By Jean-Paul & Suzanne Balmet, Contributing Writers
When we first get married, we only have eyes for one another. Hours get lost when we stare into each others eyes and we are always thinking of how we can serve our spouse…But then weeks, months, & years slip by and we no longer think of our spouse first.
We have babies then grand babies and slowly along the road, our focus shifts off of our spouse. It’s often a subtle slow moving change but after many years you no longer put your spouse first and they don’t put you first. What is wrong and how can you change it? We hope to cover that in this two part series.
Putting Marriage First
In the Scriptures, God clearly calls for the primacy of marriage, PRIMACY meaning “The state of being of first importance.”
- God Himself determined that, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)
- God Himself specifically designed Eve to complete Adam as his wife.
- God Himself performed the first wedding ceremony, presenting Adam’s newly formed wife to him, much to his joy. (Genesis 2:22-24)
So, our marriage, as a divinely ordained institution, should be of highest importance to us as children of God as we seek to glorify Him in our daily life.
Our culture today presents a picture that most marriages are unhappy, and so living together provides you the opportunity to “kick the tires” to see if this person will meet your needs and requirements, especially the romantic and sexual chemistry – since that is so important.
Our society thinks the key to a successful marriage is to find the PERFECT compatible soul mate. An example of an ad from a “Christian” dating site stated,
“Looking for someone who won’t change me, someone who accepts me JUST as I am, someone who will affirm me and not seek to change me and release me to be myself and not shackle me.”
This shows us just how self-centered we have become as a society, and how much fear there is in marriage and how it might interrupt “My happiness!” Wow!
- Those who live together before marriage are statistically more likely to get divorced than those who do not move in together until after they are married.
- The earlier that sex is introduced into the relationship, the more likely the relationship will break up.
- 2/3 of marriages that say they are unhappy find that if they stay together to work it out, they are in fact happy after 5 years.
- Piles of data show that married people have longer life spans and live healthier mentally and physically than unmarried people.
So the culture, on one hand, is down on marriage and yet, the reality is that it provides real benefits.
Worship is the key to marriage. Men, being a Godly husband does not begin with loving your wife; it begins with loving God. The truth is that a man should love his wife “as Christ loves the church,” a jewel of truth found in Ephesians 5:25.
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” ~Ephesians 5:25
We can’t and won’t Glorify God in our marriages without the foundation of having Christ as our Master. We need to to saturate our minds with the gospel & with proper theology, continually.
Jesus is our great model of:
- Unconditional Love – Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- Sacrificial Love -1 Peter 1:18 “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, Christ gave fully of Himself.”
- Voluntary Love – Ephesians 5:25 “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.”
1 John 2:6 says “Whoever says he abides in Him, ought to walk in the same way in which HE walked.”
How do we do that in our marriage?
- Study Gods Word (with your spouse in a small group) 2 Tim 3:16-17 & 2 Tim 2:15
- Read books by Godly reliable authors
- Be at church, be an active listener, make application of what you learn, discuss with spouse and kids and others ~Hebrews 10:24-15
- Attend Sunday school
- Serve ~ 1 Peter 4:10
- Be hospitable ~ 1 Peter 4:9
- Love & keep earnestly loving ~ 1 Peter 4:8
- Fill our minds and heart with the Word and its standards for our lives and pray for the Lord’s help in living then, as He calls us
This is hard!!! We struggle, the truth is there are no two totally compatible people so sometimes we succumb to the flesh and we sin. So should we lose heart and give up? No!! Press on, confess (1 John 1:19) and get our eyes back to being fixed on Christ. (Phil 3:14)
Hebrews 12:12-13 says, “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.”
Our Marriages then are a place for our Sanctification – for us to grow in Christ as our sins are revealed and as we rely on Christ, His word and the power of the Holy Spirit to mature us.
Our sins are revealed because we are two sinners living together and our flesh desires its own way, yet our call and desire as believers is to be more and more conformed to the image of Christ. We should rely on Christ as we study His life, the perfect plan of redemption and as we submit ourselves to His authority. Growth in maturity is our life long pursuit as we deny self and live for Christ in our marriages – Ephesians 5:25-33.
Pray for humility in learning to become more Christ-like in your love for your spouse.
Then, without being defensive, ask your spouse in what ways he/she would like to see you grow as a husband/wife. Ask if they would commit to praying for you each day as you seek to grow in your ministry of being a Christ-like husband/wife.