SETTING ASIDE YOUR DESIRES TO DISCIPLE YOUR SPOUSE
“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
The biggest problem that hinders humble discipleship in a marriage is self-centeredness. Too many spouses demand what they want while relegating their role to disciple their spouse to a tertiary function.
Nothing will blow up a marriage quicker than a lack of other-centeredness, a mindset that is contrary to the gospel. Jesus set aside His desires to help broken people. Discipleship is every spouse’s job.
Christ took on the form of a servant to transform damaged individuals (Philippians 2:5-10). A large part of my marriage counseling is spent pressing this kind of “gospel thinking” into the minds of the couple in trouble. Not until they get the other-centered force of the gospel right will they get their marriage right.
You can’t fix your marriage no matter how loud you yell or how much you demand. Your spouse was completely and utterly broken down by Adam and needs your help to overcome those Adamic shaping influences.
In this way, your marriage is more about your spouse and Adam than you. Your spouse has a preexisting—Adamic—condition. Both marriage partners should be living out this kind of gospel-informed worldview. Here are six helpful ideas to unpack what that looks like in your marriage.
Concur – Agree that your spouse is messed up. He/she is not entirely sanctified. There are things wrong that need your discipleship care. Do you know how to address those things humbly?
Confess – Make sure you are not compounding your spouse’s problems by adding your issues to the pile. Do you know how to lead your spouse by removing your problems from the marriage?
Communicate – With you no longer part of the problem, start talking to your spouse about how to best serve in their sanctification. Do you think about a redemptive plan for your spouse’s sanctification?
Collaborate – Your collaboration must be practical and reciprocal. Be specific in how you want to serve your spouse. How are you doing at motivating your spouse to be like you?
Community – Let others into your marriage. You both need a grace-filled community to help bring change. Bring your marriage into the light of a small community of friends. Who are the friends that are helping your marriage?
Continue – There is a “unique way” for you and your spouse to walk out mutual repentance in your marriage. It is a lifelong process. As you continue to work together, here are twenty practical tips for your consideration.
What is the hardest item on the list of twenty for you to do with your spouse? Why is it hard?
Make it your aim to change that, which begins by talking to God and, eventually, your spouse so you both can work at improving the snag in your marriage.