***All relationships need a biblical check up from time to time no matter how “healthy”. this is especially true for the marriage relationship. Who has not felt the pull of distractions, demands and desires on marital time, energy, companionship and unity. We live in a world in which the gravitational pull and our default settings are not upward and edifying but downward and destructive. This why Ephesians 5:16 tells us to make the most of our time warning us that the “days are evil”. One of the ways to reverse any destructive pattern in the relationship is to examine yourself in light of the following common downward steps . Pray for God’s leading as you do. Look up verses listed. For each step below write out 2-3 truths that you will memorize and 2 concrete actions you will take to avoid current neglect that is promoting destruction Answer the questions in light of the past 6 months. ***
Step 1: Neglect Growth in Your WALK with the Lord – Eph 5:21, Ps 111:10; 1 Jn 4:8
This will have a deteriorating effect on everything else; all spouses bring to the marriage certain personal traits, ambitions and habits that stand in the way of harmony in marriage – changes are much easier to make when we are in right relationship with God is motivating a strong faith, reverence, and love for Him. How did you do in this? What routines and activities did you need to add to your schedule that would have strengthened your relationship and heart for the Lord? What spiritual activities did you need to invite and encourage your spouse to join you in? How did you do in these things?
Step 2: Neglect Growing in Active LOVE toward Your Spouse – Eph 5:1-2/ 1 Thes 4:10
Each spouse has specific ways they enjoy most being pleased by the other (i.e. “love languages”) As long as these ways are not sinful, they should be done – to neglect doing these things is to invite destruction. How did you do in these things?
Step 3: Use Disagreements as OPPORTUNITIES to Pull Away or Blow Up, Instead of Spiritually Influence – Eph 4:3; Phil 2:1-5; James 4:1-10; 2 Cor 2:14-16
God’s purposes in challenges are to grow us in humility, communication and ministry to one another. What are three main topics or disagreements have you had with your spouse that led to disunity? Did you respond in any way (attitude, word, or action) that did not please God? How? At those times can you identify what personal desires/goals became more important than loving God and spouse? Do you know any practical solutions God wanted you to seek to apply in helping bring about a resolution to those disagreements? If not, you needed to seek wisdom from another godly pastor or person who knows God’s Word. How did you do in these things?
Step 4: Neglect to Identify, Confess & Forgive SIN Sincerely & Regularly – Eph 4:15; Matt 7:5 / James 5:16 / Col 3:13
Each person sins in a marriage, the only difference is the degree to which it effects the other. Marriages that are on the brink of destruction are full of vicious cycles of sinful reactions – the sin of one spouse provokes sin in the other – Gal 5:15, but loving responses will also have the same cycle effect, but in reverse – they will tend to provoke loving responses –Prov 15:1,2; Heb 10:24 . Thus dealing with your own sins against the person, will help you deal with the sin in your spouse in a loving, God-honoring way. Make a list of at least five ways you had sinned against your spouse. Write a prayer of confession to God, thank Him for the forgiveness provided through Christ. Share this appropriately with that person and ask them for their forgiveness, express sorrow over any negative affected your sin possibly had on him./her, and give them a few specific ways you are pursuing change with Christ’s help and godly accountability now.
Step 5: REPLACE Your Spouse with Other People or Things – Eph 5:31; Eph 5:15-16; Mat 6:21; Eph 5:28-30; Tit 2:4-5; Deut 24:5; 1 Cor 7:33-34
This is often a sign of a marriage that is in the latter stages of destruction. It is so critical at this point that radical work begin immediately on rebuilding the marriage biblically. Was there any people or activities you needed to remove or reduce in your life to have the necessary time and energy to devote to rebuilding your marriage? How did you do in this?