Unity in Marriage
by Michelle Adams
Faithfully Fit Morning Instructor
“Life is like a roller coaster”…we’ve all heard this expression from time to time, huh?! When asked to write on unity in marriage, that was the first thing that came to my mind. Relationships in life are sometimes hard, even complicated, and I would say marriage is on the TOP of that list!
Now, I will speak from a woman’s perspective since I am one, after all, and because we are a group of women in Faithfully Fit.
I have always felt a strong desire to “submit” to my husband – even before I was saved. God put that desire in my heart at a very early age. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (All I wanted to do when I “grew up” was to get married, have kids (LOTS of kids!!) and be a stay-at-home mom/wife. He has surely given me the desires of my heart and I feel so incredibly blessed each and every day.
I prayed for my husband, Mike, long before we even met. We have been married almost 16 years now (in October), and we have been walking with God together for 14 years. We have attended many bible studies and seminars/retreat weekends on marriage. I can tell you, it is a constant journey, but we are both committed to each other, but most importantly, to God first.
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:33)
In the last two years I have seen a few marriages fall apart. Statistically, we are reaching the age where this happens, as 50% of all marriages end in divorce. WOW! 50% is too high! I feel the number one culprit is selfishness (pride) taking hold of our spirit… with a great lack of love and respect.
“1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2)
Early in our marriage, I had someone say to me, “Humble yourself… put him (your husband) above yourself and do something, especially in time of anger/frustration, to bless him. Compliment him, do something for him without being asked that will cause you to rise above the situation. If it is hard, pray and ask God to give you the peace, and will to do what is ‘right’ in His eyes.” Sometimes that is the HARDEST thing in the world to do, but in prayer, God gives me the strength, peace and grace to go against my “flesh” and honor Him (and my husband) J.
An excerpt from Focus on the Family’s “the art of marriage”
In the valleys of our “roller coaster”, it is important to stay connected. Some ways to do so are:
· Spend time reading the Word of God both individually and as a couple, particularly the book of Psalms.
· Pray together. Use scriptures to enrich your prayer time.
· Journaling is a concrete way to express to God how you feel and helps a spouse understand your struggle.
· Worship corporately with other believers, even when you don’t feel like it.
· Join a small group so that others can support and encourage you as you walk through the difficult time.
· Choose to find joy in other areas of life, and verbalize a thankful heart. Make a list of things you are thankful for. True joy in a family is caught not taught.
· Go away together as a couple and regroup. Some things can’t be sorted out in the midst of children, jobs and routine.
· Embrace the Holy Spirit as your Comforter, and allow Him to work as you rest.
· Verbalize your choice to make your attitude better, not bitter.
· Ask for help from trusted friends or a counselor.
This is such a deep topic, and it could be written about and discussed in great length; however, I will leave you with this opportunity… my home church, Valley Community Church, has a ministry (Longview Retreat) created by a wonderful couple, Joe and Jane Brown. They have taken their beautiful family farm and are using it to glorify God in such an amazing way. They hold 1 ½ day marriage seminars throughout the year. They pamper and love on their participants in such a godly way, and in the process provide couples with life-changing tools to guide and grow their marriages. Mike and I have been blessed to participate and serve with Joe and Jane in this ministry and would love to tell you more, if you are interested. They also offer one-on-one marriage counseling with individual couples and pre-marital counseling.
“And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:14)