31-Day Marriage Devotional
NO MORE CONDEMNATION
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
How honest can you be with your spouse? Is your marriage vulnerable and safe enough to communicate honestly? Are you free from critique and condemnation, which releases you to talk transparently?
A good way to think about my questions is to think about how you relate to the LORD. I suspect you are open, honest, and transparent with Him. You freely talk to Him (prayer), and He freely talks to you (Bible). He knows you through and through, and though your relationship is not perfect, you are in a safe place as you mature with Him.
Because of your call to imitate God (Ephesians 5:1), you have a remarkable opportunity to export your relationship with the LORD to your spouse. Think for a moment of what it could look like if you chose to imitate God in your marriage. Let’s focus on only one of the ways God relates to you: He does not condemn you.
God never condemns, mocks, criticizes or puts you down when you share your heart with Him (Ephesians 4:29). He is always ready to listen and willing to help. The Father knows your frame and understands your weaknesses. He encourages by speaking into your various situations with love (Psalm 103:12-14).
I’m sure you understand and appreciate this characteristic of the LORD but how does it work out in your marriage? Have you ever put something out there for your spouse to hear, only to quickly retract it because unkindness and disinterest met your moment of transparency?
Have you both created “pockets of silence” in your marriage because it’s easier not to speak to each other than it is to enter into an arduous conversation? Many couples are like this. They are more free on social media or with their other friends than with their spouses. They have forgotten this core tenet of the gospel: Christ’s works removes condemnation.
If you have lost that gospel edge, it is time to reclaim your relational regression by asking God to redeem your marriage. You and your spouse are not static beings; you’re always moving in one direction or the other. Either you are drifting apart, or you are intentionally pressing into each other. If you are drifting away from each other, it will only grow worse.
You will fill your pockets of silence with other things like children, work, hobbies, and even church. The key to restoring your marriage to gospel priorities begins by using your tongue for redemptive purposes rather than destructive ones (Ephesians 4:29). Christ came to transform lives, and you are supposed to be on His transformation team. Are you? The first place to begin restoring lives is with those closest to you. That person is your spouse.
Time to reflect
As you think through the “condemnation aspects” of your marriage, the questions below can apply to either gender.
- When your spouse shares his/her heart with you, is your posture inviting and desirous to learn more?
- Are you quick to give an answer or are you quick to listen while asking clarifying questions so you can understand (James 1:19)?
- How often do you ask your spouse about his/her “secret thoughts?” Do you seek to explore them with your spouse?
- Do you see your spouse as an inexhaustible discovery to be enjoyed or as an exhausting human being?
- Do your spouse’s weaknesses get on your nerves? How are you discipling your spouse through those weaknesses?
Share with your spouse the answers to the five questions I asked you. Be specific and practical when sharing any areas where you need to change with your spouse. You may want to write down your thoughts before you have this discussion. Ask the Father to give you the clarity you need to self-assess and communicate with your spouse.
Also published on Medium.