Neither of us grew up in Christian homes. We are both children of divorce, abuse, and substance abuse. Even in the midst of dysfunction, God had a different plan for us and our children (and their children). When we met in the late 90’s during our undergraduate days, we were both on-fire, born-again believers who knew God called us to change our family bloodlines.
As first-generation Christians, we had no example of what a Christ-Centered marriage looked like. During our engagement, Holy Spirit began to teach us several foundational truths that have carried us into a thriving marriage, family, and international marriage ministry. Today we’re sharing three of the crucial ingredients that have given us the ability to have an amazing marriage that glorifies God.
#1 The battle is not against flesh and blood.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.”
-Ephesians 6:12 (AMP)
This verse has been the top foundational truth we’ve held tight to during the past 22 years of our marriage. It has served as a continual reminder that God has called us to fight, together, against the enemy as a team. And while there is a lot more to this than we have time to go into today, just the simple act of meditating on this verse every day for decades has given us the fuel we need to resist the lies of the enemy.
When we truly understand that the opposition we’re fighting against comes from the realm of the spirit, it changes everything. One of the biggest weapons of our warfare is staying engaged with God and each other through prayer. Connecting with God in prayer gives us direct access to the wisdom we need in order to keep the enemy out of our lives and marriage covenant.
When we truly understand that the enemy of our soul works against us 24 hours a day, it makes fighting together as a team a top priority. If you are just starting to recognize the truth of Ephesians 6:12, we encourage you to read it together every day and pray that God gives you insight, wisdom, and strategies to defeat the enemy.
#2 Pray. Pray. Pray!
“Pray without ceasing.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV)
Prayer has been the glue that has held us close to God and each other. Over the last 24 years we have fervently prayed and studied what God’s Word has to say about prayer. The truth is, the Christian life should be a constant state of communication with God.
As we’ve prayed over the years, we’ve learned how to prioritize prayer in every season of life. We’ve learned that our daily prayer life is just as crucial as air is for breathing. When you pray you are in direct communication with God.
Did you see that?
Prayer literally gives us direct access to God, which means we have direct access to divine wisdom, divine protection, divine healing, divine provision, and more. When we stay connected to God in prayer, our covenant blessing becomes hidden in Christ. Isn’t this amazing news?
#3 Don’t let the sun go down while you’re angry.
“BE ANGRY [at sin—at immorality, at injustice, at ungodly behavior], YET DO NOT SIN; do not let your anger [cause you shame, nor allow it to] last until the sun goes down.”
-Ephesians 4:26 (AMP)
Oftentimes people teach that we are to never go to bed angry. And while this is certainly a good practice, it isn’t always possible. God showed us that this verse also represents not being comfortable in the sin of unrighteous anger.
Anger in and of itself isn’t sin, it’s an emotion that when handled carefully can become a holy, righteous anger. However, when we sit and stew in the human emotion of anger, we give a foothold to the enemy and will eventually leave room for the enemy to enter.
One way God has taught us to remain strong in this area is to be certain that at the end of every day, before we go to sleep, we pray, confess our sin, and fully submit ourselves to God. Praying has been the key to healthy conflict resolution and our continued peace and unity in marriage.
Regardless of where you are in your marriage today, we know for certain that these are three crucial ingredients to creating a lifelong marriage that glorifies God. We pray that you and your covenant are blessed as you continue to place God first in all you do.