Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Christian Marriage Support

Q. I have been married to a wonderful man for several years now.  As our marriage continues to grow and evolve I want to make sure I do whatever I can to be the best spouse possible.  As a Christian what can I do to best support my spouse and make my marriage glorify God?

A.  What a wonderful question.  If more spouses would ask this question the state of marriage in our country would vastly improve.  You also mention a key point about bringing glory to God that I want to address. First though, let's start with some practical things you can do to support your spouse.   

Open, healthy communication is key to any marriage. The way we speak to one another and how we speak to one another can set the tone for a healthy marriage.  Scripture says in Proverbs 18:2 "Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions."  We should really work to understand one another and work to see their perspective.  When you can see where your spouse is coming from and seek to understand them, you are more likely to have a productive conversation.  It is not about being right or airing your own opinion; rather it is about seeking understanding through open communication.  Scripture also implores us to use our mouths to build one another up.  Seek to live out Ephesians 4:29 that says, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Secondly, you should examine your expectations for marriage.  In your question you asked what you could do to best glorify God in your marriage.  The best thing you can do to glorify God is to love your spouse unconditionally.  In order to do this, you must have correct expectations about your spouse.  We are all sinful people who are imperfect, ugly sinners according to Genesis 3. We will hurt one another and we will let each other down due to sinful hearts and sinful desires.  If we expect that we are married to an imperfect person will be more likely to  not take things personally.  

Because of this sin in our lives, it is very important for us to take a look inward before we seek to correct or judge our spouse.  In Matthew 7:3-5, we see Jesus talking about taking the plank out of your own eye before you judge that of our brother.  This is also true for us when it comes to our Christian spouse.  Often times the conflict that we feel in our marriage is more about sin in our own life and less about the sin of our spouse.  

But if you have examined your own life and find that you need at address an issue with your spouse, make sure to extend grace to him.  Ephesians 4:32 goes onto say, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."  The best possible way to show someone the glory of God is by forgiving one another just as he forgave us.  Marriage is the best possible picture to see this glory.  By continually loving your spouse and extending that grace to him, you continually show the love of Christ to others.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, "In a word, live together in the forgiveness of your sins, for without it no human fellowship, least of all a marriage, can survive. Don’t insist on your rights, don’t blame each other, don’t judge or condemn each other, don’t find fault with each other, but accept each other as you are, and forgive each other every day from the bottom of your hearts."

Let me commend you on a great question.  Marriage in the United States in under attack.  We need to be working to treat marriage as the sacred covenant that it is.  For more information on past blogs pertaining to marriage click here.  Also, if you are interested in where your marriage stands and if you guys might be in need of marriage help, click here to take a short quiz.  Press on in your marriage and keep pursing the Lord together.

*This column is not intended to substitute for an actual session with a licensed counselor.
If you have a question you would like to ask, EMAIL or leave a comment. We would love to answer one of your questions.


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