In 2015 I (Brad) was with a team of 11 others from our church on a missions trip to the jungles of Guatemala. We went to work with Faith in Action Ministries founded and led by Michael and Rocky Beene. They are dear friends of ours and have lived in Guatemala almost 30 years reaching the unreached mountain and jungle tribes for Jesus.
Michael and Rocky have raised four children on the mission field, faced numerous threats on their lives, and lived by faith trusting God for their provision and protection. Their motto is to “give them a reason not to kill you so you can share the Gospel.”
At the end of our week I decided to probe into what they believe are keys to build a strong marriage. I think you’ll appreciate what they said:
Find your joy and satisfaction in life first and foremost in God. If you expect your spouse to be the bringer of all of your joy and satisfaction, it will lead to disappointment due to unmet expectations. God never disappoints and your marriage will be more stable with Him at the foundation.
2) Don’t try to change your spouse
Ultimately they will have to stand before God one day as will you. You can pray for them to change, but you take them as they are. Trying to change your spouse is about trying to control your spouse.
3) Practice grace
Have grace to overlook and forgive. Use wisdom in what to say and where to hold back. Show each other unconditional favor just as God shows us. Forgive each other and see each other as lovable and look at the positive. In the law you want your spouse fixed. In grace you thank God for who they are.
4) Perceptions matter
Being right or wrong is not the most important factor, but the perception of your spouse is important. What are THEY perceiving? If they are offended you have to perceive what they are feeling and experiencing vs. you declaring that you are right.
So many are successful in ministry and business but fail in their marriage and family. It has been important to bring each other (and our children) into what we are doing. Let them in on what you do at work. Invite their opinion. Share your burdens and your blessings and let those bonds connect you tighter in your relationship.
What else would you add to Michael and Rocky’s list? Share them below and be intentional as you build your marriage!