In the history of the couples with whom we’ve worked, and in our own marriage, the health and vitality of the marital relationship rises and falls on how central this one perspective is in a couple’s marriage. It comes from the book of Proverbs in the Bible. In fact, it’s really the overarching theme of the entire book on wisdom. Here’s the verse that we believe carries the key to what matters most in marriage:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge….” (Proverbs 1:7a)
Stick with us for a moment. “Fear” in this context doesn’t mean cowering and afraid. In the original language (Hebrew) it can also mean a reverential awe and respect.
Let’s take that verse and contextualize it for marriage: “When the two of you live with a reverent awe of God and align your relationship under His complete leadership, you will have insight into your relationship, wisdom in your priorities, and unity in your values.” Quite simply, staying centered means keeping your relationship with Christ actively central in your marriage.
So how do we live this out in our marriages? As a couple, we would encourage you to ask yourselves that very question. You will probably come up with more (and better!) answers than we present. Here are four keystone habits to build your marriage with what matters most:
Having a reverent awe of God isn’t just lip-service, it is choosing to be fully devoted followers of Jesus. When you choose to keep your eyes on Jesus, you not only grow to love Him more, you fall more deeply in love with each other as well.
As a couple, talk about areas of your marriage that may not be aligned with what you know of the Bible or have learned. It may be in the area of purity, serving, giving to your local church, possessions or contentment. Whatever God reveals to you two, make the unified decision to be wholly devoted to Jesus.
Remind each other of God’s love and grace. Tell you mate that, “He has made you unique, special, cherished and prized.” Tell them often that you love the way God made them. Declare that Jesus has a plan and future for them and for you as a couple. Let your spouse hear you pray for God’s blessings on them and on your marriage. Doing these things will inject hope into your marriage.
You two have the opportunity through the dailyness of life to re-focus your partner’s confidence on The Anchor and The Foundation of your lives–Jesus Christ. When life hits hard, when discouragement settles in, or depression hovers like a storm cloud, you can remind each other that God loves you, sees your struggles, and will carry you through. Remember Psalm 23? “Even though I go through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me….” It’s true in every aspect of your lives and marriage!
When we are staying centered on God, we don’t take Him for granted. Instead, we make choices to actively pursue knowing Him. This means that together you get connected to a local, Biblically based church. Commit to faithful and regular attendance. Make the decision to pray together. Begin to read the Bible. YouVersion is a free Bible app with some simple reading plans to encourage consistent scripture reading.
You will grow and thrive as you stay centered on Christ and build your marriage!