligned with especially during times of difficulty. The Lord is aiming to bring out the very best of what He intended when He created you and your mate. Receiving your imperfect spouse as God’s perfect gift will help to reveal the treasure often hidden within you both.
“So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has
joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6
Marriage was originally designed by God to make us complete. The “Fall” of mankind has done great damage to this precious gift but in Christ, God’s good intention can be restored. Restoration can happen, not because we are perfect, but because Christ in His perfection is making all things new, restoring and redeeming what has been lost. My marriage is far from perfect but thanks be to God for His indescribable gift of grace. Through Him I choose to forgive frequently, bless daily and receive my imperfect husband as God’s perfect gift for me. Thank you Family Life for another Weekend to Remember!