February 1, 2019
The fact that people don’t know how to do family well is one of the biggest causes of dysfunction in the world! Recently, I’ve been sharing about the societal effects of our fatherless generation. I propose that the restoration of family and marriages will change the world, define destinies, and alter the course of history. The foundation of a healthy family starts with the culture, connection, and covenant built by the mother and father through marriage.
I’ve been married to the woman of my dreams for 43 years, and we’ve been together for 48 years total. People often ask me how Kathy & I have stayed together so long. Today I want to share some core values of marriage that we’ve learned along the way.
4 Foundations for a Successful Marriage
1) Be humble and put your spouse first. This may go without saying but I think it’s still worth addressing. Marriage means you have come into a relationship to lay down your life for another person. In fact, marriage is a death march to a life camp! It’s choosing to die to yourself every day for the sake of loving another. Philippians 2:3-4 puts its well: “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
2) Regardless of trials, your spouse should be your closest friend, your greatest ally, your most bonded companion, and your covenant partner for life. I think that many people marry, but they never merge! The truth is that from the beginning of creation God intended for marriage to be two people becoming one. Genesis 2:23-24 says, “The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.’ For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” When trials come, it’s important that you stay connected, as one. Hard times can either bond you or break you depending on whether you cleave to each other OR leave one another. Take the opportunity to grow closer to each other. Instead of disconnecting in the midst of difficult seasons, make sure you’re communicating to your spouse, “I’m with you.”
3) Don’t rely on fun and happiness to produce love in your marriage. They are the fruit of good choices but not the goal itself! This in itself may not be easy to hear, but a great marriage will take hard work. Successful marriages don’t just “happen.” Instead, they’re the result of daily choices to love each other.
Something I consider as a foundation of a great marriage is this practice: do what you do “when you feel like it” when you DON’T. In other words, whatever you do for your spouse when you feel “lovey dovey,” do that even when you’re not in the mood. This is what it looks like to have character and choose someone everyday, instead of basing your commitment and covenant on your feelings. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: feelings are great servants but terrible masters. If we relegate our love for a spouse to our feelings, then we relegate our marriages to be thrown around by the winds of life. Love is not a feeling! It does connect and inspire feelings, but it’s not one in itself.
4) Remember that it’s not your spouse’s job to make you happy, because happiness is an inside job. The word “happy” is used 80 times in the New Testament and not once does it have anything to do with marriage. This all being said, the greatest joys of my life have been found in marriage and my family! But joy and happiness are not the same thing. Jesus promised us joy, which is based in Him and knowing what’s on the other side of trials.
Kathy is the most giving person I know, but my greatest joys in marriage aren’t from the ways that she has served me, but rather the ways that I’ve been able to love her. I delight in watching her with her horses; she runs and laughs with them and when she comes back she can’t wait to tell me all about them. I love to think that I was able to do something for her that makes her come alive. There’s something powerful about engaging and loving people at their point of passion instead of your own; it’s truly beautiful to be able to love like this.
Love Better Than You Have Before
Today I pray for a revelation of keys to a great marriage to be dropped in your spirit, and I release grace over you to love better than you ever have before. I encourage you to take a look at your heart and ask God to help reveal any ways that you could lay down your life for your spouse. It may not be easy, but I promise it’s worth it. Do you have other core values for your marriage? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!
Topics: All TopicsMarriage