How does one go from a good marriage to a great marriage? A husband and wife must never lose their commitment to each other. This commitment to both your mate and your marriage goes deeper than romantic love. It empowers you to keep an unbreakable covenant with your marriage partner regardless of unexpected circumstances. Our covenant God says to us, “I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion.” (Hosea 2:19).
My Covenant Commitment
C = Commit to working through problems and not walking away (1 Corinthians 7:27).
- Decide together that divorce is not an option.
- Agree to communicate feelings honestly and lovingly.
O = Offer love to your mate even when you don’t feel like it (1 Corinthians 13:4-8).
- Evaluate how your love compares to that described in 1 Corinthians 13. Substitute your name in the place of the word “love” in verses 4-8.
- Pray daily for those who have hurt you—forgive and forgive again, refusing to keep a record of wrongs.
V = View your marriage as God’s setting for spiritual growth (Proverbs 15:13).
- Realize that God did not create any one person to meet all your needs.
- While God is your ultimate need-meeter, see your mate as God’s gift to meet some of those needs.
E = Eliminate any emphasis on your rights (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
- Identify what makes you angry.
- Sensitively express your honest desires—”It would mean a lot to me if you would take out the trash.”
N = Nurture your identity in Christ (Philippians 4:13).
- Evaluate if your sense of self-worth is based on how your mate treats you.
- Acknow1edge that your true identity is in Christ, not in your mate.
A = Ask God to change you (Psalm 51:10).
- Evaluate what areas in your life need changing.
- Ask your mate, “Would you name one area in my life where you feel I need the most change?”
N = Nourish your extended family relationships (Exodus 20:12).
- Evaluate the tangible and emotional needs of your in-laws.
- Consistently look for the positive in your mate’s family.
T = Turn your expectations over to God (Psalm 62:1).
- Evaluate the unrealistic expectations you’ve had of marriage and your mate.
- Realize God can bring complete fulfillment to you regardless of your marriage partner.
Your Scripture Prayer Project: Ephesians 5:21, 1 Corinthians 7:3-4, I Corinthians 13:4-5, 1 Corinthians 13:6-7, Philippians 2:2-4, 1 Peter 3:7, Ephesians 5:25, Mark 10:9
This covenant acrostic come from June Hunt
In an age when many young people choose to live together rather than actually “tie the knot,” the question is always raised, “why?” What is the point of marriage? Why is marriage such a big deal?
What are God’s Purposes for Marriage?
- The first reason that the Bible gives for the existence of marriage is simple: Adam was lonely and needed a helper (Genesis 2:18): This is the primary purpose of marriage—fellowship, companionship, and mutual help and comfort.
- Another purpose of marriage is to create a stable home in which children can grow and thrive: The best marriage is between two believers (2 Corinthians 6:14) who can produce godly children (Malachi 2:13-15). BTW, this Malachi passage shows how much God cares about marriage being kept intact. A good marriage between two godly people will mean that any children they have will tend to be godly as well.
- Marriage also protects individuals from sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 7:2): The world we live in is full of sexual images, innuendo, and temptation. Even if a person doesn’t pursue sexual sin, it pursues them, and it is very hard to escape it. Marriage provides a healthy place to express sexuality, without opening yourself up to the severe emotional (and many times physical) damage that is caused by casual, non-committed sexual relationships.
- Marriage is a vivid picture of the relationship between Christ and His church: The body of believers that make up the Church are collectively called bride of Christ. As Bridegroom, Jesus gave His life for His bride, “to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word” (Ephesians 5:25-26), and His selfless act provides an example for all husbands. At the Second Coming of Christ, the church will be united with the Bridegroom, the official “wedding ceremony” will take place and, with it, the eternal union of Christ and His bride will be actualized (Revelation 19:7-9; 21:1-2).
So, we see that God has a unique purpose for marriage. In the same way that Christ sacrificially gave Himself to the church, you and your mate should be willing to sacrifice your individual desires for the sake of your marriage covenant. Here is a brief summary of the purposes of marriage.
Partnership: God has given you each other as partners for life—true companionship grows when there is emotional, spiritual and physical unity. Malachi 2:14 emphasizes, “She is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.”
Parenting: God’s first scriptural command was for Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply, filling the earth with godly offspring. “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Oddly enough, this is the only command of God that mankind has not disobeyed.
Pleasure: The marriage relationship and your mate are God’s special gifts to you. God is not a cosmic kill-joy. Sex is a good thing, face it, but God has some limitations on it for two reasons:
- To protect us: like from disease, death, reputation and heartache.
- To provide the best for us: like having no thoughts of previous encounters haunting, interrupting and comparing your experiences with your wife.
True enjoyment will grow out of self-control and a servant’s heart. Proverbs 5:18 says, “May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth” (Proverbs 5:18).
This is information I discovered from June Hunt, the founder and CEO of Hope for the Heart.
I always want to pass on relevant information that I run across, and for the Men of Steel, it generally has to do with being the best husbands and fathers we can be. The following information is from June Hunt, the founder and CEO of Hope for the Heart:
Why do some marriages endure and others not? Why do some couples struggle and others not? What one factor makes the greatest difference and prevents so many marriages from failing? It’s the word covenant. The concept of covenant is a long, winding path that ends when “death do us part.” The marriage covenant is a couple’s lifetime commitment—a lifetime journey of love and loyalty. Jesus states it well: “They are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate” (Matthew 19:6).
What is God’s Pattern for Marriage?
Marriage is a covenant agreement in which a man and a woman are legally and spiritually joined together as husband and wife. Genesis 2:24-25 establishes the four elements in God’s perfect order for marriage.
Separation: “a man will leave his father and mother”
Both the husband and wife leave the authority of their parents and become a separate family unit. In marriage, the loyalty to your parents should never be stronger than the loyalty to your spouse.
Bonding: “and be united to his wife”
By an act of your will, bonding is a mental commitment to have a faithful, permanent marriage relationship with your spouse regardless of difficulties.
Oneness: “they will become one flesh”
Physical oneness is the ultimate consummation of sexual closeness. For this sexual oneness to be continually mutually satisfying, look for ways to express unselfish love to each other. Openly ask, “What best communicates love to you?” and then take the time to enjoy one another.
Intimacy: “they felt no shame”
Emotional intimacy is encouraged when you seek to be vulnerable and transparent, honestly sharing with one another your feelings of frustration and failure, your deepest disappointments and desires.
Spiritual intimacy is achieved when you continue to reveal to one another your unmet needs, praying together, praying for each other and sharing what God is doing in your lives.
It’s been a busy month, so that is why the lack of posts in July. First I was on a mission trip to Kansas City, MO to help contract the new chapel at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Lots of framing, stage building, window trim, wood staining; take a look at the video presentation we did at church on July 24. It is a great week to spend with fellow believers doing something for someone else. Trips such as these can be life changing.
Then my mother-in-law, Polly Jo Wingo, passed on after a long health battle. Kim was down in Alabama for several weeks trying to care for her and her father. The hospice people were very helpful is getting things set up for Jo’s final two weeks. She died on Tuesday July 26. The experience reminded me how life is a gift and time is short, even when someone had 73 years on this planet.
As I was thinking about the brevity of life, I was reminded about his passage of Scripture from Isaiah 55:1-7.
Seek the Lord while you can find Him; Call on Him now while He is near (Isaiah 55:6)
It reminds me of missed opportunity, but also joy, because Isaiah is telling us that it is not too late.
October 2010, the world looked on as 33 Chilean miners were plucked one by one from their deep, cavernous prison. For more than 2 months, these men hung on to hope and life a half-mile below ground. The rescue teams preparing for the evacuation had many concerns:
- Would the escape pod function properly?
- Would the men experience hypertension as they rose to the surface?
- Would they develop blood clots?
- The primary concern, however, was panic attacks. “This is the first time in many weeks that the miners are going to be completely alone,” said Chile’s health minister.
We know what it feels like to be alone. Perhaps you’ve been abandoned by a parent or friend. You have experience the death of a close family member. Perhaps you have been overseas and culture shock is about to overcome you. You may feel lost. Even in a crowd, you feel isolated. In a city of a million people, you feel alone. God, however, invites us into relationship, into friendship. “Come to me,” God says (Isaiah 55:3). He invites us to come out of isolation and embrace relationship with Him.
When we come to God, we’re always welcomed with open arms. Unlike other relationships we’ve known, God’s love isn’t based upon us meeting some expectation or providing something for Him. He simply loves—completely, entirely, without hesitation. God loves us anyway, not for what we have done or what we’ll become. God makes a promise to His people, an “everlasting covenant [of] unfailing love” (Isaiah 55:3).
This everlasting covenant finds its ultimate expression in Jesus, who came to us and brought God to us, along with His life and forgiveness. We didn’t reach up to Him. In Jesus, God reached down to us. We didn’t come near to Him. In Jesus, God came near to us. Since God is near, don’t miss him!
“Seek the Lord while you can find Him,” Isaiah says. “Call on [God] now while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). The good news is that, in Jesus, “God is with us” (Matthew 1:23). You need to know more? Write to me, a comment here or use my online form, let’s talk.