Is Christ the Center of Your Marriage

marriage-counseling

Is Christ the Center of Your Marriage

Scott Slaughter

Did you know that marriage has a mission? Marriage is not a mere sociological invention of man instituted for the propagating and stabilizing of societies. No, marriage is the covenant bond between one man and one woman before God and witnesses according to the established legal codes. It is most definitely not a mere human institution. It was instituted by Divine authority at the creation of man (Genesis 1:26-28) in the Garden of Eden. That’s right—you read correctly—Adam and Eve, the first man and woman in the actual, real Garden of Eden. Yep, I believe the Bible to be true—not ashamed of it either. 

God’s purposes for marriage are found in the Biblical accounts of its creation (Genesis 1:26-28 & 2:18-25 please read these now). Marriage has a grand design, a cosmic purpose that supersedes self, sex, and society. God Himself designed it; defined it; instituted it; regulated it and commissioned it to accomplish His specific objectives within space and time. Mankind was created to bear the image of God—to rule in God’s stead, to reflect His love and to spread His rule across the globe (Genesis 1:26-28 imago De). Man and woman were united in marriage for the propagation of God’s glory and kingdom rule through marriages that reflect Him and produce more image bearers to spread His fame across His newly created planet (Genesis 2:18-25 imago procreatix). Marriage has a mission! These purposes, which constitute a happy marriage with purpose and peace, have not been canceled nor have they been altered for the modern/post-modern age. Popular philosophies come and go but the Word of our God endures forever (1 Peter 1:22-25) - i.e., the Gospel. God is calling every husband and every wife to embrace His design and to give themselves to His purposes for their marriage. This discussion is for the purpose of having Christ as the center of your marital union. How can we work toward keeping our marriage covenant Christ-centered? 

Get Over Yourself. 

The Apostle sums his teaching in Ephesians 5 with these words, However, let each of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. As you follow hard after Christ and seek His transformation in your life do not become prideful about your spirituality. This is a subtle tactic of sin and Satan, to begin to be proud of our progress. In turn, this makes us critical of the lack of progress in our spouse. We must see that this is a lie. Our growth in Christ is not real if it is not expressed in Scriptural ways. This means that if a wife is truly growing in Christ she will demonstrate it by respecting her husband with Christ-like love and honor. It means that the husband who is really following Jesus will seek to love his wife as Christ loved the church. How much did Jesus love the church? He gave himself up for her (Ephesians 5:25). Christ gave Himself up for others. He washed the feet of His disciples. He suffered for our sakes. This is what it means to have Christ as the center of your marriage – to give yourself up as an offering for Christ’s sake and for others. Stop fighting for your way. Start giving up your life for Him (not “him” but, "Him"). 

Be a Devoted Follower of Jesus Yourself.

The single most important action you can take to have Jesus as the center of your relationship with your spouse is to be a devoted follower of Jesus yourself. Christ calls you to follow Him first. He is not interested in you changing your spouse. He desires to transform you. What does this mean? If you are a wife then it means you take passages like Ephesians 6:22-24, 33 and 1 Peter 3:1-6 and many more to heart. If you are a husband it means that you take Scripture like Ephesians 6:25-33 and 1 Peter 3:7 to be your philosophy of life. 

You cannot ask God to do in your spouse what you are unwilling to do for Christ yourself. Delight in Christ. Love Him and seek Him. Pursue Him in His Word and keep His teachings dear. Let them be your rule of life and allow your spouse to be the first one who benefits from your walk with Christ. 

Extend Christ’s Rule in Your Home.

Christ is your King. You love Him and serve Him from the heart and with your mind. Let’s assume your spouse’s heart and mind is moving in the same direction – toward Christ-likeness. What should every loyal and loving servant of a perfect and loving King desire? What was it that our Lord instructed us to pray earnestly to come (Matthew 6:10)? We should pray for and work toward the coming of His Kingdom. What believer in Jesus would argue with this proposition? Who says they love Christ but does not long for His Kingdom to come? On the other hand, do we not all struggle with how this is supposed to change us? Yes, we are to pray for His Kingdom to come but past that what can we do? Perhaps we overlook “the significant little” because we look only at “the impossible big.” We look at the world and the masses; we think of the sin and the injustice; we are overwhelmed by the sickness and death and we think – “I can pray for His Kingdom but beyond this, there is little I can do but share the gospel when there’s opening.” Once again, sin and Satan keep us paralyzed by feeding us untruth. 

The Apostle Paul teaches us that the first level of Kingdom expansion, the first stage of the missionary movement, the primary place of gospel witness is right there in your home. Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:1f). This is the point that Paul is making in Ephesians 5 & 6. It is the point that Moses is making in (Deuteronomy 6:1-9). That Kingdom expansion begins with covenant faithfulness, faithfulness to the King. How can we expect to teach the world something that we will not teach our own children and extended family? How do we expect the lost to shape their lives by His commandments when we will not do it? God is not asking you to change the world, to deliver the world from sin, to solve injustice and to restore all things. Jesus is doing that. We are not Jesus. He is the Savior. We’re called to faithfully extend His reign only as far as His providence has given us influence and our influence begins at the dinner table with our spouse and children. Satan will trick us into doing nothing because we cannot do everything. Do what you have been given to do and if Christ deems you worthy He will broaden your reach (Matthew 25:21). Extend Christ’s rule in your home. Live out His teachings in everything you do and in all your behaviors. Teach your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren Christ’s gospel and lead them to love Him as you do. Shepherd your little flock and lead them to Christ’s still waters and green pastures. 

Follow Christ in the Daily Interchange with Your Souse: 

  • Confess sins and slights, attitudes and actions that hurt or dishonor your spouse as sins against Christ (1 Peter 3:1-12).
  • Be willing to forgive and to reconcile as Christ forgave you (1 Peter 3:8-9). 
  • Honor your spouse as Christ has taught you (1 Peter 3:2, 4, 7).
  • Serve your spouse as Christ served His disciples.
  • Encourage each other in serving Jesus.
  • Discuss Scripture and use it to build each other up in Christ.
  • Pray together and with the children looking to Christ for grace.
  • Make your home a place of worship and teaching (through family time, reading, activities, music, videos, traditions, holidays & special occasions).
  • Join an evangelical, Bible teaching church.

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copyright, 2014

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