Apr 102018 1 Response

Let God Guide Your Marriage

As a pastor, I regularly interact with people who believe God is real and active in their lives. They understand that marriage is a unique institution created by God. And they desire to live a life that brings Him glory. As they were single and dating, they often wondered who He had in store for them to marry.

Yet now married, they give very little thought to how God might direct them regarding marriage. They consider where to live and what to do as God-influenced decisions, but put very little consideration into the day-to-day influence God might play in their marital relationship. This should change. We could benefit from allowing God to guide our marriage.

A God-Guided Marriage

While there may be many characteristics of a God-guided marriage, there are some characteristics that are more important than others. If you want God to guide your marriage, do this:

1. Separately seek God. A God-guided marriage begins as each individual seeks a healthy relationship with God. Your faith shouldn’t be by association. The faith of one partner isn’t enough for both partners. Both should seek God and develop a vibrant spiritual life as individuals. The great news about this first step is that it is completely under your control. No matter where your spouse is spiritually, you can deepen your own faith.

2. Jointly seek God. Building on the foundation of two individuals having a relationship with God, then a couple can jointly seek Him. This happens in a variety of ways but can include worshipping together, serving together, studying together, etc. By seeing God together, not only will your relationship with each other be stronger but your individual relationship with God will reap benefits. (See: 7 Unexpected Scriptures to Improve Marriage)

3. Live out God’s commands with one another. Probably the most overlooked aspect of a God-guided marriage are the New Testament commands. All the “one-another” can be directly applied to a married couple. When we are told to “love one another” or to “honor one another” or to “submit to one another,” one proper application of those commands is to experience them in marriage. The Bible says very little directly about marriage, but the whole message of Scripture influences our understanding of marriage. The New Testament commands can be used as guidelines within the marital relationship.

4. Allow God to define success and failure. We are greatly influenced by our culture. What a successful marriage looks like to western society is different than what a successful relationship looks like to God. A God-guided marriage allows Him to define success and failure. Western culture defines happiness as the main goal; the Bible would identify Christ-likeness as a greater symbol of success. Society might honor money, power, and influence. Jesus would value love, sacrifice, and kindness. A God-guided marriage recognizes the temptation of culture, rejects its view of success, and follows God.

5. Continually pursue one another. One advantage of a God-guided marriage should be a higher view of the marital relationship which results in a stronger work ethic. When a marriage is directed by God, both spouses work diligently to make the marriage work. Apathy in marriage is never God-ordained. A desire to do the work, be vulnerable, learn new skills, get help, forgive, move forward, and improve is a result of God’s leadership. In part, marriage was designed for the purpose of transforming our hearts. As we experience hardship, struggles, and misunderstandings, couples guided by God see these as opportunities to identify ways that we need to change. By doing the work necessary, we not only become more like God, but also experience a growing intimacy with one another.

6. Learn from and teach others. Apart from God, it’s tempting to look at marriage as solely personal. However, a Christain always views good things as opportunities to bless others. A God-guided marriage is one which is quick to assist others by passing on what they have learned. Through support, encouragement, and frank conversations, we help others and hope they experience joy in their relationships. At the same time, we are quick to learn from others, humbly recognizing that we always have something to learn. A wise couple always has older mentors helping to show them the way, while also being quick to assist younger couples who are seeking assistance with their relationships. (See: Why You Should Pray for Your Spouse)

A God-guided marriage is different from other relationships. While outward appearances may not contrast that greatly from other marriages, the inward motivations of a couple that seeks to please God greatly differ from those who do not seek God’s glory. God’s presence in a relationship may not diminish the amount of conflict a couple experiences, but it does greatly change how that couple handles conflict. When we seek to follow God, we are more long-suffering, kind, thoughtful, compassionate, and grace-filled with our spouses. While seeking God doesn’t ensure a marriage that lasts, it is greatly correlated with those who experience a better marital outcome.


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