Marriage Devotion Day 24 – Setting Aside Your Desires to Disciple
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.
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“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” (Philippians 2:3-4).
Christ took on the form of a servant to transform damaged individuals (Philippians 2:5-10). I spend a large part of my marriage counseling pressing this kind of “gospel thinking” into a troubled couple’s minds. Not until they get the other-centered force of the gospel right will they get their marriage right. You can’t fix your covenant no matter how loud you yell or how much you demand. Adam entirely and utterly broke down your spouse, and that person 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 imperfect. They are 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 issues from the marriage?
- Communicate – With you no longer complicating the situation, start talking to your spouse about how to best serve in their sanctification. Do you think about a redemptive plan for your spouse’s transformation?
- Collaborate – Your collaboration must be practical and reciprocal. Be specific with 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 relationship 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.
20 Practical Tips
- Confess your sin against your spouse soon after the sin.
- Rendezvous regularly to chat, whether on dates or at bedtime.
- Talk about your more vulnerable thoughts.
- Inquire about your spouse’s thoughts.
- Have a consistent sex life.
- Pray for each other at different times during the day.
- Follow up Sunday’s sermon by asking application questions.
- Show affection in different venues, even in front of others.
- Grab, touch, and flirt with each other regularly.
- Kiss often.
- Discern evidence of God’s work in your spouse’s life and talk about it.
- Begin your sleep by being close to each other.
- Honor each other in public.
- Never talk critically about your spouse unless your spouse is there, aware, and agrees with you sharing with others.
- Share what God is doing in your life regularly.
- Have lots of fun with each other.
- Laugh together.
- Hold hands.
- Ask your spouse their perspective on how you can mature.
- Let your spouse know when you observe their sin.
Time to Reflect
What is the most problematic item on the list for you to do with your spouse? Why is it hard?
Make it your aim to change that marriage impediment, which begins by talking to God and, eventually, your spouse so you both can work at improving the snag in your marriage.