In my post, The Standard of Love, I spoke of a relationship within marriage where God is in the center and Jesus is Lord. But how do we get to that point? Is it something we simply accept and move forward, or is there more to it than that?
One of the most important aspects of marriage, which is number two out of ten (in no particular order) is placing God in the center of our marriages. The first step in understanding this concept is looking at our marriages in a brutally honest manner (nothing else would make sense) and seeing what is currently at the center.
We would obviously expect it to be “God”, right? But before we jump to that response, let’s take a closer look. When Gwen and I did this many years ago, we realized that there were a number of things at the center of our marriage over a span of time that weren’t supposed to be there. Sometimes the things that take the place of “dead center” are surprising.
In the midst of trying to go to school (to build a better life with your spouse) or work your way up the corporate ladder (to give your family everything you want them to have) or battle an illness, it is difficult to prevent those things from occupying most of your life. And when urgent issues arise as they sometimes do, life naturally begins to revolve around them instead of God.
So how do we prevent that from happening and be certain that God is in the center? As you may imagine, the answer is not an easy fix, but it is a sure one that builds a marriage, a romance, and a relationship with God that will shape us into who we need to be to carry out His plan.
It is important for us to spend time together with our husbands or wives in prayer, reading God’s Word, meditating on and discussing scripture, and growing in Him as a couple. But it is equally important for us to each spend regular time with the Lord in prayer and studying scripture with Him separately, away from each other. That close, personal relationship with Him is essential for a strong, romantic, passionate marriage to grow. We each come closer and closer to God through Christ, then bring that deepened relationship with Him back to the marriage, making it central to everything we do.
So here is the picture—Refocus. We each spend regular quiet time with the Lord in prayer and studying His Word. We then come together, again on a regular basis, and spend time studying His Word and praying as a couple. That takes the focus of the distractions of life and the “urgent” away from things and onto God, forging a bond between us as a couple, with God in the center and Jesus as Lord.
In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul is explaining this in the context of marriage as he says,
Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
Paul understood how the distractions of life can so easily shift our focus and place Christ on the periphery instead of the center of our lives and marriages. This is an insidious change we don’t even see coming until it’s too late.
If you find yourself with the focus of your life and marriage on something other than God and Jesus Christ, you are not alone. Be assured that this can change—it is fixable but it requires action on our part. We need to realize that God must be in the center of our marriages and families. Once He is securely there and we are continually nurturing our relationship with him and our spouse, the marriage and the romance will begin to blossom in unimaginable ways. .
In addition, our focus on life will change and those distractions won’t have the power over us they at one time did. We will be confident that, with God in the center of our lives and marriages, we need not fear the storms that rage against us. Our marriage will grow stronger, our romance will deepen, and our passion for each other and for God will be evident to all. In this way the world will see Christ in us, and our love and respect for each other will not go unnoticed.
Next time we’ll look at the third item in the list of the ten most important things for a good marriage.
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