Worksheet at bottom of article
Marriage takes two to make it a team. Are you a team player working towards the good in all areas of your marriage? Are you growing spiritually with your spouse? Are you allowing your faith to intervene in your marriage where it should?
1. Spiritual growth is gradual not immediate
It takes time to learn deep spiritual growth for your marriage. Learning to walk with Jesus is something that a husband and wife can do together. It can be an enjoyable learning experience that will bring you closer together and will help bond the sanctity of your marriage. When a person becomes a Christ One, he or she is given a new life through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ sets us free from evil desires by his spiritual operation–The Holy Spirit.
Christian growth is a lifetime process, meaning we don’t automatically start thinking good thoughts and have a pure attitude about everything! These things take time and much wisdom from God. This is why it is often called a “spiritual growth process”. Sometimes change seems slow but your marriage will change significantly if you keep trusting in God to build it up.
The more we trust in Jesus Christ, the sharper our vision becomes, which increases our understanding. James1: 22-25
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says, Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at himself in the mirror and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does.” James1:22-25
2. Understanding the process of spiritual growth for marriage
There is a wonderful little parable in the bible about the Kingdom of God recorded by Mark that reveals how spiritual growth is a continual and gradual process that is finally consummated in a harvest of spiritual maturity. We can understand how this process works by comparing it to the slow but gradual growth of a plant. If we forget to water the plant it will dry up and die. Marriage is the same way. Let’s remember to water our marriage on a regular basis so it won’t dry out. We do this by trusting in God and letting him water us first. Once we are watered we can give more of ourselves to the marriage.
“This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.” Mark 4:26-29
3. God will prune the harmful branches from us
Jesus Christ is the vine. God is the gardener who cares for the branches (us) to make them fruitful. There are two kinds of pruning that God does. (1) separating and (2) cutting back branches. Fruitful branches are cut back to promote growth. In other words, God will discipline us to strengthen our character and faith.
The branches that do not bare fruit are cut off from the vine (Jesus). People who won’t bear fruit for God or those who try to block the efforts of God’s followers will be cut off from God’s life-giving power.
Jesus said, “He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2-3
4. Strengthening faith
The bible says we are all strong in some areas and weak in others. Our faith is strong if we can avoid sinning when we are around others who are sinning. If our faith is weak in certain areas we must avoid those things that might be tempting for us. We need to ask ourselves, “Can I do that without sinning?” “Can I go there without sinning?” “Can I be a good influence to others instead of falling into sin with them?” Find out what your strengths and weakness are.
God wants us to use our faith towards the good of our marriage. If we have strong faith in certain areas but shelter that faith, we will not be doing Christ’s work for the marriage. If we have a weak area of faith in marriage and we expose it, we will be behaving like the world (culture) does for their marriage and that would be extremely foolish, wouldn’t it? The bible reveals to us some very important points about the weak and the strong in faith.
“Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. One mans faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. Romans 14:1-4
5. How to continue basing your marriage upon the foundations of God
St. Paul has offered us a strategy to help us to live day by day for God.
1) Imitate Christ’s compassion and forgiving attitude. Is there something that you need to forgive your spouse for?
2) Let love guide your life as much as you possibly can. We show love by doing, not by saying. Have you shown your spouse loving-kindness today?
3) Let the peace of Jesus rule your heart and mind. We do this by realizing all there is to be thankful for.
Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
1. Write down what your weak and strong areas are in the Lord
2. How can you strengthen your weak areas or get rid of them all together?
3. How can husband and wife work spiritually together and become stronger in their faith in the Lord?
4. How can couples continue to keep God at the forefront of their marriage?
Book Resources for Couples
Love The Man You Married – for women
Love The Woman You Married – for men
These books are biblically based and offer the wisdom and guidance couples need to learn the principles of loving in the ways that God designed for couples to love each other. These books are available as downloads or hardcopy.