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Put Christ at the center of your marriage. That sounds so spiritual doesn’t it? It even sounds obvious. However, I find that while many couples say that Christ is at the center of their marriage, the reality is that Christ is hardly in their marriage at all.
So what does it look like for a couple to have Christ at the center of their relationship?
1. You set your priorities by the Lord and His Word.
You were designed to declare the praises of God (1 Peter 2:9-10), to please him (2 Corinthians 5:9), and to walk worthy of the gospel (Ephesians 4:1). These verses, and many more like them, establish a priority system.
The Lord desires that we love him more than we love anything else. The best way to develop a love for the Lord is to think about all the ways he has loved you. This takes discipline of mind. There are so many other things that could compete for our mental energy.
The Lord desires that we serve him. However, there are many couples who spend very little, if any time, serving the Lord. The vast majority of their time is dedicated to other things. If you are not actively using your gifts and abilities to serve the Lord, then Christ is not at the center.
The Lord also desires that we steward well the resources he has given us. So when couples use the financial resources to accomplish things for the cause of Christ, they are demonstrating the priority of the Lord in their life. Jesus said where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. It is impossible to have Jesus at the center and not invest financially in the work of the Lord.
It is possible to give many more illustrations, but the point is that our priority system will be measured largely by the way we invest our time, talent, and treasure.
2. You think about the Lord in the mundane moments of life.
Our lives are boring. Think about it. Most of us do very similar things each day. Our work, while having some variety, is amazingly consistent. For the most part, we live is normal moments.
Yet it is in the normal moments that the Lord wants to direct our thoughts and actions. Let’s say your two-year-old is having one of those days. A day where you are convinced that demon possession is real. How do you respond?
Are you thinking that this is a day where you can be reminded of the greatness of the gospel? You could be an adult who is just as selfish as the child you are trying to raise. It was God’s grace that changed you. Now, as you see this little one who exhibits his or her will with reckless abandon that you realize just how thankful you are for the blood of Christ. Do you also pray that the same grace that changed you would touch the heart of your child too? Do you see this day as a day they desperately need the gospel? That is what being Christ centered looks like.
Or consider a time when you and your spouse were not communicating well. Each of you was saying increasingly hurtful things and you felt your blood pressure rising. If you were paying attention to Christ then you would have been asking questions like, “How does God want to use this criticism to help me grow to be more like Christ?” “What do I need to learn about my spouse?” “What did I do that encouraged this type of reaction?” In other words, the conflict became an opportunity for you to grow and change not an opportunity for you to blame the immaturity of your spouse.
I once heard Paul Tripp say that either Jesus lives in the 10,000 little moments of your life or he does not live in your life at all. I think that is a powerful statement.
3. You maintain spiritual disciplines.
Spiritual disciplines like prayer and study of the Word are not an end to themselves. They are a part of living with Jesus as the center. Prayer is a conversation with the Lord. I enjoy looking forward to conversations with my wife. Do I enjoy them with the Lord? The more I enjoy the Lord the more I will want to speak with him.
The same is true with the Word. The more I see it as a gift from the Lord, the more I will want to read it.
Having Christ at the center of your life is not complicated, but it is more involved than a simple answer we give in Sunday school.
Living a life with Christ at the center is not oppressive. It is full of joy.
Rob Green is the author of Tying the Knot: A Premarital Guide to a Strong and Lasting Marriage (New Growth Press). He is the pastor of counseling and seminary ministries at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN. Green also serves on the council board of the Biblical Counseling Coalition. He and his wife, Stephanie, have three children.
Publication date: March 30, 2016