A Marriage Lived for God
By Gina Smith
“You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” - Psalm 27:8
Practicing the Presence of God is a book written about the teachings of a man named Brother Lawrence. In his book, we are challenged to focus on God during the day-in and day-out living of our lives. This practice not only helps to do away with those things that distract us from God, but teaches us to come into His presence and to stay there!
Brother Lawrence was a Carmelite monk who lived in France in the 17th century. His assigned duty in the monastery was to prepare the food each day and to clean up afterwards. This was a task that he did not enjoy, and that seemed quite tedious to him, so he began to practice bringing his relationship with God into his daily tasks by turning this time into an invitation for God to enter into everything he did, and having an on-going conversation with God.
The following was written about Brother Lawrence: “Brother Lawrence retreated to a place in his heart where the love of God made every detail of his life of surpassing value. His objective was to keep a steady connection with God by means of communication throughout the whole day no matter what his day brought.”
What would happen in our marriages if we took this approach to our lives and brought all of our marriage issues into the presence of God? What would happen if we lived “intentionally, and without ceasing—an attentiveness to God’s close presence”?
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” - Psalm 16:1
If we brought God into all of our marriage ups and downs, no matter how big or how small, I wonder if we would experience much more joy in the life-long nurturing of our relationship with our spouse. If we purposed to bring God into our everyday lives as a couple, taking the time to stop and acknowledge His presence to each other, I think there would be much less in the way of conflict and much more in the way of joy!
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you…” - John 14:26
“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” - Hebrews 4:16
I wonder how our marriages would look If we decided to talk to God before we picked up the phone to complain to a friend, or before we picked up the latest marriage book. Don’t you think that our view of each other would look different as our defensive, prideful, stubborn, and easily offended hearts began to melt like wax in the presence of an all-mighty God!
“But for me, it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.” - Psalm 73:28
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” - James 4:8
If we want God to be the center of our marriages, then we must learn what that truly means and choose to turn to Him throughout the day. Not just at the beginning or end of the day - It must be a moment-by-moment practice, a task-by-task choice, and an interaction-by-interaction habit. Practicing the presence of God means remembering that He is with you every second and is present as you live out your calling as a married person
So, how can this be done? We can learn to draw close to God in all things:
1. As you greet each other in the morning, looking for ways to serve each other as you begin your day - keep His presence central.
2. As you part ways for the day, praying together and for each other as you begin your workday - keep his presence central.
3. As you approach each task, seeing your work as a privilege and a provision from God - keep his presence central.
4. As you care for the children God has gifted you as a couple - Keep his presence central.
5. When you are interacting with other couples - keep his presence central.
6. When you are tired at the end of the day, keep his presence central.
7. When you feel a conflict coming on, keep his presence central.
8. When you have a decision to make as a couple, keep his presence central.
9. When the dishes need to be washed, the laundry needs to be done, or the house needs to be cleaned, keep his presence central.
10. When you need to connect as a couple, keep his presence central.
Try it for a day and you will see how quickly the world, the flesh, and the devil (the enemies of our soul) interrupts, distracts, and tries to divide you as a couple. You will also see how very desperate you are for God, and how needful of keeping his presence central you really are! As you practice His presence, you will hear His voice leading you through the daily life you have been given, and you will be able to see how He is working in your life and in the life our your spouse, and you will begin to experience and intimacy with God, and with your spouse, that can only happen when you practice the presence of God.
Gina Smith is a writer and author who has been married for 31 years to Brian, a college professor and athletic trainer. For the past 20+ years Gina and her husband have served on a Christian college campus as the on-campus parents, and her husband has been a professor and dean of students. They have lived on the campus where they raised both of their now married children. In her spare time, she loves to write, writes for several websites, and recently authored her first book “Grace Gifts: Practical Ways To Help Your Children Understand God's Grace". She also writes at her personal blog: ginalsmith.com.
You want a happy family who’s growing closer to God and each other every day. But how do you break down the barriers to a loving marriage? How can you connect with your kids and help them in their struggles? How does your faith make a real difference in your family’s life?
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Originally published Monday, 18 April 2022.