How does a relationship with God influence marriage?
How do we navigate conflict without falling out of love with the Creator of marriage?
For the Christian couple, our relationship with God determines the depth of our relationship with our spouse.
Not that we can’t do marriage when our faith is struggling but we rob ourselves of a better marriage and more fulfilling relationship with our spouse when we settle for a mediocre relationship with God.
This week, I am excited to have a newlywed wife share with us what she has learned about cultivating intimacy with God, in the middle of a very messy marriage.
Letticia has been to the school of hard knocks, and I hope her lessons inspire your pursuit of God and a deeper relationship with your spouse.
Let her know how her thoughts inspired and challenged you in the Comments!
I used to think the number of years married equaled happiness and growth: That the more the years, the greater the happiness.
Then I began to notice numerous couples, married for many years who were still struggling in their marriages.
I’ve been married for three years, and during our first year of marriage, my husband and I experienced multiple challenges in our relationship.
From communication, deciding where to live, figuring out our finances, understanding our roles and expectations in marriage, balancing in-laws, we struggled on several fronts.
God Transforms Marriage: Wrestling Through the Pain
I was mad at my husband because I felt our marriage was functioning from his side only: I did not feel heard or understood.
I pushed him so he could to see things from my point of view. I wanted him to understand my feelings because, after all, marriage is a partnership.
But the more I tried “to reason” with him, the more conflict we had. The tensions between us became unbearable, and eventually, we stopped talking to each other.
Furthermore, he decided he did not want me anymore because he felt I was not the woman he married.As Christians, we rob ourselves of a better marriage and a more fulfilling relationship with our spouse when we settle for a mediocre relationship with God.
For the longest time, I questioned why God put me in a relationship that was bound to fail.
While fighting through the new reality of failure and possible divorce, I felt alone, alienated from my husband, friends, and relatives; all the people I had been leaning on for strength and encouragement.
It seemed like God had put me in a secluded space where it was just Himself and me.
But I was getting tired of asking Him to change my husband and trying to help him see things from my perspective.
And it was in this space that a new marriage perspective began to form, and today I want to share with you the lessons I learned.
How Your Relationship with God Transforms Marriage
The hard season of marriage taught me:
1. He is Interested in Changing My Heart
Whenever my husband and I argued, I presumed it was my husband that needed changing.
My attitude manifested in the many prayers and fasts I made for him to change.
Today I understand how God grew me: I see how my ignorance also contributed to the arguments.
2. I cannot do marriage without God
God is the originator of marriage, so you need to seek His will for marriage as well as fully surrender with the help of Christ Jesus.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Mathew 6 vs. 33.
Putting God first in everything might also mean becoming the more mature person in the relationship. The one who is willing to do the right thing first according to the will of God, as opposed to waiting on your spouse to take the first step.
I learned to submit to God first even when there seemed nothing in it for me.
And as I submitted to God and His plan for my life, and to my surprise, my husband started to respond lovingly to my acts of submission.
I felt at peace, and “all things were added to me” in ways I would never imagine as Matthew 6 promises.
3. Marriage is not about my happiness only
When we get married, we look forward to never-ending dates, flowers, breakfast in bed, love affirmations. For me, one of the things I was looking forward to was flowers on the table, “just to say I love you,” vacations and sleep outs.
I was shocked when the very things he did while we were dating, became a burden in marriage.
With time God has revealed to me that marriage is not about my happiness only, but satisfaction is a product of the purpose of marriage. Marriage is about two unique individuals reflecting the image of God.Marriage is not about my happiness only, but satisfaction is a product of the purpose of marriage. Marriage is about two unique individuals reflecting the image of God.
The moment I realized my uniqueness, the calling God had on my life as a wife, and the grace He had shown me, the more I liberated my spouse from the burden of making me happy.
Further, the more we embraced each other, the more we produced the happiness I wanted.
For me, realizing my husband was not entirely responsible for my happiness was a journey that required endurance and a willingness to embrace delayed-gratification.
4. My relationship with God transforms marriage when I turn all my expectations about my spouse to God.
It is funny, but at some point, I wrote down a list of the things I expected from my husband, including how I thought I should be treated and loved.
When I finished, I slipped into my prayer room and presented the list to God. I felt good about my list, and I was hoping God would allow me to share the list with my spouse.
I truly believed the list would help him know how to serve me better.
But to my surprise, when I presented the list to God, He asked me how I was doing in meeting the unspoken expectations of my spouse and how much effort I had been putting at intentionally finding out and meeting his expectations and needs.
Talk about shock!
Quickly, my prayers changed from “help him to meet my needs” to “help me meet his needs first.”
5. My marriage changes when I keep praying. Even when I don’t see change.
When I started praying for God to change my husband, I wrote down my prayers in a journal.
Nowadays as I revisit my prayer journal, I am blessed to see all the transformation and shifts that have taken place.
Back then, my prayers were about God changing my husband. Now I see how my heart changed over time.
Sometimes our prayers are self-centered, but thank God He shapes our very prayers in a way that honors Him and changes us.
If you are hurt, talk to God about it because we have a Savior who sympathizes with our weaknesses. Therefore cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7.)
6. God operates in harmony
Genesis 3:1 records how the devil sowed confusion and doubt into the lives of Adam and Eve.
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
When we allow the seed of confusion to germinate, we travel down erratic paths from which we cannot save ourselves.
When my husband and I argued, the arguments would escalate to a point where we wouldn’t tell where the original discussion started!
Talk about disorientation!
This confusion made reconciliation and forgiveness almost impossible because it’s challenging to have a rational conversation about an unclear subject.
I am not suggesting that marriages should be immune to disagreements, but I am saying pick your battles wisely: not everything is worth fighting about.
Learn to take your issues and vexations to God in prayer first and then pursue solutions with your husband using godly wisdom.
My husband and I still have disagreements, but the distinction now is I have learned to accept his different wiring. I have also learned to talk to God about the things I am uncomfortable or confused about.
Going to God at the beginning has helped me approach issues differently and patiently. A lot of emotional heartaches and pain feel minimized, and it makes it easier for me to work through issues with my spouse.
Question – Do you think your relationship with God transforms marriage? What point stood out to you the most? Let’s talk in the comments!
About Author: Letticia is a newlywed wife. A reader by day and a writer by night, she loves to encourage people and couples in their faith in Christ Jesus. She believes that marriage is a privilege God has given to reflect his image. She loves cooking, serving her husband, and above all, being a child of God.