In the month of August, Stacey and I had the opportunity to do three marriage conferences. We love partnering with churches to keep marriages strong. We also have a tremendous burden to help struggling marriages find hope through the healing power of God’s love. Each weekend, it was exciting to see couples grasping concepts of biblical marriage; some for the first time. One topic that seems to cause an “ah-ha” moment is marital unity. It comes up in conversation time and time again at these conferences.
Most believers are familiar with the Ephesians 5 passage concerning marriage. But healthy marriages also apply the principles of unity found in Ephesians 4:1–6. Paul says to live, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” He’s not just talking about the people with whom we go to church. Unity is as necessary for a healthy marriage as it is for the church as the body of Christ.
That’s when the lightbulb comes on. Christian couples sometimes forget that their spouse is included every time the Bible says, “one another.” Marital unity is the result of each spouse prioritizing their relationship with Jesus. When both live in submission to Christ, they willingly embrace the God-given roles of Ephesians 5. One role is not superior to the other. Both are given for our good and for God’s glory.
On the other hand, being spiritually passive tends to create division in a marriage. For instance, selfishness creeps in. Each person becomes more concerned with their own well-being than honoring Christ by displaying Christian love for “one another.” Often, couples in this type of marriage put all their effort into simply not failing. Before long divorce becomes an easy answer.
Throughout August we watched couples kneel together in prayer; submitting to the authority of God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit. It’s thrilling to talk with a couple right after they fully commit their marriage to the Lord. I pray they continue to place great value on their individual relationships with Jesus Christ. If so, they will reap the rewards of a marriage that excels in unity. That’s why Stacey and I challenge couples to follow God’s purpose and design for marriage. And it’s why we’ll continue partnering with churches to keep marriages strong.