If you want a better marriage in the New Year resolve to do First Things First…Part One in a series

Would you agree that many of us who claim the name Christian often leave for last a foundation of first things first?

We get saved, join a church or bible study, start serving. Outwardly we assume the Christian mantle yet behind closed doors our lives and marriages lack peace and joy or maybe are complete mayhem, and we wonder why we repeat dysfunctional cycles.

We know something is wrong and we say we want to change, but our human tendency towards pleasing the self or being impatient and lazy makes us crave the easy way, the short cut. We long for instant improvement but aren’t willing to invest more than the minimum in time and effort. We seek the secret formula or a surfeit of self-help tips. But to arrive where God would have us go requires a long obedience beginning with a foundation of first things first.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. John 1:1-4

We need to understand that God loves us and longs for us. For you! And He invites us to know Him so intimately that we really will be changed, not just outwardly, but deep in the darkened chambers of our broken hearts. He calls us to come and be with Him so that we can be the man or woman — the husband or wife — that not only looks like Him, but is like Him. Behind closed doors!

God desires for us to grow up, to go way beyond repeating rote words of some sinner’s prayer, and follow His Way. It takes a moment to make a decision for Christ, but a lifetime of surrender and sacrifice to become a true disciple.

And discipleship, which makes Father’s heart smile, is the antidote to divorce when both husband and wife commit to becoming Little Christs — truly, really, deeply. For when we train ourselves up in a spirit of discipline and follow the commands of Christ day in and day out we will change over time and our marriages will get better and our babies who are always watching, listening and catching every good and bad thing that mom and dad toss their way, will grow up happier and more whole. Good seeds yielding good crops.

So with the year a clean slate, a fresh start, are you willing to commit to working towards true change in your heart and home? Will you leave behind your childish things in order to go on to full maturity? To please God more and ultimately reap the blessings of living life His way as a son or daughter disciple of God?

He has such good plans for us, desires to give us good gifts, if only we will believe God and trust that Father knows best…

Please stay tuned for the First Things First series with practical helps for deepening discipleship and by extension improving your marriage.
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10 thoughts on “If you want a better marriage in the New Year resolve to do First Things First…Part One in a series

  1. I love this, Sheila. It really spoke to my heart. I know I need to commit to true change in my heart and marriage – behind closed doors as well as in public. Thanks for challenging us.

    • You are so welcome, Ali. Truth be told, we all do…In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing more of my thoughts on this subject with the hope that it prompts all of us to pursue God more and be more like Jesus. Happy New Year and all the best with much love to you! xxoo

  2. Thank you for the encouragement to keep going. I want to see quick results, but that is not the way change happens. Learning to be patient in my marriage and allow God to work in me so that I can move ahead to full maturity. Visiting from Women With Intention 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by, Mindy. And patience is a virtue and an attribute of love. And true love — of God and then neighbor (spouses count as our closest neighbor!) — sets us free, keeps us free and allows others to be free as well. Hope you will be back to follow along with this series…Blessings!

  3. Love this! Sometimes we need the daily reminder that it starts with a choice to live the way God intended us to live…for one another. We made it a point to state in our wedding vows the verse from Ephesians- love like Christ loved the church, and submit…. Reading your post reminds me of that and how important it is to stay true to it! Thank you!!

    • Everything is a choice, isn’t it? Each day we are confronted by a thousand choices, some big, some small, but each one an opportunity to give glory to God. And choosing love and respect for our spouse, along with mutual submission, is a great starting point for a marriage. May your’s be always blessed…Thanks

  4. My word for 2017 is REST from Ps 46:10. While we need to work hard at implementing changes to facilitate being more like Christ, all change needs to begin in RESTing in Him and Knowing Him instead of just racing from one thing to another (even good things). Thanks for your post.

    • I agree, Karen. There are NO magic formulas. But it is in developing our relationship with God through Christ. And a part of that is resting in Him. I no longer do One Words but always enjoy seeing the words people are focusing on for the year. Wishing you peaceful resting and a deeper love affair with God as a result. Thanks.

  5. What a decision…to leave behind things we often don’t consider childish (but actually are) and follow Christ?
    I think of the rich young ruler who went away sad because he had great wealth and couldn’t see that all the stuff he had wasn’t worth a hill of beans compared to having a relationship with Christ.

    Great post, I really liked this part: “God desires for us to grow up, to go way beyond repeating rote words of some sinner’s prayer, and follow His Way. It takes a moment to make a decision for Christ, but a lifetime of surrender and sacrifice to become a true disciple.”
    Well said!