Updated: Wednesday “What’s Up With That?” Question

I’ve been thinking of sharing some questions here on the blog specifically for you all to respond to. One of the things that I like about blogging is the potential for interaction. I don’t really have a lot of readers, so there’s not a whole lot of participation at this point.  I thought these questions would stimulate some discussion.

So here is the first “What’s Up With That?” Question:

What does it mean (practically, in daily life together) to hold Christ as the center of a marriage?  What do you do to keep yourselves and each other focused on Him?

I’m looking forward to all your thoughts on this. Please consider sharing this post via the share links to get more people involved.

UPDATE: Answering My Own Question

Thank you so much to y’all who ventured to post some thoughts on this question.  I really appreciate it.

Personally, I’ve realized that I used to try to get my wife and I to do certain things out of the wrong motivation: a religious spirit.  I might suggest that we sit down each night and do a devotion or pray together, or read the Bible because it was what (I thought) good Christian couples do.  And so we’d buy a book or something and awkwardly struggle through reading it and trying to force some discussion.  Sometimes this would even end in arguing over some topic or idea that was in the reading.

Now, I’m not against anyone doing devotions or reading the Bible together.  But remember my motivation: the religious spirit.  I was doing this to perform for God and then expecting God to deliver to me a perfect marriage.

One thing I realized about this approach is that I was assuming that God always wanted to teach us both the same lesson.  However, I’ve learned that my wife and I are vastly different people.  We spend time with the Lord in different ways, and we are not necessarily learning the same thing at the same time.  It is interesting how the Lord will often reveal different pieces of the same situation to my wife and I.  We only learn what the other person has received when we share these things with each other.  Together, we have a more complete picture.

What I believe we (my wife and I) have learned together is to be sensitive, aware, and on the lookout for what Jesus is up to in our lives already.  So, if we have an issue, or someone comes to us for help with a problem, or there is something to discuss with the kids, finances, health, and so on (the list is endless), the underlying question behind it all is “what is Jesus up to here”.  We share the Lord now without relying on devotional study guides for couples.  We share the Lord as he presents himself in a myriad of different ways each day.

Let me tell you, it is electric when something happens and my wife and I realize that it has Jesus written all over it.  And there is so much life when we share this with each other.

Again, I’m not against devotional times, quiet times, praying together, and so on.  We do these things when we feel the Spirit leading us in that direction.  These are usually for very short seasons in our experience.  Sharing with each other what we see Jesus doing every day is for the long haul.

So, we keep Jesus in the center of our marriage by being aware and sensitive to what he is doing in our midst and sharing with each other.

Additionally, something that I have done personally is to ask Jesus to help me understand his character so that I can recognize when I am and am not allowing him to express his character through me.  As a Christian, I desire to allow Christ to express his character and nature through me.  I want to love, play, be honest, compassionate, tenacious, and faithful as he is.  It’s a dangerous request, because I believe Jesus will take you seriously and you will have to lay down certain behaviors, ideals, and expectations.  But as with anything with Jesus, his solution is always best.

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8 comments on “Updated: Wednesday “What’s Up With That?” Question

  1. “Purpose” is a vital component of marriage, and being yoked together to fulfill the same purpose brings unity, strength and fulfillment. If you have a common vision, passion, goal and pursuit, and you complement each other in the fulfillment of it, you will grow more and more in your love and appreciation of each other as you see God’s purpose fulfilled. Even difficulties and trials serve to forge you together when you are given to a common purpose.

    My wife and I have given ourselves to walk in and see outworked in and among His people God’s eternal purpose, which centers in His Son. Christ is the center of our spiritual life, our marriage and our mission in this world. I see this as one of the greatest strengths of our marriage (of 26 years.) We’ve been through many difficult, trying and even lonely places at times, and yet we are stronger, more in love and unified than ever. I owe that to the fact that Christ is the center of our lives and marriage, and we are both “ruined” for God’s eternal purpose being fulfilled through His Body. This is what unites us in one purpose.

    • Thank you for your comment, David. So you would say that part of having Christ as the center of your marriage is to be unified in a desire to serve Him. I would definitely agree. But the intent of my question was a little more specific (I should have been more clear). What specific things do you do or avoid doing that allow Christ to be the center? What does it mean for your daily life as a married couple?

      • Yes, getting more specific is good. One of the strengths I see in our marriage, in this regard, is the degree to which we just share our hearts on a regular basis concerning the Lord, what He is speaking to us, what He is doing in our hearts, what His desires are, what He is showing us in His Word, and so on. Communication around the Lord and in the things of the Lord keeps Him central in a vital way. We also pray together as an integral part of our life in Him. We share a daily devotional and occasionally read books out loud together. As a family (of six), we regularly worship together, study and share the Scriptures together and pray together in our home. We also use our home as a gathering place for the body to come together around Christ and share life together in Him. This all helps to hold Christ central in our family and in our marriage.

        On the side of what we avoid doing, we seek to avoid being conformed to this world in our materialistic desires so that we can live within our means, stay out of debt, and not be consumed by “the tyranny of the urgent.” This means dependence on the Lord for His provision and contentment in Him as our life and joy. We are careful what entertainment choices we make, etc. so that we are not unnecessarily dulled and defiled by the spirit of the world. These are some practical things that are a part of our home, family and marriage which also help to keep Christ central.

        Thanks for opening up this topic and for digging a little deeper with me. For those of us who desire to see Christ-centered expressions of the church restored in the earth, it has to begin in our homes, and especially in our marriages. A great question to put out there. I look forward to the other replies. Thanks.

  2. For my wife and I, keeping Christ at the center of our marriage means a commitment to forgiveness and grace. We have been together long enough to know that the fuzzy lovey dovey feelings pass. That is when I really discovered what love is. It is remaining committed to one another even when we screw up. It is laying down my own desires, ambitions and ego to serve my wife. It is being willin to do so even when my spouse is at her worst. It is the complete abandon of myself to display my love for her regardless of reciprocation.

    It is loving my bride like Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

    • Thanks for your comment, Bobby. It is not always easy to do these things (like showing love/mercy/understanding when your spouse it at their worst), but it seems like this is how Jesus would want us to respond. I’m often reminded how much patience Jesus has with me, how much of my antics he tolerates. And then I’m reminded to do likewise.

  3. Hey brother!
    So one of the first ways that Kalil and I agreed on in holding Christ as the center of our marriage was agreeing to learn to live by the indwelling life of Christ together. This decision was the spring board to working out issues, grievances, marital direction, family goals, etc.

    So with us both commiting to learn to live by the indwelling life of Christ individually and together we keep our focus on Him by daily sharing how we see Christ in our day-to-day activities, in our individual time with the Lord and in anything that may randomly come to mind about Christ. We spend time in the Lord together by sitting quietly and turning our minds to Christ, reading/praying/discussing scripture together, reading literature aloud, every now and then sing songs together and watching movies together and sharing pictures of Christ. When schedules permit, we weekly spend time together with other believers in our fellowship by eating together, playing games or just hanging out.

    This question has actually prompted both of us to explore new ways to fellowship with the Lord together in continuing to keep our focus on Him in our marriage–by looking outside our marriage and seeing how the Lord can have His way through us as a couple. A couple of things we already thought about were to be intentional with serving the community together in some way and be intentional in serving our fellowship together in some way.

    So Mark, we want to know how what practical things you and Jen do to keep your focus on Christ in your marriage 🙂

    Shea

    • Thank you, Shea! Learning to live by Christ’s life TOGETHER is really something special. I’ve noticed that Jenn and I will tend to come to an issue with our own opinions, which are often very different. As we dialogue about an issue (which could go on in many small conversations over a long period of time) we notice that our views will transform and Christ’s views are revealed. We used to get upset with each other when we disagreed, but we’ve come to see that we just have different experiences and neither of us are experts. Listening to the other’s point of view gets us to open our minds instead of being closed minded. So with our minds open, the Lord comes in and renews our minds.

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