I know that it is uncommon for me to post two nights in a row. After all, I like to give the post a day or two to get as many views as possible before moving on to the next topic. However, I have a strong feeling that I need to finish this topic this week and I will be out of town for the weekend, so here we are.
We have come down to the last post in this series. We have finally counted down to what I believe is the number 1 thing that makes marriage work. I know that by the title, you may be wondering where we are headed with this particular topic, but believe me when I say that it is the single most important aspect of my marriage. So, no more delays- the number one thing that makes marriage work is keeping God at the center of the relationship. Now, before you click off this article thinking that I am giving a “church” answer, I challenge you to hear me out. I realize that I may have some readers who do not prescribe to a belief in the Almighty Creator, but honestly, are you really surprised I went here? This is more than a church answer. This is a foundation. This is the fundamental reason I believe that my marriage has survived. My wife is an infinitely better person than I am, but not even she could survive the train wreck that is typically me for the past 12 years. My natural tendency is to drive people away with my personality. There is a reason that I don’t have very many “close” friends. Without a foundation built around God, without seeking His will for our lives, and without looking to Him for guidance, we would both be left with just ourselves and our own personalities fighting for the center of the relationship.
When we are constantly fighting for the center, the relationship becomes about whoever happens to be in the middle. This is a chemical mixture that produces bad relationships. One sided relationships lead one of two places- it either leads to a wrecked marriage or to a marriage that is solely dominated by one person, a marriage that is defined by only one person’s goals, dreams, and aspirations. This is not what marriage was meant to be. In Mark 10:6-9 it says,
“But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, man must not separate.”
When we are married, we become one- one flesh, one life, one heartbeat. We do not become the heartbeat of merely one of the lives involved. As a married couple, Jan and I have taken on each others passions, plans, desires, and aspirations. What she desires to accomplish, I strive to help here achieve and whatever I dream to do, she supports it without waiver. I’m sorry to burst anyone’s bubble about their ability to be selfless, but that kind of generosity and care does not come naturally to any human. It is only through keeping God at the center, only by looking to Him, and only striving to bring praise, honor, and glory to Him that we are able to steer clear of selfish ambition and undermining tendencies to self promote. Some people even think they can put their children at the center of their lives and achieve this, but I can speak from experience, that only produces children that are entitled and undisciplined because they have been made into an idol and have been put in the situation of filling a role they were never meant to fill and are destined to fail. You see, when we put God at the center, not only does He keep our egos in check, He pours down His love on the marriage and it is that love that each spouse is able to reflect and give out to their spouse, children, and friends. No human is capable of that feat because we are sinfully flawed.
When we look at marriage, we must see past our spouse and our kids and look to the one who anointed the union in the first place. Marriage is an institution given to us by God, an institution that gives man a helper in the upkeep and building of God’s Kingdom. It began with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and it continues today. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you.” Are we seeking God to not only be the center of the universe, but the center of OUR universe? Trust me, when it comes to healthy and successful marriages, three is not a crowd.
In Christ Alone,
Rev. Bro. Coach