Question: How do you have a Christ-Centered Marriage:
Answer: There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. However, you can have a healthy marriage when both parties become 100% invested in growing closer to Christ together. This happens when you engage in healthy Christian union, healthy communication, healthy mentorships, healthy forgiveness, and deciding to never give up.
In a world where relationships often face challenges, a Christ-centered marriage can serve as a guiding light, offering couples a foundation built on love, respect, and faith. Incorporating Christian principles into your marriage can help you navigate life's ups and downs, fostering a strong bond that stands the test of time. Let's explore essential steps to creating and maintaining a Christ-centered marriage.
1. Christ Must Be First.
This is the most obvious but also the most essential place to start. If you do not have Christ as the unifying factor in your marriage, you will eventually begin heading in different directions. Whatever is prioritized in your life must bear the weight of all your expectations. That has to be Christ. Nothing else can withstand that level of pressure. When you become closer to Jesus individually, you naturally become closer as a couple.
Practical- Make Christ your top priority, even over your spouse. The byproduct is that loving Jesus will grow your capacity to love each other.
2. Prayer and Communication.
Prayer is the cornerstone of a Christ-centered marriage. Regularly praying together as a couple not only deepens your connection with each other but also strengthens your relationship with God. Sharing your hopes, fears, and desires through prayer fosters an environment of vulnerability and trust, allowing you to grow closer in your faith journey and as partners. Open communication, guided by Christ's teachings of love and patience, lays the foundation for resolving conflicts and maintaining harmony in your marriage.
Practical- Schedule times to pray by yourself and pray together. This will almost immediately deepen your relationship—also, schedule times to talk about things other than the daily agenda. Always communicate.
3. Biblical Foundation.
Centering your marriage on Christ means anchoring it in the teachings of the Bible. Ephesians 5:21-33 guides the roles of husbands and wives, emphasizing sacrificial love, respect, and mutual submission. Regularly reading and studying the Bible together enables you to learn from biblical examples of love and devotion, applying those lessons to your relationship.
Practical- Decide to spend time in God's Word together every day. This can be at different times. One of you may read your Bible in the morning and one in the evening. The goal is to discuss it together. Go to church together and sit together. Talk about the sermon later. Be Christians together.
4. Selflessness and Servanthood.
Jesus' life was characterized by selflessness and servanthood. Emulating His example within your marriage involves prioritizing your partner's needs and well-being above your own. Practice serving one another through acts of kindness, support, and encouragement. By putting your spouse's needs first, you create an atmosphere of love that reflects Christ's selfless love for His followers.
Practical- Marriage cannot be a 50/50 relationship. It must be a 100/100 relationship. This can be challenging. There will be seasons when one spouse may take advantage of another's selflessness. Therefore, you will never get to a healthy place by withholding love.
5. Forgiveness and Grace.
No relationship is immune to mistakes and misunderstandings. Embracing forgiveness and extending grace is vital in a Christ-centered marriage. Just as Christ forgave us, we must forgive our spouses when they fall short. Choosing forgiveness over resentment allows your marriage to heal and grow, fostering an environment of understanding and acceptance.
Practical- Practice the discipline of choosing forgiveness. This is one of the most challenging decisions, requiring constant time and attention. The best thing that works for me is realizing it is a decision, not an emotion. I also practice the idea of forgiving in advance. The goal is to develop the attitude of being "unoffendable." Once again, it takes work. The primary goal is progress.
6. Worship Together.
Attending church services and worshiping together strengthens your spiritual connection as a couple. Engaging in communal worship allows you to share in the collective experience of faith, drawing inspiration from the teachings and fellowship of fellow believers. By prioritizing your shared spiritual journey, you reinforce the spiritual bond that unites you.
Practical- We need each other. Make it a point to attend church and engage in your Christian community as often as possible.
7. Community and Accountability.
Surrounding yourselves with a community of like-minded believers provides accountability and support. Seek mentorship from older couples with strong Christ-centered marriages, as their wisdom and experience can guide you through challenges. Participating in small groups or marriage-focused programs can offer insights and encouragement, helping you remain committed to Christ-centered goals.
Practical- Engage in small groups of people and purposefully request mentorship from couples who have been marriage at least 30 years.
8. Treat Marriage Like a Journey, Not a Destination.
In older cultures and some churches today, people barely even know each other until after they are married. Because of this, the first couple years of marriage are all about figuring out who you are "stuck with" for the rest of your life. This journey of discovery becomes part of the glue that holds these two people together. Marriages that last have many things in common. One of the critical factors is their ability to see marriage as a constantly moving relationship that requires time, attention, and curiosity. You never arrive at a healthy marriage. Healthy marriages are continually growing and developing. Therefore, I see the idea of a healthy marriage as something other than a task to be completed. It is a journey to be taken.
Practical- Never give up on the joy of a healthy marriage.
A Christ-centered marriage has its challenges, but the rewards are immeasurable. By centering your relationship on prayer, communication, biblical principles, selflessness, forgiveness, worship, and community, you create a foundation that withstands the tests of time. Through the example of Christ's love, your marriage can become a beacon of hope, inspiring others to cultivate relationships rooted in faith, respect, and unwavering love.