A Smart Marriage
Most of us have smartphones these days. They add a ton of convenience to our lives, mainly because smartphones are actually computers, and they run the apps that help organize our lives. An “app” is an application; a software program able to run on your device and give you the functions you need to be productive, entertained, and kept in touch with family and friends.
When I acquired a new smart TV a couple of years ago, it was so convenient that many apps were preloaded. Netflix, Hulu, Prime, YouTube, etc. I could not imagine if the TV came with zero apps, forcing me to “google” for instructions on how to acquire them. So here’s my transitional point: to build a smart marriage, you need to acquire a broad base of applications, spiritual software if you will, to ensure that you will have the operational function needed for a healthy relationship. A smart marriage needs to have an operating system, in place and operational, before the wedding day. Preloading is the key. Having apps installed and at your fingertips, is essential for a “smart marriage.”
Slow, IS a Speed
I want to clarify that solid acquistion of a durable, spiritual operating system takes time to acquire. The human spirit has a certain character, derived from the experiences and choices over a lifetime. In my case for example, I lived the first twenty-one years of my life as a self-centered individual, with no grid for a Christ-centered lifestyle. By the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, I matured enough by age twenty-seven, to be ready to embark on the marriage journey. A solid spiritual formation emerges in our lives, mainly from the quiet, small steps of discipleship. Every now and then, we encounter a Damascus Road leap forward, but normally it’s a disciplined rhythm of following Christ that gets us to the next destination. A “steady as she goes” lifetime partnership, sounds like a smart marriage to me!
Premarital & Marital Coaching
Having been in pastoral ministry in the same fellowship for the past thirteen years, I’ve had a front row seat to observe the transition of many couples. Our book, Vertical Marriage: A Godward Preparation for Life Together, is one of many excellent resources available to Christian couples. As I mentioned earlier, preloading is the key to have a smooth “turn key” experience from dating life to married life. We can pretty much predict how a couple is going to fare in their first year, by how well they are uploading the vital apps needed. Even then, we all know that “updates” will be a part of life for the app world. Allow me to share a few quotes from our books, to illustrate a point.
Character & Presence
I’ve heard it said that there are two ingredients to look for in a local church. One, leaders with integrity and two, the presence of the Holy Spirit. The same holds true for what constitutes a smart marriage. A few quotes to ponder:
- Handsome or Beautiful is the shallow end of the pool in marriage. It’s often a major issue in dating but “character” takes over in marriage.
- The brightest spot in a marriage is in the shadow of the Cross. Spouses who lose their lives in Christ will have the greatest marriage gain
- To BE a resource, you need to be DRAWING from One. My prayer life becomes a blessing to my spouse.
- Every marriage needs an Acts 2 Upper Room lifestyle. Tongues of fire rested on EACH of them. Embrace your individual mandate. Be filled!
Preparation & Continuing Education
I give this advice to singles who plan to marry someday: Your spiritual growth right now is an investment in your marriage account. Invest well. Your marriage will reap dividends. Getting back to our mobile tech language – a person who already has onboard apps, sea worthy for marriage, is a treasure and a gift. We will often see this as we guide couples through premarital coaching. Our book is more of a guide and clarifying tool, to facilitate what has already been “sown and grown” in a person, or in a couple. Even so, there will always be a never ending process of further acquisition and streamlining, individual and marital, because we follow a leader who is “on the move”, intent on bringing us “from glory to glory.”
My favorite phone apps are those that I rely on pretty much daily. Calendar, Gmail, and Weather are most used. Then, Bible (You Version) Camera, Gallery, Chrome, Instagram, Facebook, and various News apps. Think for a moment of what “spiritual life apps” you utilize on a daily basis. Clue: they are the apps that cultivate character and Presense in your soul. I’ll share some of mine. Repentance: sins of commission, such as worrying, whining, self depracating, being prideful, envy, laziness. Sins of omission: failure to prioritize time for God encounters, not taking the initiative to bless and encourage my wife. Worship: making the choice to posture my heart towards God, regardless of how I may feel. Gratefulness: counting my blessings.