We just finished speaking at a marriage event this weekend. We were so encouraged to see so many couples taking the time out of their weekends to work on their marriage and make it richer and more abundant in Christ. Plus, it was Valentine’s Day weekend! Now that is commitment!
It got me thinking about commitment. One of our talks this weekend was on the Covenant marriage. We compared and contrasted the covenant marriage with what we called (and our culture calls) a contract marriage. It was a great reminder for us to remember the richness and deepness of what our covenant marriage means.
John Piper gives us a great quote in his new book, This Momentary Marriage: “Our Western culture has a small, worldly, culturally contaminated, self-centered, Christ-ignoring, God-neglecting, romance-intoxicated, unbiblical view of marriage where the main idol is SELF, its main doctrine is AUTONOMY, and its central act of worship is BEING ENTERTAINED!”
How true this quote is of our culture. How much of this is you?
We need to go back to the basics. God gave us clear direction for marriage, that of a Covenant between us as a couple and Himself.
So what is a Covenant marriage? Most of us have said we desire to live this out, but we have never been taught what it really means. Pray before you read this and allow Jesus to penetrate your heart:(some excerpts taken from Covenant Marriage by Gary Chapman, and ABC)
1.) God’s design for marriage is understood to be a challenging relationship in which both partners seek to die to self and live for Christ.
2.) Both partners submit their wills and agendas to God in a desire to see His purposes prevail
3.) The success of the covenant marriage is believed to be dependent on how obedient both partners are to Christ and on their willingness to walk in the Spirit
4.) Gender differences are seen as glorious differences
5.) The couple seeks to tear down boundaries, realizing that boundaries do not reflect the unity God intends for husband and wife
6.) Poor communication is seen as primarily flowing from the heart.
7.) Problems are understood to be largely the result of sinful attitudes and actions rooted in our inherent self-centeredness and idolatry.
So if I were to look at myself, I would notice that most of the time I am not seeking to die to self and live for Christ, but seeking out what is best for ME in the relationship! Anyone else have this problem? We tend to have our own agendas rather than God’s. You? Am I willing to walk in the Spirit….some days are better than others. My goal is to be obedient to Christ, but my will takes over much of the time. Sometimes I get frustrated that my husband is a male….but shouldn’t I be looking at this from a different set of glasses and rejoicing in our differences and letting God use these differences to mold and shape us?? What about how we communicate? I notice that our communication is much better when my heart is right with God. How about yours? All marriages have problems! Jeff & my marriage works best when I am being selfless and serving my husband rather than being self-centered & selfish!
This marriage thing is a journey! Be patient and follow God hard after God……..He will make your path straight and show you how to live out your Covenant marriage! HE NEVER SAID IT WOULD BE EASY.