Where Wisdom is Found
When we study the Bible, it is hard to ignore the depth of wisdom it provides as it relates to the human heart. From the narrative of Adam and Eve and on through the rest of Scripture, we find countless examples of God being acutely aware of and interested in what takes place in the hearts of those he has created. His fervent desire for our heart to be right before him is simply unquestionable. It is this endeavor to have a right heart before God, and to understand how this influences the quality of our relationship with our spouse, that I want to explore in this article.
Where Change Begins
Where does change in your marriage begin? Does it begin with you or with your spouse? Many couples I have worked with are quick to point the finger at their husband or wife, and firmly believe that the marriage will begin to improve when “they” change. Although this is a common response in many relationships, true change actually begins when both members in a marriage are ready and willing to humble themselves, to allow God to soften their hearts, and to bring forth words and actions that will ultimately strengthen their marriage.
When you and I take the risk of examining our own hearts and give God permission to help us change our responses, we literally shift the dynamics of our marriage. I have seen this proven time and time again in my clinical work where spouses slow down the pace of their interactions, take a moment to examine what is happening in their own heart and the heart of their partner (e.g. “I’m hurt” or “They feel accused”), and choose to engage each other in a kind and loving manner. The result is a level of intimacy and connection that can only be experienced when we live out the principles of God’s Word with our spouse.
When Faith and Works Combine
My statement was intended to reflect the truth of what God has already expressed to us so vividly in his Word. Take the following verse for example:
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6: 45, NIV)
Here is one more verse for us to consider:
But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds. Show me your faith without deeds and I will show you my faith by what I do.” (James 2: 18, NIV)
In reading these passages, we see that how we treat our spouse on a day-to-day basis is a reflection of our faith and the good or bad that is in our hearts. If our hearts are grounded in faithfulness, then we will be faithful to our spouse in both body and mind. If our hearts are grounded in kindness, gentleness, and thoughtfulness, then these virtues will be expressed in how we communicate with them today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter. We simply cannot escape the reality that our hearts ultimately determine whether our marriage will be healthy and vibrant, or unhealthy and frail.
Christian Counseling Can Strengthen Your Marriage
Building a marriage on the principles of God’s Word is a careful process that takes time, dedication, and knowledge. As a member of Seattle Christian Counseling, my aim is to come alongside couples and help them develop a marriage that reflects the love, intimacy, and abundant life that God has laid out in his Word. If you and your spouse would like more information about Christian counseling or would like to schedule a consultation with me, please visit our website at everttchristiancounseling.com.