Love for a Lifetime – Building a Great Marriage (Pt.6)

Wedding Rings Today we will look at the fifth key to building a great marriage …

5. Grow Together Spiritually

As followers of Christ, Nicole and I have found that our relationship with God is a vital part of us reaching the fullest potential of our marriage relationship. After all, intimacy has a spiritual dimension to it.

Spiritual vitality makes a difference when it comes to the quality and sustainability of any marriage. Lack of a quality spiritual life is often at the root of most relational problems. Here are some interesting statistics:

  • 1  out of 3 marriages end in divorce.
  • 1 out of 50 marriages end in divorce if the couple had a church wedding.
  • 1 out of 105 marriages end in divorce if the couple attend church regularly.
  • 1 out of 1105 marriages end in divorce if the couple attend church regularly and have family devotions.

Making God the centre of your marriage and family makes a big difference. The writer to the book Ecclesiastes says that “a three-fold strand is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). We see marriage as an intertwining of ourselves and God. Life is difficult at times and we easily get drained. God is the continual supply of love, grace and wisdom that we need.

Nicole and I also have a sense of common kingdom purpose. We exist to serve God and his church together. There is a sense of destiny on our lives that we are very aware of and that we take seriously.

Finally, we must not be ignorant of the spiritual warfare dimension to marriage. There is a God and there is a devil. We have an enemy whose desire is to break up relationships, especially marriages. Ed Silvoso, a pastor from Argentina, says, “Destroying a marriage is a higher priority than destroying children because of the domino effect.” Yes, there are forces are arrayed against you. We must be on guard and vigilant in our faith and our relationships.

How is the spiritual dimension of your marriage? Do you involve God in your marriage relationship, including your decisions? Have you prayed together lately (see 1 Peter 3:7)?

If you are married, my prayer for you today is that your marriage will become the very best it can be. If you aren't married, remember that singleness is no way inferior to marriage. Jesus was a single yet he lived a joyful and fulfilled life. You can too! If you've had a broken marriage, my prayer is that God will help bring healing to your heart and help you make a fresh start, learning from your past experiences.

4 Replies to “Love for a Lifetime – Building a Great Marriage (Pt.6)”

  1. Hi Mark
    My fiance and I are looking for some good christian pre-marital counselling books. We went to Koorong, and there was a whole wall of such books, but we weren’t sure which ones were worth buying. We take similar positions on most issues to you and your church, so we were hoping you might be able to offer some advice. Thanks
    Regards
    Jon

  2. Hi Jon. I’ve passed this on to one of our pastors and will get him to respond to your question. We have a very good course that we use at CityLife. Be in touch soon.

  3. Mark or Nicole, I have heard hundreds of sermons on marriage and attended marriage seminars too. I also read a lot of marriage books.
    Until I came across TD Jakes’ “Before You Do”, I had never heard of dealbreakers. My unbelieving family can’t believe that I didn’t consider some of what happened to me dealbreakers.
    I was only taught unconditional commitment. Marriage, I was told over and over again, is a covenant, not a contract, so that it doesn’t matter what the other person does, you are 100% committed. Divorce is a word that was not allowed to pass our lips or even thoughts, and indeed, it never did.
    As a result, my marriage became a cauldron where maltreatment was enabled. If you knew you could get away with anything because the other person is in captivity, why would you want to change? The person in captivity, on the other hand, knowing there is no escape, develops something called Stockholm Syndrome and makes excuses for the captor, becoming traumatically bonded and helpless in making independent decisions.
    I did everything your articles suggested. But marriage is a partnership. It only takes one to tear it down. (“It takes to tango” is really a misconception when it comes to abusive marriages. There is no “tangoing” when there is abuse because it is not an equal relationship).
    What I don’t understand is why none of the books, seminars or counseling talked about the red flags in dangerous men before marriage, or the red flags in domestic violence after marriage. Why don’t they address what happens if you follow everything and it gets worse? There is always an assumption that you must be doing something wrong, and if you do steps 1,2,3, then there will be a change. Of, if there is no change, that safety for yourself and your children don’t matter – only that you stay married.
    It baffles me the way unbelievers ask me, “Why didn’t you leave?” and believers ask me, “Why didn’t you stay?” The secular professional once remarked, “I don’t mean to be judgmental, but you have three children and you are not putting them first when you expose them to such abuse.” My Christian bible study leader said, “I don’t want to be judgmental, but you have children, and you are exposing them to family breakdown.” And they all believe they are right!!
    Sad to say, in my case, the secular professionals (and one or two violence-trained pastors) were right. My children are so much better off now. I still get Christians harassing me, viciously tearing me down behind my back, to the point of me having to leave my church of active service of many years. Telling them about domestic abuse doesn’t work. It’s always, “Yes, I know it’s hard, but God can do all things if you don’t give up.” Well, I think God HAS done it – opened a way of escape for us. Now to recover the very core of ourselves that we lost through the trauma we suffered for over 25 years. Pity we can’t even do that in the family of God.

  4. Hi Ali.
    Thank you for sharing your story and your thoughts. I agree, this area of marriage abuse is not always handled well within the church. Personally, I believe that abuse and/or violence is a violation of the marriage vows and should not be tolerated. Separation may be the first step but if there is not genuine repentance and change, a divorce may be the right step. God has called us to peace.
    I have posted on this subject here: http://markconner.typepad.com/catch_the_wind/2008/07/divorce-and-remarriage.html
    I pray that as churches we can do a better job in the future supporting and encouraging people in situations such as yours.
    Thanks again Ali
    Mark

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