I believe there is only one secret to a fulfilling marriage, and it is the same as that of a fulfilling life.
A Foundation Built on Jesus Christ
A marriage doesn’t have to be made up of the smartest, prettiest (or most handsome), or most talented people. There doesn’t have to be a lot of money or material things.
The real secret to marriage is something that can’t be bought. Something that can’t be earned.
Walking hand in hand with Jesus Christ and living a life filled with the Holy Spirit.
As I was praying about what to write for my marriage post, the Lord kept whispering this to my spirit–foundation, foundation, foundation. He lead me specifically to the verses in Matthew 7:24-27:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
And I thought, “That’s great, Lord, but it’s not about marriage.”
But it is about marriage. Or at least, it applies to marriage.
Marriages that are built on beauty, finances, jobs, even common interests…they can all be like that house built on the sand. Because all that stuff just washes away. It fades; it changes. But a marriage that is truly built on Jesus Christ is going to stand the test of time. It will stand strong despite the storms that come.
Too many marriages these days fall with a great crash. And it is so heartbreaking.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. I have seen marriages stand the test of time. I’ve seen them be joyful, even when they went through dire circumstances, even when they seemed to have nothing in common. It’s not some fairy tale idea of love or romance that holds couples together through decades of marriage. It’s the kind of love and commitment that we see in Jesus Christ and how He laid down His life for His bride (the church). It’s a daily choice.
As I was thinking about this post, I was thinking about the kinds of things that are important in marriage. The Lord led me to a verse that sums up many of the things we need to be successful in our marriage relationships. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.
You might recognize these traits as being the fruits of the Spirit as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. I’ve read this verse a hundred times. I’ve memorized it and thought about how it applies to my life. But it also applies to my marriage. As I went through that list thinking about marriage, it made so much sense. Every single one of those traits is absolutely vital to a thriving marriage.
And it comes from Him. We can put on a good show, but we can’t truly possess these qualities for the long haul apart from Him. The closer we get to Jesus, the more time we spend in the presence of the Lord, the more we are filled with His Spirit. And then we can live out these things in our lives and in our marriages.
Yes, we should focus on being intentional in our marriages (I wrote a book about it!), go on dates, spend time together, etc. But the number one thing we can do for our marriages isn’t even about marriage at all. It’s the same thing that we can do for everything else in our lives–focus on Jesus. It seems so simple, but it’s so true.
Crystal Brothers is a child of God, wife to a forest ranger, and homeschooling mama to 2 rambunctious little boys. She is the author of Intentional Marriage: The Art of Loving Your Husband (A 31 Day Devotional). She blogs at ServingJoyfully.com, where it is her goal to encourage and equip women to serve God and their families with a joyful spirit.