Putting God first in marriage: why it’s important and what it looks like.
The phrase, “love triangle” usually stirs up negative emotions, especially regarding marriage; but what if I told you that God’s plan for every marriage is actually to be a love triangle consisting of an individual, their partner, and Christ?
It is not a secret that successful marriage takes an incredible amount of work, and John 15:5 tells us that apart from Christ, we can accomplish absolutely nothing. For this reason it is imperative that couples put God first in marriage; but what exactly does that mean and how is this accomplished?
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” -Exodus 20:3
Idol worship comes in many forms. Most people would associate it with bowing down before statues and praying to false divinities, but essentially it is the act of making anything or anyone a higher priority than God. Often in the honeymoon phase of a relationship it is easy to become so enamored with our significant others that our lives begin to revolve around them. We create space in our schedules to spend time with them, we praise them and let them know how wonderful we think they are, and we shower them with gifts and make romantic gestures in hopes of pleasing them. Unfortunately if we are not making that same space in our schedules to spend time with God, taking that same time out to praise and tell Him how wonderful He is, and making that same effort to please Him though our actions, we are guilty of committing idol worship; and God is a jealous God. Putting Him first in marriage means recognizing our relationship with Him as the most important relationship in our lives.
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” -Acts 4:12
In addition to making our partners into idols, many of us are guilty of looking to them to be our saviors as well. Our husbands and wives are often the first people we turn to when we need advice, they are the people who we lean on for support after a bad day at work, and they are the people who we turn to for validation when we are feeling down about ourselves. A significant other is certainly someone who should be able to provide these things for us, but relying solely on our partners in these areas can be a dangerous thing. Usually, savior is not a role that any of our partners has asked to fill, and when we unintentionally elevate them to that position we are setting them up for failure, and setting ourselves up for disappointment. No matter how hard a spouse may try or how much they may love us, they are human and inevitably at some point and time they will let us down. Putting God first in marriage means removing the unfair expectations that we have for our mates and relying solely on Christ to be our comforter, and our counselor. Jesus Christ is the only one who can ever successfully fill those roles.
“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin”- Romans 6:6
The biggest reason that conflict arises in most marriages is because we, as people, have a tendency to give in to our carnal man rather than adhering to the will of God. We get upset and verbalize everything that is on our mind rather than holding our tongues and recognizing that fools give vent to their anger, we hang on to mistakes of the past instead of forgiving, forgetting, and moving forward with our lives, we battle with pride and refuse to accept responsibility when we are wrong, and we give in to feelings of selfishness thinking more about our own wants and desires than the wants and desires of Christ. God’s plan has always been for marriage to be a harmonious union. When a husband and wife join together their wills should be aligned, causing to two to operate as one flesh; marriage is a partnership. Unfortunately when two unique people come together and continue to be ruled by their emotions instead of their spirits, instead of unity what we end up with is discord and power struggle. Putting God first in marriage means dying to our flesh and learning to adopt the will of God as our own.