What Is Most Valuable in a Marriage
By Gina Smith
“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” - 1 Chronicles 16:11
Our son had recently gotten engaged when we asked him how he was feeling about getting married. “Are you nervous?” I asked. Although he wasn’t really nervous, having been in a relationship with his fiancé for over 5 years, he said he did notice many of the young couples he knew didn’t really enjoy marriage. He wondered why it was that way.
My son has always been discerning. It’s one of the qualities I love most about him. But on this particular day I was saddened by what he had observed. If I’m being honest, I’d have to say that I have observed the same thing.
In the same way that every relationship can be difficult, marriage can be challenging. Obviously, marriage is different than any other relationship, but I wonder if we can make it harder than it has to be.
What Matters More in a Relationship? Transparency, Community, Accountability – Or the Presence of God?
We live in a day and age where transparency, community, and accountability are what we are encouraged to pursue. And although, in and of themselves, they are important principles, what I am finding is that these values often become the focus and aren’t always used as a means of directing each other to seeking the presence of God.
When the focus becomes transparency, rather than God, there is a danger of speaking carelessly and heedlessly, forgetting to apply biblical principles to how we speak.
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. - Colossians 4:6
Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips! - Psalm 141:3
Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. - Titus 2:7-8
"Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God..." - Ecclesiastes 5:2
When the focus becomes community, rather than God, there is a danger of focusing on people, relying on others to meet my needs in a way that they were never meant to do.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…” - Matthew 6:33
“Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!” 1 Chronicles 16:11
“God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1
“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths”- Proverbs 3:6
When our focus is set on being accountable chiefly to other people, rather than to God, there is a danger of looking to and depending on people and forgetting we are first accountable to an all-powerful God, who is ever-present and all-knowing.
“So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” 2 Corinthians 5:10
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.” Matthew 12:36
Our first and most important responsibility is to pour out our heart to God before we pour out our heart to a person or group of people. To seek His face before we call a friend. To know his Word, to fellowship with Him, and to allow him to renovate our hearts and renew our minds. Then, not only are we able to live in biblical community, practicing what the Bible calls us to do as members of the body of Christ, but we are able to view our spouses in the way that God views them, and we are able to live the presence of God in our marriages.
When we are in the Word and our mind is being renewed, we are being changed from the inside out. That change can only come from spending time in the presence of God. We will only see our spouses through eyes of grace if we have taken the time to know God's heart and if we ask God to give us the eyes to see our spouses in that same way.
Have you spent time on your knees asking God to help you see your spouse through eyes of grace? Have you asked God to help you learn how He desires for you treat your spouse? His presence is what will cause our marriages to become a blessing and not a burden.
Gina Smith is a writer and author, and currently writes for crosswalk.com, ibelieve.com, is a mentor and writer for Million Praying Moms , and is a devotional writer for the Million Praying Moms – Pray The Word Journal. Gina also runs a private, online encouragement group for moms of boys called “The MOB Society.“ Gina recently authored her first book “Grace Gifts: Practical Ways To Help Your Children Understand God’s Grace.“ You can also find her at the “Million Praying Moms” Podcast and on MOB Live!
You can find Gina at her personal blog ginalsmith.com.
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