I didn’t get married in June.
The sky threatened snow and the lace I wore on my long-sleeved wedding dress failed to block out the cold of an early January day. Looking back, there were a few things I would have done differently. With limited resources it wasn’t possible, but had I been able to I would have purchased a beautiful white fur-lined cape to wear over my dress. I would have had more fresh flowers and not artificial ones. I might have changed colors or even picked different songs, but I would never have dreamed of choosing a different day, even though January 2 was not a very practical day for getting married. We had been dating since high school, and so the long wait for college graduation was over. Not wanting to delay it longer, and rather than being separated by even more miles, we chose to get married and begin a new life in Ft. Worth, Texas where my groom would start seminary classes just a few weeks later.
Two separate lives becoming one took on a whole new meaning as we left the familiarity of our family and friends and began our life together as husband and wife. While my scholarly husband was going to classes and studying for ministry, I got a secretarial job working in a parole office. At the time, it seemed as though our worlds were polar opposite, but looking back I can see God working in our lives to prepare us for the balancing act between the spiritual and the physical world.
“For we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
If we’re not careful we can compartmentalize our married life and live in separate worlds that never collide. If we never fill the gap in that divide our relationship will inevitably suffer. The same is true of our spiritual life when we set boundaries (maybe not even intentionally) between what we say we believe and what our actions actually demonstrate to the world around us.
Let me explain.
Prayer is a crucial part of the Christian faith. We recognize that God is sovereign over the universe, but also over our personal lives. We understand that fellowship with our Creator is foundational to the relationship we have with Him, just as communication is essential to the health and well-being of our marriage.
So here’s my point: we can spend time saying rote prayers or checking of a list of things we want or that we think will make God happy–or we can come to Him in honest confession, true adoration and heart-felt petition. My relationship with God is at it’s best when it is transparent.
“Make my life a prayer to you
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise”
This song of prayer by Keith Green was our wedding song. We both loved his gut-honest style of writing, and decided that we wanted this song to be part of our commitment to God and to each other. The depth of our relationship would be closely tied to our relationship to God. The triangle of love that marriage creates is a valid picture of how God takes two lives that, as they each grow closer to God, will grow closer to each other.
June may seem to be the best time to getting married, but in reality it would be more accurate to say that the best time to marry is only when the two are completely committed to God and completely committed to each other. Every marriage takes hard work and determination. Building a strong marriage starts with a strong foundation, and it is only with the Lord’s help that we can gain and maintain a healthy marriage. While reading and studying the Bible helps us to understand more about God and His plan for us, prayer is the key to knowing Him. It is one thing to know about God–and another thing to know Him.
I knew a lot about my husband before I married him. I knew what he liked and didn’t like and I thought I knew what made him happy. I knew his family and his friends and what he wanted to accomplish in his life. His intellect, his faith, and his integrity attracted me to him almost as much as his sense of humor.
But I didn’t really know him like I thought I did until I spent days, weeks, and then years with him.
As we experienced the ups and downs, the hardships and the joys, I learned more about his character and the depth of his faith, and his trustworthiness.
The same is true with God.
Prayer is the key that opens the door to fellowship with Him. It starts with our first confession of faith. (You can read how to know that you have SAVING FAITH, here: FAITH). Just as a marriage takes time and commitment, so does our faith in God. As we spend time in His Word and in prayer we will grow in our love for Him, and as a result will grown in our love for each other.
Much of our marriage commitment is a willingness to sacrifice and put the other person first, just as following Christ is a decision to daily elevate His will over our own. The song goes on to say,
“Well I wanna thank you know
For being patient with me
Oh it’s so hard to see
When my eyes are on me”
The best thing you can do for your marriage is to get your focus back on God. Spend time in His Word and in prayer. Maybe today you can start with this prayer:
“Father, I know that you love me and that I can trust you. I want to learn best how to love you and to love my spouse. Forgive me for any selfishness or neglect. Teach me to value my relationship with You and to treasure my marriage. Help me to do my part in showing goodness, kindness, gentleness and respect. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and give me the wisdom to walk in a way that would honor you.” Amen.
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9
*This post was shared on the Let’s Have Coffee Link-Up!