I remember in the months leading up to my wedding, during premarital counseling at church, a dear friend and mentor gave me a very important piece of wisdom. He said, “One of the most important reasons marriage exists is to help get each other to Heaven”. What an amazing concept! Since that day, my perspective on marriage has changed completely. Instead of just being a partner with my husband, I now feel a responsibility to make sure I am doing everything in my power to encourage and grow his relationship with God.
Can you imagine the transformation that could take place if we all viewed our marriages in this way? Millions of people say in their wedding vows “Til death do us part”. We may think about the life ahead of us together, but what about the life after death? Should we as spouses also have a role in that as well? The following are some ways to ensure that we are fulfilling this purpose in our marriage.
Hold each other accountable
It’s very easy to fall into bad habits as a married couple, including not going to church, not praying, not going to Bible Study, and not including God in your marriage. Allow your partner to hold you accountable, and you the same for them. God gave us spouses for a number of reasons, but one of the most important is to help each other grow spiritually. Make sure that God is a priority and is included in every aspect of your marriage.
Sometimes this means that as a couple, you need to set boundaries and guidelines for yourselves. For example, maybe you have to “block out” the time for church every week in your schedules just like you do for any other commitment. Sometimes it seems easier to just hit the “snooze” button and go back to sleep. However, use these moments to encourage each other to get up and go to the church service. You know you will both feel better afterwards because you honored God, and are moving one another in the direction of Heaven.
Have a faith-filled home
Openly talk about God with your spouse and family. Read Bible stories and pray together. Display a cross in your home to show respect to your faith and to display to others what your family’s values are. Talk the talk, and walk the walk.
Allow yourself to be a light to your spouse. Be kind, thoughtful, and loving. Forgive easily and don’t hold grudges. Be cautious of the way you speak to one another. Do things that make you stronger as a couple. Join a small group and talk about what you are learning. Surround yourselves with friends who have the same beliefs and values you do. Read a religious book about marriage together and try to apply things you learn to your own marriage. Make sure that every step you are taking together is a step in the right direction, towards Heaven.
Be open and honest
If you are struggling with something, let your spouse be the person you go to. Can you imagine how strong your marriage could be if you shared your struggles with one other? Let’s say for example, that I am struggling with feelings of jealousy over a friend’s brand new custom-built home. I start to covet her life, the fact that she doesn’t have to work, and her brand new car. If I keep this sin to myself, I know I am allowing my sin to become bigger than my faith, and Satan creates a stronghold in my heart.
What if I instead shared my feelings with my spouse, and allowed myself to be vulnerable to him? I can ask my husband to pray for me and my struggles with this sin, and also permit him to hold me accountable for times when these feelings may creep up again. In this instance, my husband is helping me in overcoming my sin, and therefore moving me closer to heaven.
Maybe today you should ask your spouse, where are we going?
Written by Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW
*Christy Fogg, MSW, LCSW is a licensed therapist at Journey to Joy Counseling. Christy enjoys doing marriage/couples counseling, individual counseling, premarital counseling. She also provides family counseling, teen and adolescent counseling.
Journey to Joy Counseling serves the Indianapolis area, including Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.