Making God the center and highest priority of your marriage may be the key to saving it, even if it’s not in trouble—yet.
How often do newlyweds excitedly affirm that God will be the heart and focus of their marriage only to find that excitement all but extinguished in short time. Sometimes it’s trial; sometimes it’s temptation; other times it’s just sheer boredom—but what once seemed an essential commitment becomes an outmoded ideal.
Part of the reason is that people honestly have no idea what it means to have a God-focused marriage. Nor do they understand the incredible freedom that accompanies it. The couple may be committed Christians, but their marriage is effectively agnostic.
What then does it look like to have a theologically grounded marriage?
God-Centered Marriage Means Knowing God
You cannot make God a priority in your marriage if you do not know who he is personally. We live in a society that is increasingly post-Christian. This creates exciting witnessing opportunities for our marriages if they are gospel-grounded. However, it also means that we cannot count on culture being our aide. Bible intake, prayer and corporate worship have never had as little value in our society as they seem to have today. But these elements are essential if we desire to have a genuine relationship with God.
We cannot know God outside of how he has revealed himself to us through his word. We cannot communicate with him outside the vehicle of Spirit-saturated prayer. We cannot experience full communion with him apart from his people. If we are to keep God at the center of marriage, we must know who he is, and that is only possible through regular access to Scripture, prayer and worship.
I cannot have God as the priority of my marriage if I will not have him as the priority of my life.
Knowing His Spirit
Knowing God means knowing his fellowship through the Holy Spirit. Christ has sent his Spirit to be with his people and to dwell in their hearts (1 Corinthians 3:16).
This means we can be free from the fear of loneliness because we are never actually alone. We no longer have to avoid conflict in order to preserve a faux fellowship. But neither are we driven to conflict in order to create a false sense of intimacy. We are able to give our spouses the freedom to be wherever they are emotionally without the fear that their hurt, fear and sadness (even joy!) may lead to our being alone. It means that we have an eternal advocate who knows our fears and pain.
Therefore, we are free from having to defend ourselves—we can take those things to the throne of grace, giving them to God—even when we don’t have the words. It means we are free from the drive to self-comfort because the divine Comforter is always in our reach. It also means that our spouses may be the means of God’s conviction of our sin. We are free to hear those places where we have hurt and scared our spouses, to learn from it, to ask forgiveness for it and to endeavor not to repeat that mistake again—even if we are relatively certain we will.