A recent conversation with a Christian bro. led to this blog, and in that the same core issues pop up again and again, I thought it might be good to pass the following along.
I fully understand several reasons -why- those not walking with the risen Christ would mock, laugh and simply toss what I am about to write in the garbage. I also get that there are believers who will write what I say off as not applicable to them.
I also understand a little bit about a lasting marriage committment which many in the world, including Christians, seem to take rather lightly if not a full-on joke these days.
So be it.
This is for those who are asking for help in seeking to live as authentic, loving disciples of Jesus Christ in married life. Elements may or may not ring true to anybody, be they people of faith or not- but here it is.
I don’t pretend to be God, nor perfect and sinless, nor to always fully walk in love and taking my own advice, but for the most part I can say by God’s grace I have lived by what I am about to write.
Know this: sadly, plenty of more loving, wise, Christ-following leaders and non-leaders than you or I have trashed their relationships with their spouse and at times their church or ministry, day-job, etc., because they blew off the following suggestions as mere law, too legalistic, too binding, old-school, not applicable to -them- and -their situation- and in general, “the Spirit led me”.
One more clarifying disclaimer: THIS IS NOT GOD’S WORD, rather the words of a man who understands sin and temptation in the context of real-world choices and a lifetime (at writing, 43 years) of marriage as well as ministry to broken people as a broken person myself.
–Pray together before a disagreement turns to a blow-out -fight the problem rather than attacking one another
–Take turns reading a daily devotional together… yes, DAILY where the Bible is key and perhaps a married-couple devo brings you both to sober care for your relationship (this is a “DUHHH” that plenty of otherwise Christian couples just shoot themselves in the foot by not doing together) Wendi and I have been using an old, in-your-face rocker called “The One Year Devotions For Couples” by David and Teresa Ferguson, and in fact are in our second year reading through this nightly -no games and about 90 percent AMEN
–Take cautious care about being alone with someone who is not your spouse -you may never be tempted to go beyond right relationship but they may be… this is rarely planned but happens all the time
–When at all possible have someone else with you, take care how often you meet and do so in public spaces
–Quietly direct the person in question to someone else to help meet their need/s -emotional entanglement leads to unscriptural behavior all too often whether opposite or same-sex attraction, understand the risks of sin are real
–If you think or they say you are their ONLY link to Jesus and their only true friend, you both have a problem -on the surface it may be true, but both of you need Jesus more than you need codependence and a possible divorce due to your lack of faith and sensible boundaries
–Due to porn, private chat rooms and other stumbling blocks or perhaps outright addictions, use the Internet in a public space (there are plenty of excellent web resources to help protect us from web nonsense such as xxxchurch.com, etc.) -use them accordingly
–Pray, find one or two godly couples (Bible knowing, loving people with both sense and guts) to build an accountability where either and both you and your spouse can text, phone, meet face-to-face for prayer and help when conflicts seem unresolvable between you as a couple
–Unresolved conflicts and lack of genuine accountability often bring one or both spouses to places of temptation as frustration sets us up for emotional, spiritual, mental and even physical attack of various sorts
–Self medicating takes different forms for different peeps but the focus is no longer God and one another, it’s self and that only adds problems to the problem
–If either of you “acts out” in unscriptural ways, choosing to not hold a grudge, to honestly apologize -and- forgive from the heart is massively important -take steps you can both “sign off on” to keep your relationship to your spouse second only to your relationship to Jesus Christ
These are guidelines, not absolutes, but we have absolutely been blessed by them.
Have I ever felt bad or needed to repent before God, my wife and others that I took such a stand? Never. Not. Even. Once.
Have my wife and I ever had to deal with struggle and mess due to not living by these guidelines? Yep.
Things to consider for Christ-honoring marital faithfulness.
As always, thanks for stopping by! -Glenn