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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Just as faith is important in your walk with God, it's also important in your marriage.

Yeah, it's that whole bridal paradigm spiritual/marital thing again.

Faith is obviously a critical component of our life in God. But did you know that faith is also critical to the life of your marriage?

Springing off my last post, "Renew Your Dreams," I'm  starting a series today entitled "Faith, Hope and Love" in which I'll be covering each of these three topics in the coming weeks.

So let's get started with faith!

Faith in God

Our faith journey in God begins when we choose to believe in Jesus and in what he did for us at the cross. But of course that is just the start of our amazing lifelong adventure in God. Faith goes way beyond our initial salvation.

The Bible describes faith this way:
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
At its core, faith is about what we really believe in our hearts, even when the evidence runs contrary to the truths we profess to hold.

Faith requires knowing. For example, faith in the love of God, when it doesn't "feel" present, requires knowing who God is, knowing that his very nature is love. That's why Paul implores us in Ephesians 3 to get to know this unknowable love of God. He goes on to say that it is the key to fullness in our faith journey.

Knowing God's love, really knowing it, carries you through when you aren't feeling it.

Faith in Your Spouse

Admittedly, sometimes faith is a struggle, even when it comes to faith in a perfect and unchangeable God.

Faith in your fallible spouse, who isn't necessarily always walking in full maturity of their identity in Christ, is even more difficult. And the larger the gap between their behavior and who God says they really are, the more we will struggle to see and believe in the "real" person inside.

This brings me to the key scripture upon which we base this series.The context is Paul's familiar and detailed description of what love looks like. Then he concludes by describing what "mature" love looks like.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I Corinthians 13:11-13 NKJV
Matthew Henry notes in his commentary that faith is primarily expressed towards God. Hope, on the other hand is on behalf of ourselves.  Love, he says, is expressed mostly in loving others.

I agree that faith is firstly a spiritual matter, but as with most spiritual principles, I believe there is a marital equivalent.

What you believe about who your spouse is at their core - the way God sees them - matters a lot. Faith is important in your relationship with your spouse, because if you don't know who your husband or wife truly is, how can you partner with him or her in reaching their destiny in God?

Jenni and I have recently started watching the series Friday Night Lights. There is a great scene of marital faith in the second show of the first season. Without going into too much detail, the coach of the football team is despondent because his star quarterback, on whom a championship season had largely rested, is injured and out of the picture. The second string quarterback is wholly unprepared for the responsibility that suddenly falls to him.

The dejected coach says to his wife, in essence, "I can't do this. There is no way I can bring this kid up to speed in time." His wife calmly yet adamantly encourages him that yes, indeed he can do this. "It's who you are.  It's what you do." She reminds him of what he's done in the past. With her encouragement, rather than giving up and admitting defeat, he takes on the challenge. Without giving you a spoiler, I'll just say that the new kid makes incredible progress in an amazingly short time thanks to the way the coach pours himself into the young QB.

Your belief in your spouse has great power to call him or her back to their destiny.

I'll close this post with some questions to ponder regarding faith in your spouse:
  • Have you asked God to give you divine insight into who your husband or wife truly is - as God sees them?
  • Do you have faith enough in your spouse to extend grace to the them when their actions don't line up with who you know they truly are?
  • Are you able to remind your spouse who they are when he or she is unable to see it for themselves?
  • Do the words you speak to your spouse line up more with who God says they are or with their latest misstep?

What does faith in your spouse mean to you? How does it work it's way into your marriage? I'd love to hear. Leave a comment below.

Next time:  Part 2 - Faith in Your Marriage


Kate Aldrich said...

This so good, Scott! Such great wisdom in this post. God has give us a great privilege in how we love and care for our spouse. How we show the faith we have in them and in God who gave us this gift, greatly impacts our marriage. I love that I see the amazing things about Brad that others may not see. I get to see it all and while at times that is tough-it is a tremendous privilege! I get to see God work in him and the beauty unfold! I have faith that God will do that and us both in that process for each other. This is so good! :)

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