It doesn’t take long before the newness of marriage wears off, and reality sets in that it’s hard! Do you know why? It’s because two people now live together with different ideas about how to spend their time, money, and alone time. Most of us don’t understand how to listen and communicate, either. It’s something we have to teach people every week in our counseling. Yet, the biggest issue that makes marriage hard is that we bring the baggage of our flesh patterns into it. When operating from these patterns, the Bible is very clear about what it does to our marriages.
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace (Romans 8:6). We all have patterns of thinking developed by not depending on Christ in us. They are ways of thinking that produce attitudes and actions that we employ in hopes of giving our lives meaning apart from Christ. In other words, living this way means we hope to extract love, acceptance, value, security, and belonging. Yet, Romans 8:6 tells us that when we do this, we are breathing a type of death into our relationships which does not produce a connection with each other but a sense of separation. Instead of feeling accepted, we feel rejected.
The good news is there is an encouraging second part of Romans 8:6. But the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace. In marriage, we have an opportunity for God to renew our minds so that they are programmed to live from the Holy Spirit within us, replacing the fleshly mind set. For example, it helps to know your identity in Christ and to see your spouse as having that same identity in Christ. You are holy and righteous in Christ, and your spouse is holy and righteous in Christ. You are kind in Christ, and your spouse is kind in Christ. Your Father unconditionally loves you in Christ, and your Father unconditionally loves your spouse.
Most importantly, marriage has the potential to keep us dependent on Christ to relate to and respond to our spouse daily. He is our Source for loving and respecting our spouse.
Bill and Tonda Layle, on our staff, tried many ways to heal their broken marriage but it wasn’t until God broke through with how to live towards each other with a mind set on the Spirit in practical ways that they began to have a healed marriage. Their testimony is compelling and gives hope to hard marriages and encouragement to good ones, too.
That is why I invite you to attend the next upcoming one. Just take a look at our website calendar for details on how to register. Also, please ask a couple you know who is struggling to this Marriage by Grace Conference, and you might even want to pay their way. It’s like no marriage conference you have ever attended. It goes beyond teaching the roles that other marriage conferences focus on.
© Mark Maulding (But feel free to share this.)