A couple of weekends ago, I had the honor at speaking at The Engaged Event, which was designed to help couples prepare for marriage. I titled one of the topics “The Three of Us.” Putting God first and your spouse second is a common theme for me because I know first hand how it works. Yet, as I prepared to speak to this group, I stopped to think through something. If Nancy and I heard someone say that to us before we were married, I’m not sure we would have had a clue how to do that. I think we would have liked the idea and thought it had value but wondered what it really meant. Most of the couples at the event would be in the same boat Nancy and I were in: “That sounds good but how do we do that?” The following is how I answered that question.
God gives a couple a lot of flexibility in the roles we play in marriage. He does not seem to care who mows the lawn, cooks dinner, or cleans the toilet, but God does have an essential role for the husband and the wife. The husband is to lead and the wife is to nurture. The nurturing seems to come easily for most women. Leading for guys is a different story. Leading our spouse is usually not like leading in our job. Being a leader in marriage is serving our spouse and our example is Jesus. It is dying to self and putting others’ needs above our own. With God’s help, fulfilling our essential roles in marriage is putting Him first and our spouse second.
Marriage reveals God’s faithfulness. What would marriage be without faithfulness? I think we all know the answer to that question, but it goes deeper than sex. Being faithful to the covenant you made together before God. This covenant included “in sickness and health, richer or poorer, and better or worse,” which are all important. That is putting God first and your spouse second.
Marriage also reveals God’s forgiveness. You cannot have a marriage without forgiveness. You will screw up. As hard as you try you will not be perfect. As Christians, God has forgiven us and He tells us we must forgive others. When we consistently do this, we are putting Him first and our spouse second.
Reading the Bible together is God’s roadmap for life. We learn and grow through reading His Word and when we do it together amazing things begin to happen in marriage. Again, we are putting Him first and He would have us put our spouse nowhere else but second.
Finally, pray together. We live in a world with divorce rates hanging around the fifty percent mark most of the time. Research shows that couples who regularly pray together have a divorce rate of less than one percent. That is just amazing!
Putting Him first and your spouse second works! Being intentional in this day after day will give you that Awesome Marriage you have always wanted! Why not give it a try?
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