This is post #9 in a twelve blog/podcast series entitled REAL LIFE CHRISTIANITY. In this series, we’ll look at very practical matters like how we must learn to love and honor both ourselves and others in order to be the Christ-centered followers the Master wants us to be here in the twenty-first century. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
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Our Lectio Divina for today: Matthew 20: 26-28 (MsgB)
He (Jesus) said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away His life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”
The key to a successful marriage, you ask?
After 40+ years of wedded bliss with my dear wife, Sandy, I’d dare say the key to a successful marriage has several components. Allow me to share three of those major components with you here today.
First, it’s vitally important for a marriage between two persons to have a third party in the middle. And that third marriage partner is Jesus of Nazareth. When Sandy and I were talking marriage back in 1975, we both agreed that we loved each other, but we were both smart enough to realize that love wasn’t the only thing our marriage must have to make it a successful one. I recall one evening, as we were chatting about the idea of us getting married, we both made pretty strong statements to each other. We both confessed that we really didn’t want to get married to a person who didn’t want God to be at the center of the relationship.
Fortunately, we both wanted the same thing, and now forty-something years later, I’m so glad we held to those convictions. While neither one of us have ever thought of splitting up over the last 40+ years, there have been times when neither one of us had the solutions to some of our most trying times as a married couple. As they say in the real world…stuff happens. And when times were hard for the Boller household, we both knew instinctively that it was time to defer to the third person in our marriage and ask Him for guidance and wisdom to carry us through. Praise God, Jesus has always responded, and we both know, with certainty, that He always will!
Secondly, I believe the best thing a person can do in making a successful marriage is the same thing that one must do in all aspects of this life.
Keep showing up.
You see, life in this world (and marriage) is not for wimps. Those who have little patience and weak stomachs need not apply. In truth, it’s those who keep showing up, even when you don’t have all the answers, who generally find their way through this maze we call life. As one wise pastor once told me, “Marty, if successful marriages were easy…everybody would be doing it!” So my advice…keep showing up, stay attentive to the goal, and run the race with great perseverance.
Thirdly, as you keep-on-keepin’ on, Jesus’ words here in Matthew 20 contain the next key. Keep asking God for a servant’s heart toward your spouse. As we’ve been learning throughout this blog series, grace and humility are key components to the Christian life, and when a husband and wife model these Christ-like characteristics, the chances of success in marriage are greatly increased over those who feel the need to get their own way at every turn in life.
Some call it the Golden Rule. Others call it servant hood. In Matthew 7, verse 12, Jesus spells it out this way…
“Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God’s Law and Prophets and this is what you get.”
To that, I say…Amen and amen.
My prayer: Jesus, empower me, in my marriage, to 1) always place You in the center; 2) keep showing up regardless of how hard it might be to do so; and 3) to have a heart of humility and grace toward my spouse, preferring his or her needs to my selfishness and self-centered desires. May Your agape love surround and empower all of my efforts. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Am I keeping Jesus at the center of my marriage or is He off to the side, there for only an emergency? Am I considering giving up on my marriage, settling for mediocre, or will I ask God to help me persevere in hope with the belief that our best days are still ahead of us? Finally, am I serving my spouse or am I consumed with him or her serving me?
So what is God speaking to you today as we attempt to live the Christ-centered life?
Thank you for joining us on this 12-session journey we call Real-Life Christianity. We suggest you bookmark our blog/podcast homepage for this series to keep all the blogs and podcasts in one place for your future reference.
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