If you are like me, you have often asked the question, “Why do some couples seem to have such great relationships while others seem to be so miserable?” The question was so important to me that I decided to ask a number of couples who had been married for a while and still liked each other. One of the most common answers was, “If you put Jesus at the center of your relationship, it will work.” It’s hard to argue with an answer like that. How could things go wrong with Jesus at the center? That sounds like God’s plan for marriage. So, I decided to ask the logical follow-up question, “How do you do that?”
Much to my amazement, most of the couples couldn’t say how. They knew they had done it, but they had never thought to actually figure out the habits they practiced that led them to this valuable place. A few, however, had some real world marriage insight that I have found remarkably useful in my own relationship.
4 Ways to Discover God’s Plan for Marriage
1. Use Prayer
Begin every decision-making conversation with prayer. James 1:5 makes the incredible offer, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” The Holy Spirit loves to share God’s wisdom with those who are willing to hear it.
2. Look To Bring Life
Ask if the decisions you’re about to make will bring life. Our lives are inundated with choices and every choice either adds life to our marriages or detracts from our oneness. The Holy Spirit will always direct us to decisions that bring life. Deuteronomy 30:19 is a good reminder of the nature of our choices: “I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”
3. Seek Unity Through The Holy Spirit
Ask the Holy Spirit about God’s plan for marriage and to lead both of you to the same conclusions. Ephesians 4:2-3 presents a big goal for our marriages, “Be completely humble and gentle … Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
4. Be Still And Listen
Listen to what the Holy Spirit is trying to communicate to you rather than being a conduit for what you think He wants to say to your spouse.
Pam and I are currently seeking the Holy Spirit’s wisdom on the role of technology in our relationship. There are no verses in the Bible that discuss Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, text messaging or blogs. We don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to bring life to our love with these powerful new tools, but we also don’t want to be ruled by something that was only meant to be a tool. We have different rhythms when it comes to social media, so it would be easy to complain about each other rather than confer with one another. So we are praying, seeking and listening for a plan that will bring more life to our love.
I am not sure what else the Holy Spirit will communicate to me, but He has made it clear I ought to take my wife to bed more often than I take my phone! So far, using these tips to help keep Jesus as the focal point of our relationship and to live God’s plan for marriage has been a great success.
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