"There's so much more to spirituality in your marriage than just church."
-Toben & Joanne Heim
To that we say, "AMEN!" When Cindy and I (Steve) were married in 1972
neither of us were Christ followers. We went to church on Christmas and
Easter, but that was all we did together spiritually. Even after we
committed our lives to Christ in 1974 it was a long time before I really
got the importance of applying God's word, the Bible, to ALL aspects of
our lives together.
The Bible makes it clear that there is not to be a disconnection between
knowing about, reading His word, and APPLYING it to how we live with one
another. And yet it happens! We go to church, hear God's spoken word,
pray, sing about the Lord, and yet we go home and live a totally opposite
way of life --apparently forgetting about Christ. At home we're often
inconsiderate, selfish, dishonest, unforgiving, and treat each other
hurtfully. How this must break the very heart of God!
Could all of this be because we stop short of taking Christ within us so
our inward and outward life reflects His heart? Could it be that we
neglect to ask God to help us EXPERIENCE what He says in His Word, the
Bible? To "experience," according to the dictionary, is to "live through,
to personally undergo." The question is: are you PERSONALLY living
through, and undergoing the Word of God in everyday living with each
other, so it becomes a very part of who you are?
When you do, your marriage will take on a whole new life. We've come to
experience this in our own marriage and as we pray you'll personally
experience it in yours. When you do, you'll see what a great guide the
Bible can be for living with "one another."
Here's what Toben and Joanne Heim write on this issue, in their book,
"Great Expectations, an Interactive Guide to Your First Year of Marriage."
They point to using God's word as a guide:
"The New Testament is full of what many people call the 'one another's.'
These verses about how we should treat other people are essential for
learning about community. But in marriage --in the community of two --we
find the greatest opportunity to learn how to love another person. When we
make the 'one another's' a practice in our marriages, we're better
equipped to reach out to others. So what's included in the 'one
another's?' Here's a short and very important list [NOTE: all scripture
passages are quoted from The Message]:
-- "Take this moment seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on
earth is a no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean
this. (Matthew 18:20)
-- "Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I
loved you, love one another. (John 13:34)
-- "Reach out and welcome one another to God's glory. Jesus did it; now
you do it! (Romans 15:7)
-- "I'll put this as urgently as I can: You must get along with each
other. You must learn to be considerate of one another, cultivating a
life in common. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
-- "So, my friends, when you come together to the Lord's table, be
reverent and courteous with one another. (1 Corinthians 11:33)
-- "It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just
make sure that you don't use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever
you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to
serve one another in love; that's how freedom grows. (Galatians 5:13)
-- "Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly
and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)
-- "Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.
-- "Don't lie to one another. You're done with that old life. It's like a
filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the
fire. (Colossians 3:9)
-- "Let the Word of Christ --the Message --have the run of the house. Give
it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using
common sense. And sing; sing your hearts out to God! (Colossians 3:16)
-- "Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don't
need me to tell you what to do. You're God-taught in these matters.
Just love one another! (1 Thessalonians 4:9)
-- "Speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be
together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you're
already doing this; just keep doing it. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
-- "Now that you've cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one
another as if your lives depended on it. (1 Peter 1:22)
-- "No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells
deeply within us, and His love becomes complete in us --perfect love!"
The Toben's go on to say, "Loving and being honest with one another,
getting along with one another, reassuring one another, serving one
another, encouraging one another, forgiving one another, and being
considerate of one another --just think what your marriage could be like
if you consistently practiced all of these things!"
The Toben's suggest that one good way to begin applying these verses in
your marriage is to print out the list and carry it around with you (maybe
in your daily calendar) and then pull them out periodically and read a few
to remind you of how you are to relate to one another. You can even type
them out and post them somewhere so you can review them periodically.
They suggest, starting with the holy embrace --or the holy kiss, as some
other versions of the Bible translate it! What a great idea!
Cindy and I realize that it's very easy to forget these "one another's" --
especially at times when things aren't going well in your marriage. But
keep in mind how Jesus treated others, even those who didn't treat him
well. Our prayer for you this week is that as you read over this list it
will inspire you to love and serve one another in a way that honors Christ
and the vows you made to each other on your wedding day.
We also hope you will live out your convictions, as expressed in Hosea
14:9 (NLT): "Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those who
are discerning listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right,
and righteous people live by walking in them."
God Bless! Steve and Cindy Wright