Marriage is a sacred union between a man and a woman. In fact, the Bible tells us that we were all created in the image of the one-and-only Almighty God who happens to know that being in a relationship is the ultimate expression of love. We see this in the trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and when God created Adam and his female companion, Eve (Gen. 2:18).
From the beginning of time, a man and a woman joined together as one in marriage has brought glory to God. However, too many marriages have lost this foundational piece. Couples may be willing to stand before God and make promises to each other for the rest of their lives at their wedding ceremony; but all too often, once they officially begin their “Mr. and Mrs.” lives together, God gets left at the altar.
When God is not a foundational part of the marriage, then the couple’s relationship becomes vulnerable to anything that can bring it down or tear it apart. For instance, the beliefs that “everything will be easy now that I am one with my soulmate” or “my spouse can make me happy,” show there are already signs of trouble. No one can find true wholeness or happiness apart from God! We were created to be in relationship with Him and with others.
With God at the center, a marriage can stand the test of time. A solid marriage is a testament to supernatural strength and irrevocable love that can withstand anything thrown its way (Ecc. 4:12). Think of a three-cord strand and how much stronger it is than if it was only a single or even double-corded strand. If you are unsure about cord strength, just talk to rock climbers to see what gear they prefer to use!
When we include the Heavenly Father in the center of our marriage, we are forming a three-corded stand between ourselves, our spouse and God. There is much comfort that comes when we allow God to be that third cord that binds our strand-of-life together. Mark 10:9 says, “Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
So, instead of standing at the altar with your fingers crossed hoping that everything will work out, consider the fact that there is a loving Creator in heaven who knows you and your spouse better than anyone else, and together, you three could be rock-solid force for life!
Here are the elements of God-centered marriage:
- Having a mutual relationship with Jesus
A God-centered marriage is like a triangle with you and your spouse at each bottom corner with Jesus at the top. The more you and your spouse look to Jesus and know Him personally, the more intimate you two can become. You see, a marriage only becomes God-centered when a couple chooses devotion to God above all else. A committed marriage does not prevent the schemes from Satan, our spiritual enemy; but can, in fact, amplify spiritual attacks since the Devil is in the business of killing, stealing and destroying (John 10:10). Therefore, it is vital that both husband and wife are growing in their walk with Jesus and keeping one another accountable so that they are being directed by the Holy Spirit to combat Satan’s schemes. The purpose of your marriage should be to glorify God in all aspects of your life together.
- Serving one another
We often hear the teamwork involved in a marriage is split 50/50, and as long as each one is pulling his/her weight, then everything will be okay. In actuality, however, a God-centered marriage is 100/100. With each spouse always giving 100 percent and intentionally serving one another in love, this mindset removes the expectation of who should do what or what one expects from the other. Instead, the marriage relationship becomes a true partnership. Selfishness and laziness are the enemies of a good, healthy, God-centered marriage because a marriage should be a reflection of Jesus in the way He chose to serve others. Jesus shows the most beautiful picture of how to serve one another when He chose to wash his disciples’ feet through humble service (John 13:14). A God-centered marriage goes beyond a “me” mindset; in fact, the more we serve Jesus and our spouse, the more we can find true, selfless joy and deep satisfaction in life.
- Forgiving quickly
As much as it may be hard to believe when you are head-over-heels in love, marriage consists of two imperfect humans, also known as sinners. Although they may be redeemed through belief in Jesus, everyone frequently battles selfish tendencies. We are all a work in progress, and since we are not perfect, there will be times when words, attitudes, actions, or even looks will offend. In those moments, you can choose to forgive and let go or you can choose to be a victim and hold onto resentment. When we hold onto offenses, that bitterness begins to rise up, and a marriage cannot survive on unforgiveness and festered bitterness. Ephesians 4:32 is the perfect mantra to have in marriage because not only should we be kind and compassionate, but also forgiving, especially since we all imperfect and in need of grace.
- Communicating clearly
When God made man and woman, He did not create them to be an emotionless presence occupying the same space; He created humans to fellowship, or bond through communication. Communicating consists of two people coming together to not only speak but to listen also; it is a time to share your heart and to hear the heart of your spouse. True communication often involves vulnerability, which adds to the intimacy and bond between a couple. James 1:19 states that we need to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. You see, when a couple practices communicating effectively, an otherwise heated argument can be quickly extinguished and resolved without causing additional hurt.
- Loving well
In order to fully love someone, you have to be willing to live selflessly, which means putting another person’s needs and wants before your own. We see this type of sacrificial love when God sent His son Jesus to die for us so that we can have eternal life with Him in heaven (John 3:16). True, sacrificial love desires the very best for others just like Jesus does for us. As we see in 1 Corinthians 13:5, love does not dishonor others, and it is not self-seeking. A God-centered marriage seeks to not only communicate with a word but through loving actions.
The world is going to try to pull our minds and hearts every which way, but as long as you keep Jesus the focus of your marriage, it can flourish and bring glory to Almighty God.