Do you know what your spouse’s spiritual gifts are? When was the last time you two talked about your spiritual gifts? If you’re like most couples, you may not know what your gifts are, let alone your spouse’s spiritual gifts..
Learning about spiritual gifts can set you and your spouse on an exciting and new spiritual trajectory!
- You have the opportunity to learn new things about your spouse.
- You are empowered to help them grow in their relationship with Jesus.
- You can help them find a new expression of who they are in Christ.
As a result, the partnership the two of you share will deepen your intimacy with each other and with Christ.
“Where have you seen God at work lately?” That is the opening question Brad asks men every week at the Thursday morning Bible study he leads. Initially, Brad was met with blank stares and a couple of half hearted responses. (It’s tough to get guys to talk at 6:15 in the morning!) But over the years the men have learned to show up ready to talk about different experiences they have had with God.
In the busyness of life it can be so easy for couples to keep conversations on the surface. We discuss our schedules, kids’ activities and any chores that need to be done around the house. We may talk briefly about anything interesting happening at work. But after that, the nights and the weekends consume our time and we rarely take our conversations deeper.
What do these words have in common: portfolio, friends, title, power, possessions, celebrities, armies, weapons, the judicial system, and politics? They are all places where people put their trust. In nearly 30 years of ministry we have seen individuals and couples place their faith and confidence in varying degrees in these areas.
As a couple, when things get hard in your marriage or life, where do you turn for advice? Where do you get your strength and confidence? Where do you place your trust?
Photo by Christopher Michel on Wikimedia Commons
He was laid off from his job. The day had started normally. He went in to meet with his boss for their weekly meeting. He was prepared to discuss strategies, goals that had been met, and opportunities for the future. Twenty minutes later he walked out having been told his position was being eliminated.
In 2001 that was our story.
Have you ever done something you deeply regretted? It may be only known to you or a few others. It may have little or no effect on people around you. Or what you’ve done has been made public—very public—and the effect and consequences on others has been devastating. It may be a sin or a mistake against your spouse. It could be an event outside of marriage from some point in your past.
We’ve known spouses who are unable to fully engage in their marriage because they are weighed down with guilt and shame from their past. They struggle with receiving their spouse’s love and forgiveness because they keep themselves in a prison of regret. Even worse, they can hardly believe that God could fully forgive them for what they have done.
So how do you forgive yourself and move on?
The movie, “War Room,” has been capturing the hearts of millions of people with the message of hope through the power of prayer. Without giving away the outcome, it’s about a couple struggling in their marriage and the impact one pray-er could have on the trajectory of their future. We personally know one person who saw the movie and stopped their plans of divorce so they could instead intercede on behalf of their spouse.
In this post we’re simply going to give some traction for those who are desiring to pray for their marriage, but don’t know how.
In the history of the couples with whom we’ve worked, and in our own marriage, the health and vitality of the marital relationship rises and falls on how central this one perspective is in a couple’s marriage. It comes from the book of Proverbs in the Bible. In fact, it’s really the overarching theme of the entire book on wisdom. Here’s the verse that we believe carries the key to what matters most in marriage:
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge….” (Proverbs 1:7a)
Stick with us for a moment. “Fear” in this context doesn’t mean cowering and afraid. In the original language (Hebrew) it can also mean a reverential awe and respect.
Let’s take that verse and contextualize it for marriage: “When the two of you live with a reverent awe of God and align your relationship under His complete leadership, you will have insight into your relationship, wisdom in your priorities, and unity in your values.” Quite simply, staying centered means keeping your relationship with Christ actively central in your marriage.
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhoto.net
In over 33 years of marriage and almost as many years in full-time ministry, we have learned a few things about temptation and sin: 1) None of us is above falling and failing, 2) Satan will leverage our failure to keep us down, and 3) God wants us to walk in HIS victory, not in our failures.
This has profound implications on a marriage. If a spouse is burdened by their past—whether it is recent or long ago—it affects the dynamics of the marriage. They are living with reduced hope, limited confidence, a more critical spirit, and spiritual distance from God and their spouse.
We’ve walked the journey of sin, pain, and shame. We understand—and we can write with confidence that there IS hope, there IS victory, and there IS restoration for you through Jesus Christ! Here are four things to remember when your past isn’t pure: