I’ve been working on writing a Biblestudy for about a year. It’s on marriage and I may never finish it, but while I dig around in scripture I’m struck again and again by the similarities between building an intimate relationship with God and cultivating a good marriage. Here are a few of the nuggets I’ve gathered.
1. We’re told from the moment we accept the call to become followers of Christ, that as we learn to trust more and more in Who God is, we will grow into a “oneness” with Him. Hard to explain, but it’s like a heart, soul and mind-meld with Almighty God; a getting His Spirit all mixed up in your own. Isn’t this like marriage which begins with belief and trust in another human soul to the point that you let down all your guards, allowing yourself to know and be known. It’s incredibly vulnerable, but mysteriously unifying.
2. As believers and seekers we are encouraged to daily read our Bibles, pray, and spend “quiet time” alone with God. Meditatin
g on all God’s good qualities and attributes comes naturally as we learn about Who He is through the pages of scripture.
This is another great key to marriage. Time spent with your other half (daily if possible), learning, listening, trying to understand how they think and why they think that way…. this is so helpful. We naturally presume the best or worst of our spouse. Starting with a presumption that they love us, brings loving responses from us. Meditating on all their good qualities and good attributes will breed further positive thoughts and opinions in our minds.
3. Another step in spiritual growth is opening ourselves up to change. Jesus challenged, throw off the old self and take on a totally new self. Successful marriage certainly requires becoming something new, it challenges a huge dying to one’s “all-for-me” attitude and adopting a new “all-for-you” status. The example given us is Christ and the church. What did He do? He died for “her” and in return nothing was held back from Him. Total submission, it’s a 100% of me and mine for you… no matter the cost. A radical idea. No wonder Jesus said, “…But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.” Matthew 19: 12, Message
4. Followers are encouraged to get involved in some sort of fellowship with other believers. Putting ourselves in a place with like-minded folks who encourage us to grow and learn really helps. Every couple needs this. We all need encouragement to stay in there and keep fighting for this amazing union God has created. We need married folks running along side us. Anyone “for” our marriage is a plus and those who aren’t need to back off. I believe in getting all the help I can… It’s not easy being selfless.
5. My favorite is the amazing HOPE we told to take hold of that others don’t have. It’s the one thing that makes following Jesus different from following anything else. It’s awesome Hope in being loved, forgiven, and lavished with grace. It’s that long-standing belief that Jesus really iscoming back to take us somewhere amazing and beautiful for all eternity! For the married couple this translates: hope for tomorrow. It’s a confident trust that things willget better because God has promised to work everything for our good. It’s also the deep rooted assurance that He walks before us smoothing the way, ready to meet our every need.
6. Lastly, finding the opportunity to serve others offers our hope to someone else. Jesus told us to go and make more followers of Him. Our marriages are constant examples, like it or not, good or bad, to those around us. When someone loses hope in their marriage or mate, it’s nearly impossible to find it again by themselves. They need to hear God is for their union and where you have made your own mistakes. They may need to hear that our pro-marriage God is still the One Who “brings the dead back to life and Who creates new things out of nothing.” Romans 4:17. Healing is always apossibility with Christ.
Hope is so very vital, especially for marriages. The Bible is full of treasure for every relationship. Each day I discover something new to put to use. I challenge you to read God’s Word in light of what it has to say to you as a wife. May you be richly blessed. -Anna