Every marriage needs to be filled with faith. While the entire Word of God is a resource, I especially turn to what has been called the “hall of fame of faith” in the 11th chapter of Hebrews. Here are some of the character traits exhibited by these men and women.
They acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.They were seeking a homeland. They desired a better country, a heavenly one. (Hebrews 11:13-16)
Of Moses in particular, it is said that he “considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward…he endured as seeing Him who is invisible.” (11:26-27)
Christian marriages that endure are marked by a husband and wife that are seeing the invisible One. Those who are seeking their true homeland are less likely to devalue their current marriage and conclude that they deserve something better.
I do embrace the “needs based approach” by the way, and I recommend books such as “Love & Respect” to couples all the time. My wife and I lead a regular class using these resources and to me they are the yellow lines on the road to help us stay on track. It makes sense to understand our differences and to be intentional in making wise marital choices in the practical “day to day.” The aforementioned verses however, to me are the very road itself.
There will be “reproach” to be borne in this life. Standing up for Christ has a price attached. It’s not always popular to be godly. Christians that are not able to navigate this path will find themselves being drawn back towards the treasure of Egypt. In the midst of dullness, even the cheap glitter looks appealing.
The same principle applies in Christian marriage. Husbands and wives lose their “faith focus” when they begin to categorize themselves as unable to endure the marital challenge. One of the toxic effects of our entitlement culture upon the church has been the “dumbing down” of discipleship. We’ve made it fit the culture in order to retain some sort of appeal to the masses.
Transfer this grid into the most intense church community that exists – marriage! The “lines in the sand” have become grossly premature. In other words, what a husband or wife is willing to put up with, or endure, has reached an extremely low level. The solution will rarely be found in your spouse’s improvement. There is only one ship’s rudder that you can control – your own.
Don’t demand change; believe for it.