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Over the course of our marriage, my husband and I have realized how important it is to keep Christ at the center of our marriage. If we’re close to Christ, our marriage is stronger as a result. When we don’t nurture that primary relationship (us and God), our relationship as husband and wife suffers.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 reminds us:
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
We are stronger together, as husband and wife. But we are at our strongest when we are interwoven with Christ.
It sounds simple enough, in theory.
But then life enters the equation.
We get busy, we forget, we distract ourselves with less than edifying things. The drift away from our Lord and Savior is usually slow and insidious. Too subtle to even notice at first.
And then the bickering starts. The ungrateful attitudes. The angry words and insults. The silence and hurt feelings.
Unforgiveness. Discontent. Temptation.
And we wonder, “How did this happen? How am I so far from my husband?”
“How am I so far from God?”
The drift is usually passive.
Keeping Christ at the center of your marriage has to be an active choice. It’s a daily commitment to die to self and strive to become more like Him in every way.
So what does this look like in day to day life?
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Here are some practical ways for you and your husband to keep Christ at the center of your marriage:
Pray together and for each other.
Make time for this one, no matter what, every single day. Praying out loud for each other and for your marriage will bond you together. Be thankful, confess areas of weakness, ask the Lord to draw you nearer to Him and nearer to one another. As you open your hearts to the Lord together, you will discover an ever deeper intimacy with your husband.
I’ve found the book The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian to be really helpful in learning how to pray for my husband. She has a chapter dedicated to each of the different areas of marriage, from temptation to your husband’s health. Some days, I pray through the entire book in one sitting. Other days, I choose one or two prayers that seem the most pressing. I’ve also asked my husband which areas he would like me to pray for and then I focus on those. Stormie’s book has helped me to become much more purposeful in my prayer life for my husband.
Study the Bible Together
Make time each day to read a verse or a chapter in the Bible together. And don’t just read it and move on. Talk about it. What did you learn from it? How does it impact your lives? What can you do differently as a result of what you read? If you have kids, let them see you studying the Word together, just the two of you. And then be sure to do this with them as well. Make Bible study a normal part of family time.
Don’t Waste Precious Time on Unedifying Things
Don’t watch TV shows that are unhealthy. Don’t read romance novels or view pornographic images. So many things in the media these days will only serve to draw your attention away from Christ (and away from your spouse). Avoid anything that normalizes, and even glorifies, premarital/extramarital sex, drug use, dishonesty, and anything with nudity. Don’t waste time on negative, hurtful comments on social media.
Instead, Fill Your Day with Edifying Activities
Have a few minutes to read? Instead of scrolling through your social media feed, download a devotional app and read from that. Listen to upbeat Christian music around the house and in the car. If you want to watch a movie, choose a Christian movie or at least one that is family friendly.
I don’t have to tell you how precious each minute of your day is. Make sure you’re using that time to focus on things that nourish your relationship with the Lord rather than draw you away from Him.
Find a Church and Get Rooted in Community
Find a solid Bible-based church home and get involved together! If they have groups that meet in homes (sometimes called House Churches or Life Groups), join one. Learn what it’s like to “do life” with other Christians on a regular basis. Find prayer and accountability partners. Join a Bible study. If all you do is go to church on Sunday, you are missing out on so many awesome opportunities for growth in your relationship with the Lord!
Getting involved ensures that you and your husband will have a steady stream of accountability, encouragement, and healthy, Christ-centered activity in your life. If you start to pull away from God, odds are someone is going to notice and say, “Hey, is everything okay? Let’s talk.”
Drifting away from God is done much more easily in isolation. Don’t give yourselves that option!
If you get involved in a church, odds are opportunities to serve others will fall into your lap. As a couple (and as a family), there are so many ways to help others! You can collect food and clothing to donate to the needy, serve food at a soup kitchen, volunteer for a renovation project, complete walks/runs for charity organizations, and so many other amazing things!
Serving together allows you to demonstrate the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), show Christ-like love to others, and to bond together as you glorify Him.
Give Up Your Idols
Often, we think of idols as just being little wooden statues. And we think, okay I don’t have any of those so I don’t have any idols in my life. But, the truth is, an idol can be anything that is not God. Think of the things that take up the most time in your day or that occupy most of your thoughts. These are the things that you may be idolizing. Money, your job, your spouse, your kids, hobbies, friends. It could be anything really.
God is very clear about His stance on idol worship:
“You shall have no other gods before me” Exodus 20:3.
“No one can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24).
So by giving up your idols, does that mean to give away all of your money or leave your spouse and kids?
Of course not.
It simply means to start viewing everything else as secondary to God. When thinking of other things, consider them in the context of what God wants from you and what He wants in your life.
What does God say about stewardship of your money and how can you implement this in your budget? What does the Bible say about marriage and how can you be a more Christ-like wife? What is God’s view of hard work and how can you apply that at your job?
View everything in your life through the lens of Christ to ensure that you don’t take on any idols.
You cannot just sit by and hope that Christ will remain at the center of your marriage. As we live in a fallen world, our natural tendency is towards sin. Left to our own devices, that’s where we will end up every single time.
You must actively fight against this if you want to remain close to God and your husband. None of these things are going to happen on their own.
If you think you don’t have time to do these things, consider the amount of time you spend each day on social media. Or texting your friends. Or watching TV.
Think about the amount of time spent dealing with the problems in your marriage that result from drifting away from Christ. How much better would it be to invest that time in developing a strong, abiding relationship with Him?
The truth is, we make time for what’s important to us. Make a commitment to actively keep Christ at the center of your marriage every single day!
Now I’d love to hear from you! What do you and your husband do to keep your marriage Christ-centered?