A few weeks ago, in our Sunday school class, one of our fellow students said that if you want to be a better spouse, don’t study marriage; rather, study Christ. It was a profound and true statement. It is important to prepare for marriage and it is great to learn communication tools and to glean from more experienced couples; but, at the end of the day, we will become better sweethearts and spouses if we study who Christ is and endeavor to be more like Him.
So, as I go through these Scripture passages, I will be looking for specific ways they affect my relationship and connection with Eric. I believe they all can give me some wisdom as it relates to loving Eric sacrificially and glorifying God in my marriage. (All Scripture below is from the English Standard Version [ESV].)
“‘Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.’” Thomas said to him, “‘Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?’” Jesus said to him, “‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”
This is my favorite passage in the entire Bible and it has been for years! I love the wedding picture this passage paints. In Jesus’ era, a groom would go away and build a space for himself and his bride (often as an extension of his father’s home) and, when it was finished, he would go and get her. In this passage, Christ is telling His followers that He is going to go away and prepare a place for them and, when the time is right, He is coming back to receive His bride (the Church).
Two marriage takeaways come to mind when I read this passage: first, I am comforted in knowing that no matter what trials and tribulations Eric and I face, Christ is returning for us! Nothing can be more exciting than that!
Secondly, Jesus shows His love for us again by leaving to prepare us a place. Not only did He sacrifice His life so that we could be reconciled to the Father, but He left us with hope. He let us know that He is coming back. Let not your hearts be troubled. That phrase is simply precious. When I interact with Eric, I want to make it my goal to leave him with peace and hope, to reassure him of my commitment to him, and to be the one who rubs his back and whispers, “Let not your heart be troubled.”
“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
It is amazing how much anxiety I can find in a day. “I’m late!” “What did she mean by that?” “Oh no! I forgot to do laundry!” If I can get that anxious about small issues, imagine how up in arms I can get over real problems! ~smile~
This verse brings me such peace because it reminds me to stop, pray, and thank God. When I do that, my anxiety melts away. When I give in to anxiety and start panicking, it affects Eric. He would rather “go sit on the corner of his house” than to listen to me panic about little nothings. This verse, should I obey it, would almost completely eliminate my moments of overwhelming anxiety. A few minutes ago, I could not find something in the fridge. I was in a hurry, so I started getting anxious (which sounds so silly now that I write it down!). Then I stopped and said, “God, please help me,” and, in seconds, I found it.
Anxiety will not bless your marriage – it simply will not. I recommend you post Philippians 4:5-7 on your bathroom mirror to be a constant reminder. I know my connection with Eric can only get better if I obey God’s Word and take my concerns to Him with a thankful heart!
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Perhaps you have heard a lot of hopeful singles quote this verse. Perhaps you’ve quoted it yourself? ~smile~ It is a beautiful verse, but… it has frequently been misused. We love the “He will give you the desires of your heart” part, but we often forget the prerequisite of delighting ourselves in the Lord.
Several years ago, I heard a man explain this verse in a way which was new to me. He said that when a person truly delights in the Lord (e.g., spends time with Him, gets to know Him, finds his joy in Him, etc.), the person’s desires change to be those of the Lord’s desires. When you spend time with the Lord and you want nothing more than to know Him better, your priorities and desires will change too. As you delight in Him, His desires become your desires; so, He will give you what He desires for your life.
So often, we look to our significant others to bear the weight of keeping us happy and fulfilling our desires. It is far too big of a burden for any one person. Only God can completely fulfill us and give us the desires of our hearts – humankind was never meant to do so. This verse reminds me to have realistic expectations of my spouse and to delight myself in the Lord. When I turn to Him for my joy, Eric is freed from my previous unrealistic demands and we can connect without the pressure of trying to be everything for each other.
“And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
My mentor, Miss Betty, always kept a sign over her kitchen door which read, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I would love to have a similar plaque in my house as a constant visual reminder of Who we serve and where our loyalties lie.
This verse reminds me that Eric and I are a team. Together, we will serve the Lord. Together, if the Lord so blesses us with them, we will raise our children to serve the Lord. We can get so easily distracted with all the goings on of life, but this verse reminds me that there is a line in the sand, and that Eric and I have chosen Who we will serve together.
Come what may – what differences we have that drive each other crazy – at the end of the day what matters is our declaration that we will serve the Lord together.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
A little over a year ago, I found myself sick in a hotel bed. I’m still not sure if it was a stomach virus or food poisoning, but I felt completely dreadful. I was supposed to be helping my sister-in-law on this trip; instead, she ended up nursing me. As I laid there, in a strange bed feeling so terrible, I kept thinking these words over and over again, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Just knowing I was not alone – that my Heavenly Father was with me – was such an incredible comfort.
When you are married, chances are you will have days when you feel like you and your spouse are the only couple in the world with certain problems. Or, you may feel discouraged and wonder why you ever felt compelled to choose matrimony. This verse provides confidence that regardless of the storms we may face together, God is there with us. When we think we cannot go one more day, He will still be there.
Sometimes, you have to be strong and courageous just to get out of bed in the morning. What a blessing to know that the same God who was with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Joshua is with us too. I can be confident that no matter what rough patches Eric and I go through on our journey together, God is right there with us. I can take a deep breath and know that He has our lives and our marriage in the palm of His hand.
What are you favorite verses? Have you shared them with your sweetie? Write down the passages that mean the most to you and see what they can teach you about relationships. God’s Word is amazing. We can read it through a thousand times and still learn something new each time!
What are your favorite verses? What have they taught you about your future marriage?