The world presents a much different view of marriage than what God intended. The best efforts and wisdom of humans cannot begin to hold a candle to what God has designed. Human perceptions of marriage are abundantly available to us. They are modeled and presented to us every day through well-meaning friends, family members, television “reality” shows and sitcoms, movies, self-help books, even talk show “experts” like Oprah!
The model of a God-centered marriage is not readily available and is often counter-cultural. As Christians, it is easy for us to get pulled into living a “self-centered” marriage (what’s in this marriage for ME?) as opposed to a “God-centered” marriage (what’s GOD’S intention of marriage for me?). Here are three ways to grow in a Christ-centered marriage:
- Cultivate your personal relationship with God – As with any relationship, we grow our relationship with God to the degree we invest time in our relationship with him. This comes from spending quiet time with the Lord in prayer and reading his Word. We are all on a spiritual journey. God wants to speak with each of us in personal ways. We need to learn and understand who God truly is in a very real and personal way in order for him to impress upon us the path he wants for us to follow. The Bible tells us,
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” ~ Ephesians 2:10
Are you performing the “good works” God prepared for you? The only way to know and do the work God has for us is to spend regular time with him.
- Pray Together as a couple – It is not only important to have an individual prayer life together, but you should also pray together as a couple. Have a regular time that you pray together as a couple in the good times, and it will be natural to come together in prayer in times when you are struggling. Approach God together with any big decisions you need to make and ask for him to make clear the path you should take.
When you pray together, be open and honest. Ask your spouse how you can be praying for them, and share with them how you want them to be praying for you. Praying together is one of the most intimate things you can do together because you are bearing your souls to one another. There is valid research that shows the greater a couple’s spiritual commitment, the more satisfying their sexual relationship…another special gift from God!
- Have spiritual discussions – Another way to bring God into the center of your relationship in a more meaningful way is to have conversations with your spouse about your relationship with God and your beliefs. Here are three questions you can use to stimulate conversation with your spouse:
- When were you most changed in your relationship with Christ?
- Whose life has been changed because of your Christian influence?
- What does it mean to make Jesus Lord of your life?
The strongest and happiest marriages are between couples who have learned how to bring Christ into the center of their marriages. After all, God was the inventor of marriage, he is also the perfecter of marriage!