Overflow in the average household is usually a problem. For example:
When a casserole or pie bubbles over while baking, you end up with a crusty mess. At that point, you’re glad someone invented the self-cleaning oven.
Modern technology has ushered into our homes a host of electronic appliances and entertainment devices. But an overloaded circuit can mean anything from a tripped breaker to a menacing electrical fire.
These are the kinds of overflow you try to avoid and can gladly live without. But there is another kind you desperately need in your home, specifically in your relationship as husband and wife and as parents to your children. It is the overflow of your individual, personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As your life overflows with what God is doing in your heart, your spouse and your children are the blessed beneficiaries. That kind of overflow is an aspect of celebrating love that helps you feel cherished and captivated by your spouse.
It is clear from Scripture that believers were not designed to contain Christ but to overflow with him. As you consider the following passages, notice that growing in your personal relationship with Christ can get, shall we say, a little messy—in the best sense of the word.
“If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you.” (Luke 6:38)
“May you overflow with hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
“Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, their wonderful joy and deep poverty have overflowed in rich generosity.” (2 Corinthians 8:2)
Whatever you may believe about the much-debated “prosperity gospel,” that is not what we’re talking about here. Our point is not what should flow into your life as a result of your devotion to Christ, but what will flow out of your relationship with Jesus, touching those around you—principally your spouse and children. And our focus is noton material things but on spiritual things—Christ-like character qualities that will bubble over from your intimate fellowship with the Savior. This kind of overflow will make a significant impact on your relationships at home.
Here is a rather sweeping statement, but we believe it wholeheartedly and have experienced it in our marriage: Husband and wife, the very best thing you can do to foster celebrating love in your marriage is to grow in your individual relationship with Jesus Christ. The more you grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ through your study of the Word and prayer, the more Christ’s love, joy, peace, patience, and the rest of the fruits of the Spirit will flow out of your life, blessing your spouse—and vice versa.
Here’s an example of what that might look like in practical terms. You come to breakfast after having your personal devotions. As you eat, you share with your spouse a verse that was especially meaningful to you, something you intend to put into practice that day. Your spouse adds some important insights from his or her own personal time with God. You pray together about the issues you have discussed. You both leave the table enriched from the interaction with your spouse.
Later in the day you chat together by phone. Your spouse asks you how your day is going with specific reference to your conversation over breakfast. You share how God has been working in your life and ways you may have ignored his leading. Your spouse does the same. This time you offer a quick prayer over the phone for your partner.
At supper, at least part of the conversation is a recap of God’s activity in each of your lives through the day. You commiserate together over your failures and rejoice together over God’s victories. You sense a closeness in your relationship at the spiritual level, which is enriching other levels of your marriage. You can’t wait to see what tomorrow’s experiences will bring.
Imagine how this kind of interaction will positively influence your children. They will hear your conversations at the table. They will see how you depend on one another for spiritual insight and encouragement. They will see the overflow to one another from God’s activity in your hearts. They will sense your spiritual harmony orchestrating the depth of your relationship. What a way to prepare your kids for marriage!
In a very real sense, you and your spouse complete one another as you mutually celebrate the overflow of your relationship with Christ. Your spouse will gain insights that will greatly benefit you, and God will open your eyes to things that will enrich your spouse. Your husband or wife will actually grow spiritually as a result of what you share from your own walk with Christ. Think about it: You can be an instrument of spiritual maturity in your spouse’s life as you grow in Christ. It’s a completeness that you cannot achieve in any other way. Why would you not want to grow in Christ when your marriage will be all the better for it?
*For more helpful insights on how to connect with your spouse, check out Renewing Your Love: Devotions for Couples in our online bookstore.