CHANGE ONE THING
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
What were the practical things you did when you first won your spouse’s affections? Are you still doing them or has the pace of life diverted your attention from your marriage priorities? Go back to the giddy time in your relationship. Do you remember those carefree and silly days when it was just you two? Those days do not have to remain in your past. It was important to Lucia and me that we fight to keep the “dating experience” in our “marriage experience.”
Because of the grace of God we still enjoy giddy, silly, carefree, and fun times in our relationship; we are still buddies, always working not to let anything come between us, including our children, our work, or our church. But it was not always this way.
We lost focus in our marriage. The moorings of a stable marriage broke loose, and we drifted from the God-centered practicalities of our covenant. We needed a severe marital realignment. Thankfully, God imposed Himself into our marriage.
He did for us what we could not do for ourselves: He changed us (2 Timothy 2:24-25). It did not happen overnight; it was two challenging years, but we fell in love with each other all over again. Though the pace of our lives is at an all-time high due to our ministry and the age of our children, those things do not disrupt our marriage priorities.
With God’s assistance, we fight to maintain today what we began while dating. Our goal is to behave like newlyweds until the LORD calls on death to separate us. That means we must continue to grab, touch, hold, hug, feel, and kiss each other like we did in the early days.
But with a twist.
In the beginning, we were young, somewhat silly, naive, and enjoyed intimacy because that is what young people do. Today, our love is breathtakingly more mature. It’s maturity between two individuals who have seen the devastating effects of selfishness, and who have asked and received marital redemption.
If your marriage is tanking, do not think another person will solve your problems. All another person will do is give you another ten or fifteen years to get back to the same place you are today. Don’t think hobbies or addictions are the answer either. Those things will lead you down a path of dissatisfaction to where nobody or nothing will be able to make you happy.
Fortunately, the problem is closer to you, and more within your control: it is in your heart. If you will humbly confess whatever sins that separate you from God and your spouse, He will jump to your side to help restore your marriage (James 4:6). If sin is the thing that keeps you from a romantically healthy marriage, God has a solution and a desire to give you an incredible marriage restoration.
I realize some spouses can be too hurt, too unforgiving, too stubborn, or too mean to make these changes. Spousal unwillingness does happen, and it makes things immeasurably hard for the willing spouse. My appeal is for you not to shortchange the grace of God, by not trying to follow Him through the dark waters of an imperfect marriage.
If not trusting Him by doing your thing helped to lead to an unsatisfactory marriage, the best answer you have is to make up your mind to follow Him now regardless of the cost or time involved (Luke 14:28-33).
What is one thing you will do to change yourself, with the hope the LORD will use your obedient faith to improve your marriage?
Ask God what that one thing is. Write down what you believe He is leading you to change. Make a realistic plan to change that thing about you.