“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” – Colossians 3:12-15.

If you were like me, you wished you had the answers to a test before you walked into the classroom? Some classes were simply harder than others and having the answers would have simplified things. In college, a professor would typically give you some insights, or at least some parameters before a test. But even with some basic guidelines concerning the test, more often than not, a problem or question would appear on the test that you were not prepared for. It soon occurred to me that the professor did not intend for the overview of the test to be comprehensive. It was simply not possible to include everything from the required readings, class notes, and lectures in the capsulation of the test. 

The same is true with the relationships. The Bible gives the foundation for all our relationships. It is an effective guide. But there are some things on the test I did not learn until marriage or our relationship began. But I think I can give you some answers that would help you pass the marriage/relationship test.

The first to remember is that spouses do not complete us. If you are empty, broken, or insecure, and you believe a spouse is the silver bullet to your problems, think again. That is expecting something that our spouse is incapable of doing. Your husband or wife cannot fill every void in your life. Only God can fill those voids. You will never be able to enjoy the beauty of marriage if your spouse’s job is to complete you.

The second thing is to remember how different the wedding ceremony is from marriage itself. Let me explain what I mean: A successful wedding day is one where everyone serves you, but a successful marriage is one where you serve your spouse. The wedding day is a day where the spotlight is on you. Marriage has no spotlight. The wedding day is about reciting a bunch of words that most couples view simply as a tradition. Marriage is about putting the words into action. The wedding day is joyous and celebratory. Many seasons of marriage are about hard work, putting the needs of your spouse before yours and and not letting go of each other through the storms. After your 20 minutes of fame, the spotlight is gone. It is no longer about you, it is about becoming the person God intended you to be and loving your spouse as God intended when He created the institution of marriage.

Third, a successful marriage does not just happen. A good marriage is never an accident. It takes hard, intentional work over a long period of time. You can’t just throw a piece of paper on the ground, and pour two paint colors on it, and expect it to look great. If you want your marriage to be great, you cannot ignore it. It takes investment and effort to create a marriage you love, just like a work of art.

Discussion Questions

  1. What do you believe are three common symptoms of a “Me-Marriage?” 
  2. A “perfectly compatible person” does not exist. How do you feel about this statement? What are the implications for working at marriage and/or relationships?
  3. Marriage, next to our relationship to God, is the most profound relationship there is. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
  4. What can we do to improve our marriage/relationships this week?