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Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Chances are you’ll mostly notice the décor: furnishings, color schemes, curtains, pictures, etc. But what makes that home endure through the years has much more to do with the foundation underneath the home and the framework behind the walls. In the end, the stuff we don’t see and tend not to pay attention to is much more important than the things we notice most.
It’s the same for your marriage.
Without a doubt, the foundation of your marriage is what will make it last. And that foundation needs to be Jesus. To quote an old hymn, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
So, what’s the foundation of your marriage?
It’s really easy to build your marriage on other stuff. It could be your kids, your financial success and material possessions, or even your religious activities. But kids grow up and move out, financial success ebbs and flows, material possessions ultimately ring hollow, and religious activities keep you busy but don’t equate to a genuine relationship with God.
A lasting marriage should be built on the foundation of a husband’s and a wife’s intimate and passionate relationship with Jesus – and nothing else. God, the very inventor of marriage itself, is the key to a strong and enduring marriage. There is no substitute!
Your relationship with, knowledge of and intimacy with God must be your foundation.
Once a firm foundation is established, the framework of your marriage is next in importance. Just like the walls of a house determine its strength, so does the framework of your marriage.
The framework of your marriage is composed of the things you believe and how you think about your marriage and your spouse. It’s the lens through which you see.
My personal lens is that God created marriage to be a reflection of the love relationship between Jesus, our Bridegroom, and us, the church, His bride. This is what I call the Bridal Paradigm , it’s this framework helps me see that my marriage should be full of things like unselfish love, unconditional giving, faithfulness, passion, trust and freedom This is what Paul call “the great mystery” of marriage in Ephesians 5:32.
Here’s a truth: it’s almost impossible to have a Bridal Paradigm framework without a foundation built on intimacy with the Bridegroom. Did you ever notice how cracks in the wall usually point to problems with the foundation?
We substitute any number of belief systems for God’s intended design for marriage. Some believe that marriage is about their personal happiness and fulfillment. Some see marriage simply as a social construct instead of a covenant relationship. Still others acknowledge marriage is the important backbone of our civil society, but fall short of seeing it as the Divine creation that it is.
Closely coupled to your belief system is the way you think about your marriage. How you think about your marriage and spouse can either add to the strength of the framework or take away from it. Check out my post “What Do You Think” for more thought on the importance of right thinking and some practical tips.
At last we are down to the things that people spend most of their time and attention on: the fixtures.
The fixtures in your marriage are many: friends, family, children, finances, your home, careers, vacations, religious activities, possessions and more. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying these things are bad or unimportant. It’s just that giving most of our attention to them will do little to build a strong, stable and lasting marriage.
The fixtures and furnishings in your marriage are what help to make it comfortable, enjoyable and inviting for you and for others. Do your best to make it so! Absolutely!
Fixtures are fine, but realize that when it comes to making your marriage strong and lasting, the foundation and framework should get the bulk of your attention and effort!
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