Preparing for, and enjoying, a healthy marriage begins with making God our greatest pursuit.
Whether we're single, dating, engaged or married, it's natural to ask what we need to do to get ready for a healthy marriage. Or, to make the marriage we have even better. Things like which dating app's the best, how to find good premarital counseling, or communication tips. That's fine, but no matter what stage we're in, we need something far more important: to pursue God first. When we run hard after Christ, that lays the foundation for everything else.
Featured (Free) Resource: Pursuing God
Ever feel like God gets lost in the 'crazy busy' of your life? (Me, too.) But if we get this wrong, nothing else matters. In this free ebook, ministry leaders like Francis Chan share how they keep God first so you can, too. (BTW, these are personal insights leaders shared with me - not stuff I copy-pasted off the web. 😉)
Pursue God Above All Else
Everywhere we turn, we're bombarded with a million promises about the good life. What will make us happy, content, valuable and safe.
Buy this car or phone. Live in this kind of neighborhood. Go to this school, and get that kind of job. Take this kind of vacation, hangout with this crowd.
Start dating, marry a godly man or woman, have kids and settle down.
And tell the world all about your life on Instagram. (Well, the curated version, anyway. 😂)
As followers of Christ, we 'know' those things can be a blessing. Truly. But they can't ultimately satisfy us. Right?
But honestly, it's so easy to forget.
Even though I'm in ministry, I'm constantly forgetting that, if I 'seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness... all these things will be added to [me].' (Matthew 6:33)
When I was single, I put waaay too much effort into grad school, and thinking about being lonely and who I would marry. When I dated my wife, I was focused on making her happy. After we got engaged, my attention turned to the wedding and how happy we'd be after our big day. Then we got married, and really struggled as our sin hit the proverbial fan.
Don't get me wrong. All along God was faithful, and I was growing in my faith. But even though God had me, I struggled with looking for life outside of him. And, if I'm really honest, still do.
Maybe you can relate. If you can, you're normal.
And no wonder. Between a world that's (generally) opposed to God, our fallen nature, and the devil, pursuing God is never going to be easy. (1 John 4:14-17)
But even though following hard after Jesus is... hard, it's worth it!
Listen to God's promises:
- Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. (Colossians 3:23-24)
- Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
- To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Revelation 21:6-7)
Nothing we can achieve, receive or pursue here on earth compares. If we pursue God through a relationship with Jesus, we get God himself. Forever.
And, often a godly spouse, too.
House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
but a prudent wife is from the Lord. (Proverbs 19:14)
Scripture is filled with other examples, of course. God brought Eve to Adam. And Boaz to Ruth.
He can do the same for you, too. And if you're already married, help you to flourish.
But he wants us to find our fulfilment first and foremost in him.
Then, no matter what stage of life - or relationships - we find ourselves in, we will find true joy and contentment.
A Balanced Approach
Just a word or two about my approach to all this, and what you can expect here. (Warning: minor rant ahead.)
This site is far from perfect, but something really frustrates me when I encounter many Christian resources. This something I'm trying (emphasis on trying) to do better here.
Too often given a choice between 'biblical' and 'practical.' Good theology or helpful tips and advice.
Being biblical is absolutely essential. As Paul put it, 'All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.' (2 Timothy 3:16)
But if we only have solid doctrine and quote scripture, we get stuck in our heads. We can become proud ('knowledge puffs up'). And have no idea what to do next in our real lives.
As in, how does a huge, biblical truth like 'the glory of God' relate to how I date, or treat my spouse? (It absolutely does, but it's rarely obvious.)
That was me coming out of seminary. I knew a ton about God, but didn't know him nearly enough. And I had no idea how to connect most of what I learned to real life.
On the other hand, if we don't have a solid understanding of theology and scripture, and emphasize tips, tricks and hacks, we're not any better off.
Again, super-practical, easily digestible pointers have value. I've learned - and use - a ton of quick tips on pretty much everything.
But if our lives are built merely on 'six ways Christians can have a happy marriage', it's like - as my friend put it - getting a milkshake when what you need is a steak.
When the storms of life come, we'll get swept away without the anchor of deep, foundational, biblical realities.
We'll be shallow - and, this is scary - possibly be okay with that.
No, we need a solid grasp on what the bible teaches about... everything and, what that means practically for our lives.
With God's help, I hope to offer you both God's Word and practical things you can use in the slog of everyday life.
As we grow together on Christ, our Rock, we'll be in a position to honor him regardless of whether we're single, dating, engaged or married. I look forward to sharing this journey with you!
How Can You Pursue God When Life Is Crazy Busy?
Ever feel like God gets lost in the 'crazy busy' of your everyday life? In this free ebook, ministry leaders like Francis Chan share how they keep God first so that you can, too.
Copyright 2021 by Bryan Stoudt