My marriage in the early days was really good in many ways. We spent time getting to know each other better and enjoyed our new marriage. There were serious times when we connected more deeply such as when we walked and talked together. There were also fun times such as when one of us would surprise the other with a pitcher of ice cold water thrown over the shower curtain while they were showering!
Yet, on my end I wanted to love my wife better but something inside me was holding me back. During the sixth year, I finally understood what I needed when God revealed to me His unconditional acceptance of me as promised in the New Covenant. That was the beginning of a new chapter for our relationship.
Most marriages struggle because people enter marriage not being full of God’s love for them. Then they erroneously believe the person is going to meet their God-shaped need for love. It doesn’t take long to become disappointed and disillusioned. Some never even get past the honeymoon. For others, it’s months or years later.
And as my friend, Derwin Gray says, “after a while the wife starts wearing granny nightgowns to bed and the husband farts all of the time”. If there was any flicker of romance before, that extinguishes it!
God designed us to drink deeply from His love daily. This is the only way marriage really works. Otherwise, we can suck the life out of our spouse leading to conflict and frustration. No wonder Ephesians 5:18 tells us to be filled with the Spirit before the marriage roles are discussed. Being filled with the Spirit also fills us with God’s love for us.
Let me put it another way, being filled with Jesus’ love for us from the inside, then expressing that to our spouse in a way that connects with him/her, is God’s ultimate answer for the best possible marriage. Yet, there are barriers that prevent this in both spouses’ lives that must be revealed and removed. Most couples don’t realize that they each bring lies about God, themselves and others into a marriage. It is from these lies that these barriers are erected.
The Bible calls these barriers flesh. The flesh cannot produce love. It can only produce pain, rejection and disappointment. Only the Holy Spirit in us can produce love. That is conveyed well in Romans 8:6 where it states, “The mind set on the flesh is death but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” This fleshly mindset is the belief that comes with those lies. Our hope though is to live in our marriages with a mindset of truth that the Holy Spirit reveals to us replacing those lies. Only then will those barriers be removed, allowing Christ to live through us to love deeply.
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