Faith, the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). We all know this particular passage of scripture and are able to enact its meaning by equating it with trust and belief in those things we cannot see, however rarely are we believing Faith is imperative to demonstrate in relationships. Sure, prior to marriage we may have demonstrated faith by trusting God to provide us with our mate and then once we became husband and wife we believe we are trusting God to keep our marriage. What you may not have considered is that the way you handle your relationship speaks volumes about your faith in Gods providence and sovereignty. How we manage our spouses directly correlates to our trust in God’s word, will and ways.
If there were such a thing as a “spiritual detective”, how would they characterize your faith if the only clues they had were to observe your behavior with and towards your spouse? Would they observe you honoring your spouse, demonstrating respect and adoration towards them? Showing them unmerited grace and mercy? When you are experiencing difficulties are you looking for a way out or are you seeking God through prayer for strength? If you are experiencing a wonderful marriage are you quick to give thanks and all the glory to God or do you look to bring glory to yourself? When your marriage is not experiencing anything particularly exciting or difficult do you feel content or do you feel the need to complain to The Most High and others about being bored with your mate or feeling like you may have outgrown your spouse? The way you respond at any given time in your marriage is the true reflection of your faith and trust in God.
The question you must ask is “are you willing to handle your relationship according to the will of God expressed in His word”? If the answer is yes, then you need to measure your behavior and responses by His commandments and instructions. Too often we allow our behavior and decisions to be governed by our feelings or societal norms instead of the Word of God. When we act out of emotions only our tendency is to deny Gods Word, especially in instances where we are hurt, sad, mad, or disappointed. We are unstable at best when we are governed by our feelings and we are the epitome of “double minded”. In that state we cannot be trusted. We may begin conversations or complaints with statements like “God wouldn’t want me to be unhappy” or “God knows my heart” meaning I’m not going to trust Him, but He understands. We relinquish our faith and worship our feelings as if they are the facts. This approach may produce temporary relief. However, straying from the way of the Most High will fail 100% of the time because we no longer are trusting in God, we are trusting our faith in ourselves.
Why would we trust God enough to bring us our mates and then believe he would somehow forsake us when things become difficult or challenging? He does not change. (See Malachi 3:6) Where we demonstrate instability, Father God proves dependable and trustworthy. The fact that He does not change should be a source of comfort for His people. If we choose to follow His Word we can trust that our marriages can be sustained and fulfilling for His purposes which is to bring glory and honor to Him. Following His ways will impact our thoughts and actions significantly different than following our own way. Our conversations may start with, “I don’t feel like forgiving my spouse, but never the less, not my will but Thy will be done”. Husbands may express that loving their wife like Christ loves the church is too high of a standard, but then ask the Father for forgiveness and begin to love his wife sacrificially. When we have faith in God’s promises for our marriages we have the hope of all things becoming new and we can rely on his power (not our own strength) to challenge our emotions and to restore peace, hope and joy in situations where we are hurt, bored or disappointed. Our marriages can be everything God desires them to be if we are willing to act on our faith in Him by trusting Him to govern our relationships. Faith without works is dead. Are you demonstrating an alive and vibrant marriage, or is your relationship dead on arrival?
Dale and Venessa Harewood