Did you know you can gauge the temperature of your marriage based on your relationship with God?
I saw these two images a couple of days ago. While they aren’t the prettiest, they do get the point across.
What causes us to move toward God and each other or away?
Our culture has become a microwave culture.
Today, with just a few keystrokes or taps on your smartphone, you can find thousands or millions of answers to almost any question. All in less than a few seconds.
If you’re hungry, you can pop something into a microwave and be ready to eat in less than 90 seconds.
You and I have instant:
Cup of soup
Access to information via technology
And yet, with our instant society, you and I feel less connected than ever before.
Unfortunately, the negative side of this instant access is we have lost the desire to give time to that which is important. We want what we want when we want it. Who has time to wait?
There’s a problem with this microwave culture. Instant does not equal intimate.
When it comes to your marriage, and other important relationships, you and I tend to apply this same microwave thinking. And that results in disappointment, false expectations, and hurt. Any relationship that lasts takes cultivation, patience, determination, and nurture.
Our important relationships marinate and mature in the slow cooker of life.
Developing strong relationships starts with a strong foundational relationship with God, the Father. The good news is that He desires a relationship with you.
How do you develop a relationship with God?
- Accept His free salvation gift. Jesus was born as a baby, walked this earth, experiencing everything you and I do, and then freely died a horrible death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. There is nothing you or I can do to earn this gift. It is freely offered to you. But, you have to accept it.
- Get to know God the Father. Read the Bible. If you are not in the habit of doing so or don’t know where to start, start with the book of John in the New Testament. There are several great reading plans available through apps such as YouVersion or SheReadsTruth. Daily connection with the God of the Universe nurtures your relationship.
- Talk with God about anything. Talking with God is referred to as prayer. However, there’s nothing mysterious or difficult about prayer. It is simply a conversation. The best part is that you can talk to God about anything. Seriously, anything.
How does your relationship with God impact your marriage?
- You are grounded. When you take the time to develop your relationship with God, you have a foundation for life. You also have security because you know that your Father God is with you. He is your source for answers, provision, protection, and peace. You are not dependent on your spouse to meet all your needs. God will keep His promise to meet your needs and you believe Him.
- You understand unconditional love. God the Father loves you unconditionally. There is nothing you can do to diminish or expand His love for you. You have it all. Forever. His love is not dependent on your actions; it is dependent on His character. Therefore, because you receive and understand this kind of love, you can extend this love to your spouse.
- You’ve received forgiveness. Once you experience God’s forgiveness for your sins, you can extend forgiveness to your spouse when they hurt you. You walk daily with God’s grace. This doesn’t mean that life is always easy. Life is messy. It simply means you know what it means to be forgiven so that you can extend that forgiveness to another.
- You understand that intimacy requires time. The dictionary defines intimate as “a warm friendship or personally close or familiar association.” Developing this type of relationship involves copious amounts of time spent with a person. It doesn’t happen upon the first meeting, contrary to many movies. It is forged by the day-in and day-out activities of doing life together in a monogamous, committed relationship. Yes, sex is part of intimacy, but it isn’t the only part. Sex is an expression of this intimate relationship.
Anne Graham Lotz says, “As you and I develop and grow in this love relationship with God, abiding with Him through meaningful prayer and Bible reading, getting to know Him on a deeper level as we live out what we say we believe, He fills us with Himself. . .As you and I are filled with God, we will be filled with His love, not only for Himself but for others—which includes our spouses or the incompatible people with whom we are struggling.”
Just as in life, every marriage has seasons.
There are seasons when your marriage feels exceptional. You are in sync together, dreaming together, and thoroughly enjoying your relationship.
Ships in the night
There are seasons where life is so busy you barely have time to connect. You know the other person was home because their side of the bed is messed up. But communication consists of quick text messages or phone calls. You might get 15-minutes to eat together once a day before one or both of you are on to the next event — your child’s sporting event, a new business client meeting, church meeting, or volunteer activity. Watch for warning signs during this season.
There is the season when it feels like you’ve become roommates. Gone is the romance and maybe even the desire to spend time together. You barely talk unless it’s about the children. You are rarely alone together, and neither one of you misses the other. This is a dangerous time for your marriage.
When you and I are not in an intimate relationship with the Father, other aspects of our life suffer, especially our marriages.
The disconnect with the Father muddies up our decision-making process.
It muffles the Father’s voice.
We are distracted by the urgent because we aren’t focusing on the importance of our relationship with the Father. And when we lose our focus, we begin to wander away from what we know to be solid footing.
Then the lies creep in; the temptations increase tantalizing you and me to take another look. Little irritations turn into problems that divert our attention.
Eventually, our marriages suffer.
Instead, God the Father encourages:
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.
When you spend time developing your relationship with God the Father first, your other important relationships, like your marriage, get stronger.
Today, what is one step you will make to strengthen your most important relationship? Leave a comment below.
If you need help, please reach out. I promise to listen without judgment and help you take the next step.