Monday, September 15, 2008

A Quality Blend

I am enjoying a fresh, strong cup of coffee right now. Thankfully, the coffee finished brewing before our power went back out this morning (remnants of Ike). Just because a cup of coffee is strong doesn't mean it tastes good. I can make my coffee strong by adding twice as many coffee grounds to the pot, but if I'm starting with a poor quality coffee, the flavor isn't really going to improve.

A good cup of coffee starts with fresh water and a quality blend of coffee. Now, I can't really afford to be a "coffee snob" (that's what my brother-in-law calls it), and only buy premium roasts. However, I do love a good French Roast or Dark Roast coffee. Starbucks Verona.....mmmmmm!

Our marriages need to be a "quality blend". I just celebrated my twelfth anniversary. I am so thankful to have a loving husband who loves the Lord and loves me. He is such a treasure! I want to see our marriage grow stronger every day, but I am realizing that the strength of our marriage cannot be produced without quality ingredients. We can add things to our marriage to try to improve the strength, but if these things come from the world or our own fleshly efforts, the strength is not going to be lasting or satisfying. I thought of four things that a marriage must have in order to be strong. These things are the "quality blend" that will produce a strength that is concrete, not contrived.

1. A strong marriage needs a strong foundation.

This strong foundation is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ. We must have faith in Him, and be obedient to His Word. Think of the parable of the wise man and the foolish man who built their houses, one on the rock, the other on the sand. The wise man, whose house stood, was the man who heard and obeyed the Word of God. In order for a marriage to have lasting strength, a husband and wife need to be hearing and obeying the Word of God.

I am thankful to have a husband who is a Christian, and who is seeking to hear and obey God's Word. However, as a wife, I must always remember that I am accountable for myself. If my husband were unsaved or disobedient to the Lord, I must still do my best to follow Christ. I should also follow Christ's instruction for how to win my husband's heart to the Lord (I Pet. 2:20-3:7).

Am I doing my part to see that my marriage has a strong foundation?

2. A strong marriage needs a strong fidelity.

Fidelity seems to be an old-fashioned concept in the culture we live in. The idea of being faithful "till death do us part" is often seen more as a pretty sentiment than a binding vow. That is part of the reason that a large percent of marriages, even in "Christian" circles, are falling apart.

A strong marriage requires fidelity. Our fidelity must first be to the Lord. If I am only faithful to my husband, then if he ever fails me, I may be tempted to be unfaithful to him in return. Also, if I am not faithful first to the Lord, I can be tempted "of my own lust". However, if I realize that I have made my vows to the Lord, and my desire is to be faithful to Him, then faithfulness to my husband will come naturally.

Is my fidelity strong, both to the Lord and to my spouse?

3. A strong marriage needs a strong friendship.

This is an important component of marriage, but should not be the sole foundation. We are commanded to love our husbands (Tit. 2:4). This "love" must mature beyond the basis of our emotions. "A friend loveth at all times..." We need to have a love that is loyal and committed. We need to seek to meet the needs of our spouse.

Friendship is a strong bond, and we should always seek to build on it in our marriages. Continue to seek for common interests and common goals. Determine that your husband will be your best friend, and that no other relationships (even family) or friendships will be allowed to come between you. Many times as women, we unwittingly undermine the strength of our marriages by confiding too much in other friends, complaining too much to other friends, or simply caring more about other friend's opinions than we do our own spouse's.

Is your husband your best friend? Do other friendships stand in the way of the strength of your marriage?

4. A strong marriage needs a strong followship.

By this I mean that we must fulfill the place in our marriage that God has designed for us. As a wife, my role is to follow my husband. I am to submit to him and to obey him (Eph. 5; Tit. 2). This is not "politically correct", but it is biblically correct. This does not diminish me in any way. It simply creates strength and stability in our home because there is not a constant tug-of-war for who's in charge. If I am committed to being the wife God desires for me to be, and I desire to have a marriage that is strong, I must learn to follow the leadership of the Lord through my husband. It takes just as much faith and strength to be a follower as it does to be a leader.

If the strength of my marriage is based on the level of my submission, how strong is it today?

As we blend these four ingredients, we will find that we can have a strong marriage that is fulfilling, satisfying, and most of all pleasing to Christ. What's the quality of your blend?

Tomorrow's Topic - Worth the journey to motherhood


Alicia Reagan said...

Wonderful! Thanks for the reminders.
Love you!

Becky said...

Great post. (You should write a devotional book from all these posts!)