- To stay together?
- To support each other?
- To raise godly kids?
Don’t feel badly if you answered a. Most couples expect to live happily ever after. Or perhaps marriage is a checkbox on your expectations list. But a calling?
Maybe you are just putting up with your spouse because you feel like divorce is wrong. Does your marriage feel more like a jail sentence than a calling?
Supporting each other and raising godly kids are good things, but is that the calling of your marriage or just your default setting? When you go on to glory, do you want your obituary to read, “He supported his wife?”
Building a house
Have you ever seen a house that has had five or six room additions? Roof lines go every which way. If there was a plan, it’s hard to see it. Compared to a Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece … well …
Does your marriage look like something that has just been thrown together with no rhyme or reason to it? You just got married and … well?
Great houses start with a design dream. Painstakingly drafted blueprints. Change orders offer flexibility, but overall, when the house is complete, it stands for all to see the beauty of the design.
What do people see when they look at your marriage?
What is a calling?
Calling can be a vocation, including ministry. But more specifically it is the drawing to serve or take action. God calls us unto Himself — our highest calling. That is not just praying a prayer. It’s a calling to a relationship that demonstrates the glory of God.
In marriage God calls us to love one another as Christ loved the church. When we consider that Jesus came from the throne to the manger, washed his disciples’ feet, served and healed the masses, and then died for us while we were yet sinners, it’s hard to fathom that we could do that for our spouses. It’s more than just saying “I do” at the altar and checking marriage off the list. Does your marriage reveal the glory of God’s kingdom?
Marriage calling versus ministry calling
Too often, one spouse is asked to take a backseat to the other spouse’s public ministry. The ministry is elevated above the marriage. Wrong.
- Marriage is the ministry designed to show the world the relationship of Jesus to the church.
- Public ministry requires having our households in order. Our allegiance is first to God, second to our spouses, next to our children, then to our vocation or ministry. Without God, nothing else can work. Marriage is God’s foundation for society. Without a healthy marriage, our ministry will suffer. We don’t have to look far to see what has happened to large ministry leaders when their marriages were not intact.
One of the major precursors to divorce is the unhealthy elevation of children above spouse. Yes, we are called to raise godly children — but not at the expense of our marriages.
Family sculpting is an excellent tool for seeing the picture of what our marriages look like. Imagine a couple standing side by side holding hands. When the baby comes along, they let go of each other and hold the child’s hand — now between them. The couple is no longer connected. When the child goes to college, the couple doesn’t know how to relate because they have long since lost their connection.
The divorce rate among couples who have been married over twenty years has doubled in the last several decades.
Time to rethink
It’s the new year. Time to take stock in where you have been and where you want to go. Get up out of your easy chair. Grab your spouse and walk outside and look at the design of your house. What do you see? Rooflines going everywhere with no design?
What can you do?
- Write down what you believe has been the calling of your marriage. Is there one?
- Take a look at couples whose marital walk gives testimony to God’s glory.
- Discuss and write down what it is about their marriage that glorifies God.
- Invite them for a meal. Tell them what you see in their marital house and ask them how they built it.
- Redesign your marital house so that it too will glorify God.
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).
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Patricia Hartman, CPA is the owner of Patricia Hartman, CPA, PA, a tax and forensic accounting practice, where she has worked with hundreds of divorcing clients. She is the author of “The Christian Prenuptial Agreement” available at www.ChristianPrenuptial.com. She is the president of South Florida Word Weavers and a board member of Living Water Christian Counseling.