Day 1: A Marriage that is Not of this World
When I walked down the aisle to marry my husband 15 years ago, I had no idea how hard life was going to be. Yes, I had plans of giving my husband honor and respect and I was hopeful that we’d serve the Lord together and raise up Godly offspring, but I didn’t realize how much God was going to require of me to die to myself in this process.
I was a hopeful new Believer anticipating not only my new life in Christ, but my new marriage as well. However, I had zero understanding that my marriage could possibly draw others closer to Jesus Christ. I didn’t learn this truth until many, many years later, and let me tell you, they were hard years! I wasn’t walking The Narrow Path, I was crawling it and many times I needed to be carried along the way!
At some point in my spiritual journey, I read this verse:
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)
I’ve only thought of this verse and how it applied to me, but I never really thought of applying it to my marriage until one day when I was thinking about how a Christian marriage is designed to reflect Christ and the Church. And then it hit me…
When I’m going through trials, my marriage should look different than the world’s type of marriages because I’ve got a great God who guides me, loves me, comforts me and convicts me! Therefore, my marriage should stand out and cause people to want to become Christians based on how I go about my life. This is much easier to type out than to live out!
A few years back my man and I were in a pretty horrendous trial. With tears in my eyes, I couldn’t help but ask my Lord, “Why are you taking us through all of this?”
I remember that day so well…
My body was weak.
My mind was spent.
My marriage consisted of a man and woman trying not to drown in the tsunami that we were living in.
And my faith was at a defining moment.
How was I going to respond in this trial? Was I going to blame my husband? Lash out at him? Fight with him because my world was spinning out of control? Or would I be tempted to curse God like Job’s wife wanted him to do because of all their suffering?
I had a choice in how I was going to conduct myself. Was I going to stand on the Truth or listen to the lies from the Enemy?
And the Lord whispered to me that day, “Daughter, who are you going to worship?” Is it you or Me? Are you going to embrace your fears and cling to them? Or are you going to embrace Me and walk by faith?
Deep sigh. Yeah, that’s how my Father and I roll. We have conversations like that often and many times it bends me out of shape because I know He is leading me to do hard things!
So I thought about that day and what my Lord was asking me, and of course I was convicted.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Romans 12:1 (NIV)
Yep, I think this verse will convict just about any Christian wife! The Apostle Paul says, “True and proper worship.” That’s what life and marriage really boils down to, doesn’t it? I can’t help but ask myself the question, “Am I willing to worship the Lord in my life and in my marriage?”
As Christians, our lives are always on display for the whole world to see. What do others see when they look at us? Our marriages? How we go through trials? Do our actions and attitudes show that we really trust God? Does God’s Word really have the answers for a thriving marriage? (Yes, it does! 🙂 I’ll come back here at the end of the series and share with you a few practical tips.)
Since Jesus Christ is everything I live for and because He’s the Ruler of my heart….
I want my marriage to reflect Him; a marriage filled with grace, compassion, forgiveness, mercy, and love towards my husband.
The world’s marriages don’t have the power of the Living God residing in them, but mine does.
The world’s marriages don’t have the ability to love and lay down their lives for their spouse, but mine does.
The world’s marriages don’t have the Word of God guiding them into all Truth, but mine does.
If I choose to worship the Lord and not myself, then my marriage will essentially look like it’s not of this world. It’s this pursuit that will draw the world to Jesus Christ, not to mention cause the natural by-product of a better marriage! 🙂
I want to worship Jesus, after all, it was my sin that placed Him on the Cross.
I have learned that when I seek to bring God glory with my marriage, His glory unfolds in my marriage.
I challenge you to take a step of faith today and for the rest of this series and lay your man, your marriage, and the possible mess you’re living in, at your Messiah’s feet and watch His glory unfold in your life.
Live a poured out life for Christ,
Need some encouragement and guidance in your marriage? Grab my latest book, Wives of the Bible: 25 Easy Lessons You Can Learn from these Imperfect Women that Will Radically Transform Your Marriage.
AWESOME, Jolene! <3 I'm standing firm right now declaring to the world my marriage is not of this world! (and it has not been an easy road to get to the point of realizing that truth) Excited and honored to journey through this series with you, friend.
Blessed to hear you’re standing firm in spite of the difficulties, Rosann! This glorifies the Lord even more!
Thank you for being so honest! My marriage hasn’t always been picture perfect… But what I do know is I have trusted The Lord and held on to His promises !. Thanks for reminding us to keep our FOCUS on Him and when we do we honor and glorify our Father and as we continue to be led by Him…. Our marriages grow stronger and really look differently than the worlds point of view on marriage. I’m so glad we choose to live for HIM:)
Aida, no marriage is picture perfect but a marriage that seeks to glorify the Lord will reflect Jesus Christ, who is Perfect. I’ve learned to pursue this type of Perfection!
I want to do this challenge! Sounds very empowering!
Jump on in, Breena! There’s room here for everyone. 🙂
Going to read this again and again. My husband and I are in a really low valley right now and it seems no end in sight. Three young children, new job and schedules and just starting homeschooling and other personal circumstances is taking a toll. Laying it all before the Father today.
Oh the valleys in marriage…I have learned they are designed to strengthen our marriage (if we choose to walk in obedience) and when you come out on the other side your marriage is even stronger and so is your faith. Keep on the narrow path, friend!
Thanks Jolene – great introduction to the series! I am looking forward to see what God is going to do.
You are welcome, Gaye!
I love that…offering our marriages up to the Lord just as we lift up our lives in Romans 12:1. We been through a trial or two in our marriage, too, and I can say without a doubt that the only reason we made it through was because we have God at the center of our marriage! He is the glue 32 years and counting! Thanks for the great encouragement this morning!
Yep, God is the glue. Love that, Joan!
Oh wow….I thank you so much for doing this series! This is really good and it is just day 1. I’m soooo excited to carry it out into completion and not only that but to live it! Thank you so much! Our Marraige of almost three years is at a rocky place right now and I need this so much! God Bless you!
Oh Heather, so blessed to hear you’re joining us! I know you’ll be ministered to in a mighty way!
What a lovely Day 1 post – although I must say I had to stop reading a few times to think about what I just read and wipe away a few tears. Looking forward to the whole series…
Sandy, sometimes the trials that the Lord takes us through is just plain hard and the tears are inevitable! But He is faithful to carry us through the storms.
Wonderful post Jolene. My husband and I starting putting God in our marriage on December 10, 2012 and our marriage is quite strong already. It can always grow stronger. We have had our shares of bumps, huge mountains and deep valleys to get through….plenty of hard times and great times too. With God on our side and in our marriage which we both agree comes first then we come second to Him, our marriage continues to get stronger and better each day.
Praise the Lord, Rachel. How wonderful to hear that you’ve put Christ first and you’re already seeing a better marriage.
I love it, Thanks so much for starting this series! So many times we let what we want for our marriage and our ideas get in the way of what God really wants for us. I pray today that we can learn to let God have His way and let Him bring the Glory instead of us. Thanks Jolene!
Oh yes, Regina….our ideas get in the way all the time!
I can see the lesson and relate. I got married and came with a fantasy of what that should be and was oblivious to the reality. Through surrendering to God Who is taking the bad fruit out and replacing it with good fruit, I can see where my marriage was failing and how He is fixing it as we are obedient to His Word. Thanks for this opportunity to be in a community of women who are here with me. Love you, Jolene thanks for being obedient to encourage and build up!!
So glad you’re encouraged here, Djennne.
Laying it all at Jesus feet daily! Standing strong, faithful, & committed always to my marriage. Thank you so much for this, couldn’t come at a better time!!
The Lord knows what we need, Michele. Blessed to hear what I shared ministered to you.
Jolene, thank you so much for your ministry. I am a young wife, married only 3 months. I am a little scared of the trials God may lead us through down the road. Everything has been relatively easy so far. Nonetheless, it is encouraging to know that He will be with me and my marriage to carry us through, and that through my faith I may have “the power of the living God residing in [my marriage.]” I pray that I have the strength to follow God’s will.
My first year of marriage was absolutely wonderful! We both came into the marriage very thankful and blessed that God gave us each other, perhaps that’s why our first year of marriage wasn’t rocky? And both my man and I had been through a lot before we married (and we were older) so I think a little maturity tames the self-centered beast that can well up in all of us. Our trials came later from circumstances surrounding our marriage rather than it being marital trials. I’ve always had the mindset that living in a trial is hard enough as it is that I don’t need to add a marital trial on top of it! I need my husband’s support and strength when we go through the storms rather than going through them without him or fighting with him.
With Christ at the center of your life, you and your man can get through anything. Just stay faithful and obedient to the Lord and He’ll bless you. And when the storms come, because Jesus said we will have tribulation, enjoy your man as best as you can!
I remember our first year of marriage. I had a lot to learn about communicating and hubby and I had to learn how to work with each other on working through issues. He wanted to talk it out RIGHT NOW and I didn’t want to talk things out until I sorted out my feelings, so that I didn’t say anything that I shouldn’t.
But we have a big God and He did not give up on us and we’re 30 years and going strong! Our marriage has always gone much smoother when we love each other God’s way instead of our own way! 🙂
Oh so true about having a better marriage when we’re loving our guy God’s way instead of our own!
Thanks Jolene…in the last 4 years of our 9 year marriage, my husband and I have drifted apart tremendously, to the point that I cry out to God… it’s this what you want for me? I’m looking forward to this series and hoping to put God first in our marriage again.
My heart hurts for you! Draw nearer to the Lord and let Him comfort you and guide you into His Truth. He’ll show you how to draw closer to your husband. Continue to be faithful to Him and His ways. I know this series will give you some wonderful practical tips to reconnect with your man.
Don’t even know where to start…but I know I need this right now. New second marriage(almost to our 1st anniversary) after being divorced for 12 years and realizing that neither myself or my husband are where we need to be with the Lord. We both try. I am more involved with the Church; how do I get him involved and leading the family with the Gospel? We love each other very much and he has stepped up with my 16 year old son so amazingly. But there are times we fight…badly. I have learned to be so independent and he has a fierce temper…both of us damaged by our past. How do I help him and our family without seeming like I am criticizing? I am a talker and he is a thinker…the more I talk about issues the madder he gets…the quieter he is the more I feel like what I am saying doesn’t count.
Lisa, if we all looked deep within our hearts none of us are we we’d like to be in our walk with the Lord. We fall short. 🙁 Be a loving, respectful and gracious wife. It’s a wife’s actions and Godly influence that will minister most to her husband. Don’t worry about what he’s doing or not doing, just focus on your walk and continue to follow the Lord.
We had a week of disappointment and frustrations and I’ve been struggling to keep my eyes on Christ as I process everything. Thank you for reminding me that I must make a decision to have faith. It isn’t going to come naturally so I need to put my armor on and fight for it!
Nope, my dear friend, faith does not come naturally! It’s a continual growth process.
love it Jolene, thank you for being real. We need more of that, and I appreciate it. xoxo
You are welcome, Shawna. No sense in pretending everything is perfect because that does no woman any good! We all go through trials, and being that we’re the Body of Christ, we should be real and try to minister to one another.
having just come out of the worst 2 years of my marriage everything you said so resonated with me! God had to completely break me of my pride and reveal that yes, marriage isn’t about two people having a love that conquers the world, as we think and read and see communicated all around us – – it’s two people conquered by the love of Christ and reflected His image to one another and therefore the rest of the world around them as they look on and watch~
i’m so excited for this series and subscribed so i wouldn’t miss a post. :)) thank you so much for being real and sharing so graciously what God has done in your life and marriage. such an encouragement knowing we’re not alone in our struggles. 🙂
Praise the Lord, Amber, that God has restored and redeemed your marriage! Blessed to have you joining us in this series!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Just what I needed to hear. I need to stop being so selfish. Like you said it is easier to type than to do!
Yep, it’s much easier to type it than to live it!
Thank you so much for this reminder. Who is my marriage about? Not me, not my husband–Christ. Who am I living for? God. Where should my focus be? My Savior.
Even just the two years and four months my husband and I have been married has already brought us closer to Christ and strengthened our faith, and I am so thankful. The closer we get to Him, the closer we get to each other… it’s a wonderful cycle once we’re in it! And I am SO thankful for the forgiveness we have in Christ because without that we would be totally lost on our own.
Thank you for this, Jolene!
You’re welcome for the reminder, Jaimie. And how wonderful to hear that you and your guy have grown closer to each other and to the Lord. And the cycle is beautiful…the forgiveness that Christ has towards me is what propels me to forgive my man. This perspective always makes for a stronger and Christ-centered marriage!
In an unequally yoked marriage of 26 years. Mostly good but some bad. I am laying it all at God’s feet…my man, my marriage and the messy part.
Very wise choice, Leisha!
This could not have come at a more perfect time. I can’t say thank you enough. I am so glad i found this.
What a blessing to hear this has ministered to you, Jessica! God is good. He knows what we need.
Beautiful Jolene! We are married 44 years 🙂 but there is always something to learn and therefore, grow! What a blessing that you are willing to share these valuable lessons with us. Thank You. Am I allowed to print this to place in my devotional notebook?
Yep, Cordelia, feel free to print it, but I will be putting this entire series together into a pdf. ebook format once it’s finished.
thank you !!! this was so encouraging! I
needed this look forward to this every morning !!
How wonderful to hear you were encouraged, Irene! And that you’re looking forward to this series every morning! I know all of the contributors will bless you!
So, so amazing! You know those silly V8 drink commercials where someone does something silly and they slap their foreheads and go, “Shoulda had a V8!” Well that’s how I feel right now! Reading this “I want my marriage to reflect Him; a marriage filled with grace, compassion, forgiveness, mercy, and love towards my husband.”, God was just like BAM! “Shoulda been reflecting Me!” hahaha! Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for encouraging wives and standing for strong biblical marriages!
Dorothy, that’s funny about the V8! So blessed to hear this was an eye-opener for you. God is good like that!
I’m so glad I came across this on Pinterest. My husband and I have decided to take the challenge together. We read the post separately then we reflect on our own 14 years of marriage and talk about what we can take with us through the next many years. Thank you so much for allowing God to help us grow.
Kristen, that’s awesome for the two of you! Your marriage will certainly grow stronger as a result of reading this series together.
This was great! Thank you for writing this. I find, that I read what I need at exactly the moment when I need to read it. That’s how my Father and I roll haha.
But seriously, this brought tears to my eyes, and a conviction down on me…I can really apply today’s reading in my relationship. Thank you! I know I am a day late, but better late than never.
Heather, the Lord is so good to give us what we need when we need it! And a day late is no big deal! 🙂
Jolene, I have laid my man, my marriage and the mess I’m living in at the Lord’s feet so many times I’ve lost count, but nothing has changed. My husband and I have been together for 39 years, married almost 37, and for most of this time, he has been either unfaithful to me with other women or indulging in pornography. He left our home a year ago, and five months ago said he wanted a divorce. Every prayer, every hour spent in marriage counseling, every attempt at reconciliation has yielded nothing. He pulls further and further away, is unrepentant, and although I know the Lord has all the power and authority to set aside decades of devastation and restore our marriage, it has not happened. Perhaps He knows that all the love and respect I once had for this man is gone and just there’s not enough left to work with. Right now, I presume His plan for me no longer includes this marriage.
Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who hears the Lord speak audibly to me, so all I can do is wait patiently on Him. Even though I am still waiting for the divorce paperwork to hit my mailbox, I have no doubt it’s coming, so I am trying to rebuild my life as a soon-to-be single 58-year old woman who has known nothing since the age of 19 but a relationship with this man. While I wait, I continue to draw closer to the Lord, I keep working on myself, I am getting much more involved at church, and I am continually praying for guidance — and peace.
I also pray that when the time is right, the Lord will bless me with a godly, truthful and trustworthy man, and then I can apply all of your great advice to that new relationship!
🙁 My heart hurts for you so much, Deborah. But God…He knows your pain and sees each tear that falls. Continue to lean on His promises and let the Lord have His way in your life. He’ll give you what you need, and yes, continue to grow in the Lord and put your eyes on Him. It’s the best perspective to have, whether you’re married, single, or miserably married.
This is so encouraging! Thank you for this, Jolene, and for the series!
You are welcome, Jenifer. Thanks for joining me in this series!
Hi Jolene, thank u very much for this. I am truly inspired. I am a 26 year old woman who is seeking guidance with marriage,my fiance and I are planning to get married next year. You are an amazing example to young women like me and i have made u my mentor. I get encouraged every time I read what u write. There are lots of young wowen like me who need to hear these words. I feel blessed to have come across this. I just wish there was you can start a small group to teach young women and give practical advice to use in our everyday lives.
Wow, I’m humbled and honored by everything you’ve written, Samu! I don’t really know what else to say to your beautiful and encouraging words. I’m so sorry that I can’t start a small group to teach young women but you can grab my latest book, Wives of the Bible (whether you’re married or not, you’ll definitely benefit from reading it. It’s filled with God’s Word…which transforms lives. 🙂 )
Jolene, I just found this on pintrest. I think it sounds great. I know that October is over but I want to follow the 31 days. I am encouraged and looking forward to an incredible uplifting journey that will help make my marriage even stronger than it already is. Thank you
Hi Stacey, so glad to have you here!
I’m just now finding this website by searching “how to be a godly wife” in Google. I am a souled-out Christian married to a souled-out man of God but even then, we still have our hiccups and setbacks. We are currently living in a setback to the point of where he feels that it is better to be at the corner roof of the house than to be living with me. He understands his commitment and vow to love me so of course we aren’t even considering the D word but right now is a very trying time. Communication is out of whack….understanding is out the door….and being godly is the last thing on my mind. I am definitely going to double up on doing this challenge and pray God has His way with us. Thanks for dedicating yourself to a ministry like this.
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