Find a need and meet it

Continue on with us in our devotional challenge!

He got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with a towel he had around him. John 13:4–5

You're in the middle of your 5:00 AM shower and it hits you. You forgot to tiptoe past your sleeping wife into the kitchen and put on the coffee maker. Now you won't have time for a needed coffee jolt before you leave for work at 5:30. But when you step out of the shower, there on the bathroom sink is a steaming mug waiting for you. You smile. She didn't have to get up to do it – but she did.

Your husband took the kids to school on his way to work as usual, even after clearing the driveway of three inches of snow. Now the school has called to say your second grader has a fever and needs to be picked up. You bundle up and head out to your car, which was parked outside all night, with an ice scraper in hand. Not only was the driveway clear, but your man has scraped off your windows so you are ready to go. What a guy!

It happens the first Saturday in April every year. Your spouse burrows into the job of preparing the tax return – a job that would scramble your non-numeric brain. It's an all-day ordeal, often lasting well into the night. You feel guilty every year that you can't help more, but your spouse assures you that it's no problem. Instead, the next morning you always find a beautiful card with a handwritten note saying something like, "As I think about last year, I am so grateful that you love me and that we share our life together. I love you."

He knows you hate to pump gas, so he always keeps your tank full. He never mentions it, never complains about it, never criticizes you, and never forgets – even if he has to duck out late at night to make sure your tank is full for the next day. He has missed only once in the last six years – when he was down with mono. And even then he apologized for not being there to get gas for you!

Isn't this the kind of marriage you signed on for? Of course it is. Every one of us – whether consciously or subconsciously – came into marriage hoping for and perhaps expecting a spouse who understands our needs and spends his or her life meeting them. Major needs and minor needs. Physical needs, emotional needs, social needs, spiritual needs. Your particular gender needs as a man or a woman. Your unique personality needs. You yearned for someone to notice them, care about them, and work to fulfill them.

Has that hope been realized? Is your life one happy little vignette after another, just like the stories above? Are you the object of your spouse’s attention and affection to the point that he or she constantly meets your needs?

Let's turn the tables for a moment. Have your spouse’s wishes and dreams for a loving, serving spouse been realized? Are you the hero of an endless string of happy-ending stories in your marriage relationship because you're so good at meeting your spouse's needs?

Truth be told, no one's dreams for a totally selfless, need-meeting spouse has been completely realized because no one has a perfect spouse. But does that mean that such a serving love does not exist? Not at all. It does exist, and it is available to every husband and wife. It is the same kind of love Jesus demonstrated on the night before his crucifixion, the night he washed the feet of his disciples. You and your spouse may not be able to demonstrate serving love as perfectly and consistently as Jesus did, but thanks to the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit you can consistently grow in the way you meet each other's needs.

Let's take a closer look at Jesus' example of serving love. It may help you and your spouse to understand the dynamics of serving love in your marriage.

Do you think the Savior might have had other things on his mind that night in the upper room? Of course he did, very serious things. He knew that the final hours of his earthly life were ticking away, that a brutal death awaited him. And yet, with the weight of the world's sin mounting on his shoulders in the agony of impending betrayal, arrest, rejection, and physical torture filling his thoughts, he turned his attention and compassion to his band of disciples and their dirty feet.

Two observations here. First, whenever your spouse forgets to make your coffee or doesn't fill the gas tank or otherwise fails to meet your needs, don't be too hard on him or her. This is not Jesus you're married to; this is a loving but sometimes forgetful, sometimes distracted, sometimes stressed out human being. Be patient and forgiving.

Second, don't use your own busyness and stress as excuses for not serving your spouse selflessly. You're not Jesus either, but in his strength you can look beyond your own needs to meet his or hers.

Who really deserved to be served that night in the upper room? Certainly not the disciples. Jesus was their leader, their master – and they all knew it. If anybody should have been afforded the cultural courtesy of foot-washing, a task reserved for the lowest servants, it should have been Jesus. But that wasn't important to the One who took the basin of water and a towel to model what he had earlier taught: "The greatest among you must be a servant" (Matthew 23:11).

And to make sure his disciples didn't miss the point, when Jesus finished, he said, "You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and you are right, because it is true. And since I, the Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other's feet. I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you. How true it is that a servant is not greater than the master. Nor are messengers more important than the one who sends them. You know these things – now do them! That is the path of blessing" (John 13:13–17).

Let's be honest about this: your spouse doesn't always deserve the serving love Christ calls you to share. Agreed? Alright, now let's be brutally honest: Neither do you. Serving one another by noticing and meeting needs, great and small, is a ministry of grace. Jesus did not consider washing the feet of a bunch of self-centered disciples (they spent part of the dinner hour arguing who was the greatest) to be beneath him. Neither should you withhold loving, need-meeting service from your spouse, even when he or she doesn't notice, doesn't thank you, doesn't reciprocate, or doesn't deserve it. Rather, according to Jesus, living out serving love at home is "the path of blessing." 

Reflect Together

What are some of the ways your spouse has demonstrated serving love toward you this week? Think about the big things, such as working at a job, staying home with the children, or taking care of the house or yard. Think about the little things, such as doing one of your daily chores, running an errand for you, or refilling your coffee mug. What are some of the ways you have demonstrated serving love toward your spouse this week in these two categories?

Pray Together

Loving Savior, I am humbled by the example of serving love you provided for me in the upper room during the last supper. You alone are worthy to be served, and yet you were the servant. Your disciples didn't fully understand and/or appreciate what you were doing, but you did it anyway. I need your Spirit of serving love in me this week. Keep me focused on serving instead of being served, especially when I feel that my needs are being ignored. And fill me with your Spirit to love my spouse through these practical means of service. Amen.

Renew Your Love

Become a student of your spouse this week. Watch him or her closely through the eyes of Jesus, the serving Savior. Take note of his or her needs in the following categories, and consider some ways you can serve your spouse this week by meeting those needs:

  • Physical needs
  • Emotional needs
  • Social/relational needs
  • Spiritual needs
  • His or her needs as a man or woman
  • Unique personality needs

Make Haste to Make Up

Continue on with us in our devotional challenge! 

If you are standing before the altar in the temple, offering a sacrifice to God, and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there beside the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God. Matthew 5:23–24

Carrie accompanied Dan to his company's summer picnic, even though she really didn't want to go. But it was the first social event since Dan had joined the company, and he insisted that Carrie go with him. So they went. They had been at the park only a half hour when one of Dan’s female co-workers came up to greet them. She had a trim figure and was wearing a halter top and shorts. "Hey, Stacy, you look great!" Dan said exuberantly. "Someday Carrie might be able to wear an outfit like that again." Carrie smiled, but inside she felt the knife wound go deep.

"Not tonight, Eddie," Sarah sighed as she slipped into bed, "I'm just too tired. The kids ran me ragged today, and the baby will be up early. I need my sleep." She gave her husband a peck, flipped off her bedside lamp, and was asleep in minutes. Eddie lay awake in the darkness, numbed by Sarah’s refusal. He had called her during the day with sweet talk and hints of his intentions, and she had sounded willing. He had arrived home with flowers and a twinkle in his eye. He had cleaned up the kitchen and bathed the kids, allowing Sarah an hour of peace to watch her favorite TV show. After the kids were asleep, Eddie had lit candles in the bedroom and turned on soft music. But she had rebuffed him – again – and it hurt.

Alma raced out the door, keys jingling in her hand. She didn't have a moment to spare. It was her day to drive the car pool, and she didn't want her daughter are the two other little girls she was taking home today to wait at the school curb. Two blocks from home, the engine of the minivan sputtered and died, allowing just enough momentum for Alma to steer it to the roadside. Looking at the fuel gauge, she let out a grown of panic. It was empty. "Ben, you promised to fill up last night!" she grumbled angrily to herself. "You don't know how awful it is for me when you forget to fill the tank."

Can you identify with Dan, Sarah, or Ben? Have you ever hurt your spouse in some way? Alright, so it's a trick question. Of course you have hurt your spouse, just as he or she has hurt you. If not, you either haven't been married very long or one of you isn't human! Even the best of relationships is vulnerable to slights and slams, criticism and avoidance, lies and betrayals of some kind. Since marriage is the closest of all relationships, it is anything but exempt from hurt. And it's never a one-way Street. You have been the offender at least as often as you have been the offended.

Of course, the vast majority of the hurts we inflict on our husbands or wives are unintentional. We never really set out to insult each other, violate each other, or ignore each other. A slip of the tongue, a careless word or deed, a thoughtless omission – they happen because we are weak, sinful, and selfish human beings. But these slights and slips still hurt.

You have been on the offending side of marital conflict, and you have also been on the receiving end, feeling the pain of hurt and disappointment. Whether you were the giver or the receiver, every offense in a marriage needs a relational solution. In Matthew 5:23–24, Jesus offers some helpful and very practical advice for dealing with these painful lapses in marriage. And his instructions seem to be directed at the person who caused the offense.

It's interesting the way Jesus sets the scene for relational reconciliation. He pictures us "Standing before the altar … offering a sacrifice to God." Let's say this represents a good Christian husband or wife going about the business of seeking and serving God. You go to church regularly. You have devotions regularly. You do the Christian disciplines wholeheartedly.

It's no coincidence that this person "suddenly remembers" something isn't quite right with his or her spouse. That's what happens when we approach God in worship. The closer we draw to him, the brighter the searchlight of his love shines in our hearts. The Holy Spirit is free to point out areas of weakness and sin.

So don't be surprised if while standing in the church service singing to God or kneeling in prayer during your time of devotions, you suddenly feel convicted by the Spirit of an offense. Of course, God can plant that thought in your heart at any time, even by prompting you're offended spouse to say something like, "I felt hurt when…"At that key moment, you are right where God wants you and he is lovingly taking the opportunity to clear up something between you and your dear one.

Next Jesus commands, "Leave your sacrifice…Go and be reconciled." Is he saying that the health of our horizontal relationships with others, including our spouse, is at least as important as our vertical relationship with God? Is he saying something like, "God isn't interested in your worship until you make right the wrong you did"?

This may be a little difficult for some to grasp, but such an interpretation is compatible with the rest of Scripture. For example, Jesus didn't want people to call him "Lord "if they weren't going to obey him (see Luke 6:46). Love for God and love for people are inseparable in God’s scheme of things. You won't get very far in your spiritual life if you fail to clear up offenses in your marital life.

Does this mean that Dan should drag Carrie out of the church service and apologize to her when he realizes how insulting his comment was? Should Sarah get off her knees without finishing her devotions and call Eddie and ask his forgiveness for being insensitive to his needs? There's nothing wrong with these ideas, but the essence of Jesus' command seems to be this: "As soon as you realize that you have offended your spouse, nothing is more important than making it right."

Don't delay. Don't put it off. Don't procrastinate. Confess your wrong, and ask your spouse’s forgiveness at your earliest convenience. The health of your marriage and your relationship with God depend on it.

Reflect Together

Which of the following statements best summarizes how you usually respond when you have offended your spouse?

I am quick to recognize my wrong and quick to make it right.

I am a little slow to recognize my wrong, but when I do, I am quick to make it right.

I am quick to recognize my wrong, but it takes time to work up the courage to make it right.

I am slow to recognize my wrong and slow to make it right.

I make things right only when my spouse confronts me and demands a response.

I try to ignore my wrongs and hope my spouse will just quietly forgive me.

Pray Together

Lord, thank you for responding quickly to my confessions of sin and pleas for forgiveness. Impress on my heart this week the importance of clearing up offenses with my spouse just as quickly. I don't want my relationship with you to be hindered by insensitivity or hard-heartedness. Shorten the response time between my wrongs in my efforts to make things right. And please work in my heart so that I am more quick to stop before I hurt my spouse by what I say or do. Amen.

Renew Your Love

How have you become aware this week of ways you have hurt your spouse? How has the Holy Spirit brought to your attention offenses you have either overlooked or not made right? It's time to "leave your sacrifice at the altar" and clear up any offenses that may be between you. Spend some time in prayer, asking God to bring to your mind anything hurtful you have done. Ask your spouse if you have unknowingly offended him or her in any way. Confess your wrong, ask for forgiveness, and enjoy renewed fellowship with God and your spouse.

Open Your Heart and Close The Loop

Continue on with us this week in our devotional challenge!

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23–24

The moment you do or say something that hurts your marriage partner, you stand at a fork in the road. Whether you are aware of it or not, at that very moment you can choose to go in one of two directions. You may be standing at that junction right now. Perhaps a thoughtless word or deed in the last few hours or minutes has directed a barrier of distance in your relationship. It may not be a "big deal"; you wonder if your husband or wife even noticed it. But you know what happened. How will you respond to it? Which direction will you choose?

One choice is to go on with life as usual, as if nothing happened. You can pretend that everything is fine between you, even though you know it's not fine. You can be your cheery, communicative self, expecting the incident to blow over. But these kinds of things, even the smallest of them, never really blow over. They tend to simmer below the surface and erupt at the most inconvenient times. So you can do nothing if you want to, but we don't recommend it.

Your other choice, the second fork in the road, is to set to work to resolve the conflict as soon as possible. It means taking the initiative to set things straight, to clear the air, and to restore the relationship. It requires courage to restore and rebuild a relationship – regardless of which side of the fence you're on. It also takes time, patience, trust, and maybe even some tears. But the benefits of a restored relationship far outweigh the effort involved.

We call this second step "closing the loop" on relational offenses. Your hurtful words or actions open the loop by introducing pain. It is important to close that loop as soon as possible to deal with the pain and return the relationship to harmony. Closing the loop is forgiving love in action. It's the biblical pathway to confronting offenses, resolving conflicts, and healing hearts. This is God’s way to restoring mutual acceptance and intimacy in the wake of misunderstanding and pain. Closing the loop through forgiving love is a vital component in divorce-proofing your marriage.

The most important step in taking the path of forgiveness is heart preparation. Your heart must be right, or your efforts at closing the loop will be shallow and ineffective. King David was a man after God’s own heart because he consistently – though not perfectly – invited God to work in his heart. Notice how much David talked to God about the condition of his heart:

"I will thank you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done." (Psalm 9:1)

"You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night. You have scrutinized me and found nothing amiss, for I am determined not to sin in what I say." (Psalm 17:3)

"The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart." (Psalm 19:8)

"May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." (Psalm 19:14)

"Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies." (Psalm 24:3–4)

"Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind." (Psalm 26:2, NIV)

"My heart has heard you say, 'Come and talk with me.' And my heart responds, 'Lord, I am coming.'" (Psalm 27:8)

How do you prepare your heart for closing the loop through forgiveness? Here are several important steps:

Humble yourself and pray. Before you say a word to your spouse, get on your knees and confess your sin to God. That's what it is, you know: sin. When you hurt your dearest one, whether intentionally or unintentionally, you have sinned against God as well as another person. Ask God to help you resolve the issue in a way that honors him. Ask him for sensitivity to your spouse's perspective on the issue. As you pray, God will soften your heart and help you see his priorities for your relationship.

Look for the underlying cause of the conflict. As God searches your heart, keep alert for the real source of the hurt between you and your spouse. The latest incident may just be the trigger. There may be a deep, long-standing problem that has been buried over months or years and must be rooted out and dealt with. You may not know where to look for it, but God does. Listen to his voice – especially as he speaks to you through your spouse.

Make your relationship your top priority. Don't trivialize the need to clear the air between you and your spouse. This is no time to let a golf match or a shopping spree interrupt the process of identifying hurts, confessing wrongs, and seeking forgiveness. You may even want to take a day or weekend away in order to avoid anything that would distract you from closing the loop.

Consider asking a trusted friend to hold you accountable. Sometimes it is very helpful to involve a third person who will hold you accountable for closing the loop. It should be someone you both trust and respect, someone who will treat your relationship and conflict with the utmost confidentiality. Invite this person to ask you periodically how you are doing at resolving the issue. God can direct you to such a person if you ask him.

Reflect Together

How would you assess the condition of your heart today in regard to resolving conflicts and healing hurts in your relationship? Are you eager for God to search your heart and point out your part of the problem? Are you ready to humble yourself before God and your spouse to confess you're wrong and seek forgiveness? Are you courageous enough to ferret out the real problem behind the conflict, even if it requires further confession of wrong on your part? Will you make your relationship with your spouse top priority through this process?

Pray Together

God of my heart, I pray with David that you would search me, know my heart, test me, and know my thoughts. I invite you to show me where I am offending my spouse and thus offending you. As you do, I will humble myself before you, acknowledge my sin, and do my part to restore our relationship. I also pray for my spouse, asking you to work in his [her] heart as you work in mine. Draw us so close to you and to each other so that we are quick to close the loop whenever offenses occur. Amen.

Renew Your Love

Is there an issue in your marriage relationship where the loop of forgiveness has not been closed? Spend several minutes meditating on the "heart" psalms recorded above. What do you sense the Holy Spirit directing you to do in response to these passages? Which steps do you need to take to close the loop? Jot down a plan of action, noting what you need to say to your spouse or do to close the loop. Prioritize this process by giving yourself a time frame for completion. Get started today.

Do you have what it takes to forgive?

Join us for the rest of 2016 in a devotional couples challenge! Dive into the Word together, seek the Lord and watch your faith grow.

Jesus said, "Father forgive these people, because they don't know what they are doing." Luke 23:34

Jesus’ prayer from the cross has to qualify as the greatest understatement of all time. He asked the father to forgive those participating in his murder "because they don't know what they are doing." Before we look at his amazing reason for requesting forgiveness, let's zoom in on the request itself: "Father, forgive these people."

To whom was Jesus referring when he said "these people"? Was it the Roman soldiers spiking his arms and legs to the cross? The bloodthirsty crowd cheering the soldiers on in jeering the condemned prisoner? The Jewish leaders who masterminded the plot to arrest him and drag him through a kangaroo court? Caiaphas, the high priest who accused the Savior of blasphemy and called for a death sentence? Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who let the execution happen?

Well, we don't know. In the text, Jesus didn't name any names or classes or categories of people. He just said "forgive these people." We must assume he was referring to the whole lot of them – anybody who had a hand in what was happening on Golgotha that dark, dismal afternoon. It was a blank check kind of prayer, as if Jesus had said, “Father, you know who's guilty, and I ask you to forgive every one of them."

Wow! How could the innocent son of God let anybody off the hook just like that? His answer: "They don't know what they are doing."

Who didn't know? Once again, no names are mentioned, so we must assume once again that everyone present was included. But wait. The Roman soldiers knew what they were doing, didn't they? They were following orders to conduct a grisly execution. And the Jewish leaders knew what they were doing, right? They were ridding themselves of a rabble-rousing rabbi who was upsetting the religious status quo with his unconventional and blasphemous teaching. To whom was Jesus referring?

The people Jesus prayed for that day thought they knew what they were doing, but their knowledge was shortsighted and self-centered. But they really didn't know what they were doing or, more important, who they were doing it too. Jesus saw the big picture. He could have said 

"You don't know that you have condemned as a sinner the only person ever to walk the face of the earth without sin" (see Hebrews 4:15). 

"You don't know that I am dying in innocence so you don't have to die in your guilt" (see Romans 3:23). 

"You don't know that you're putting to death the one who breathed into you the breath of life" (see Genesis 2:7). 

"You don't know that you are destroying the One who holds the universe together around you" (see Colossians 1:17). 

"You don't know that the One whose life you were trying to end today never had a beginning and never will end" (see Revelation 21:6). 

What capacity for forgiveness! Jesus was the victim of the greatest injustice and atrocity perpetuated by humankind. Here was an innocent man, God's own son, come to earth to fulfill the plans foretold in scripture – to fulfill his Father’s will. He didn't sin, he didn't hurt anybody, he cared for others instead of himself. He taught about love, forgiveness, faith, hope, and heaven. Yet they crucified him. He didn't fight back. He turned the other cheek. They nailed him to a tree, and he willingly submitted to their cruelty.

Why? Guiltless, he loved us enough to die the death of the guilty. He was our sacrifice for sin, the perfect lamb – slain. And while in mortal agony and with his dying breath, he asked his father to pardon those who did it even before they knew what a terrible thing they had done. Amazing!

How do you feel when your spouse insults you or ignores you or betrays you or lies to you or offends you in some other way – and you are supposed to forgive him or her as Christ has forgiven you (see Colossians 3:13)? Do you reach into your heart at times like that, wondering if you will find what it takes to forgive him or her?

If so, you're not alone. On our own we all lack the limitless grace that can release the offender completely and forgive the offense. Once again God the great forgiver steps in and helps us. He not only knows about the cost of forgiveness, but he wants to fill our hearts with what it takes to forgive our spouses when they offend us. He has lavished on us this gift of forgiveness amply supplying us with exactly what he wants us to give to others.

The power to forgive in marriage ultimately comes from God. All he asks is that we pass his gift along. Forgiving love comes from God, and when God's forgiveness fills us, we have more than enough forgiving love to share with others, including our spouses.

"But the hurt is too great," you may argue. "It is impossible for me to forgive." We have all endured situations so painful that we wonder if we can let go of the offense and forgive the offender. But forgiveness is never impossible. God would never command us to do something we cannot do. By allowing God's gift of forgiveness to fill your heart, you can overcome the greatest of offenses, including devastating financial blunders, addictions, abuse, and adultery.

You may further object, "Well, I'm not going to forget my spouse until he [or she] asks for it." Good luck, because it takes some people a long time to own up to their mistakes, and others may never get a clue. And when you get right down to it, forgiveness, as God showed us, is an act of grace. It's not something your spouse must earn with a heart of contrition and an apology, even though confession of wrong is a vital part of resolving conflict.

Our forgiveness must be patterned after God's forgiveness of us. Did Jesus die on the cross because we were worthy of it? Not a chance. He forgave those who killed his son – and all of us – with no strings attached. In fact, he forgave us more than 2,000 years before we even sinned against him. God forgives out of a grace-filled heart of forgiveness. It cannot be earned, so we must not offer forgiveness with conditions. We must simply forget as God does and let him deal with the heart of your spouse regarding his or her offense.

Reflect Together

Imagine Jesus gazing at you from the cross as he prays, "Father, forgive these people." How do you respond to Jesus' request on your behalf? Is there a part of you that tends to resist because you feel that your sin is too great to forgive? Is there a part of you that takes God's forgiveness for granted because you have been a Christian most of your life? Is there a part of you that swells with gratitude because you are painfully aware of what God forgave in your life? What other thoughts and feelings rise up in you? Which response seems to be the most dominant for you? In your opinion, why? 

Pray Together

Forgiving Father, I realize that I can never do anything so bad that you cannot or will not forgive me. I rejoice and revel in your goodness and grace. Your Son’s sacrifice on the cross has set me free from my sin and its penalty. Hallelujah! You treat my spouse the same way, even when he [or she] offends me. How can I hold something against him [her] that you will not? Fill me with your grace and forgiveness this week, not only toward my spouse but also toward others who offend me. May I continually grow as a forgiving person, beginning in my marriage. Amen.

Renew Your Love

As you peer into your heart today, do you find forgiveness for your spouse to be weak or incomplete in some areas? Do you have any conflicts between you that are not fully resolved because your forgiveness has not been fully offered? Prayerfully summarize your insights and feelings in a brief note to your spouse. Explain that God is teaching you about forgiveness and state your desire to follow through. At an appropriate time, read the note to him or her, then verbalize your total and complete forgiveness.

Continue the journey and read the next devotional together!

 

Why be “Equally Yoked”?

why-be-equally-yoked-americas-family-coaches-marriage-blog

Q. I’m a Christian. Why is it important for me to be married to a Christian?

A. Believers have to be careful not to be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14, KJV), because no matter how much love you may feel as you’re dating an unbeliever, it won’t carry you through years of going to church alone, arguing over your views of finances, raising kids, and dealing with life’s other issues. Picture yourself being alone because you can’t connect at the area of your life that is most important: your deep and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. When you marry an unbeliever, you will eventually experience a very painful emptiness in your marriage.

This is a significant issue because when you’re making decisions together, you’ll want to be able to discuss those decisions from the standpoint of both of you desiring God’s will. Resolving conflict and experiencing forgiveness need to come as an overflow of a personal relationship with Christ. When you’re dealing with finances and the stewardship of your God-given resources, your decisions need to come through a filter of the relationship with Jesus Christ. The physical aspect of your relationship is most fulfilling when it comes from your own deep intimacy with Jesus.

[Jesus said,] “I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Excerpted from The Great Marriage Q&A Book.