One of the Greatest Gifts God Has Given Us
Recently something discouraging and painful happened while I was at work. We live only a few hundred feet from my office. When this incident took place, I stood up from behind my desk and decided to walk home. I was hurt, discouraged, and the situation weighed heavily on me. I knew it would take some time before I would be able to resume working as I tried to process what occurred.
I reached our home and Katie welcomed me with a smile, a hug, and a kiss. Immediately I felt better. Some of the burden was lifted. Katie had no idea what had happened, so it wasn’t any counsel she gave that improved the situation. Instead, simply being with the bride God gave me made me feel better. In chapter 5 of this book you’ll read about wives changing “not good” to “very good” (Genesis 1:31 cf. 2:18), and this was an example in my life.
Unfortunately, Katie and I were not able to be together that night, but knowing what happened earlier in the day, she sent me a text saying, “Praying for you to rest well tonight, and trust that none of this is a surprise to our Lord. I believe He is able to do great things through all of this. You will always have me by your side cheering you on. Love you. Rest well in trusting Him.”
This is the wonderful wife God has given me! I was blessed by Katie throughout that painful situation, and this is the kind of blessing God, in His perfect wisdom and love, intends for believers to experience through marriage. Aside from salvation and the Scriptures, the greatest gift God has given us as a husband or wife is our spouse. What is required on our part? For marriage to be all that God intends, we must follow the instructions He’s given us, and they are found in His Word.
Katie is not a perfect wife, and I am far from a perfect husband. We could fill the following chapters with mistakes we have made and things we would do differently. I will share some examples! But in this situation Katie followed God’s design for marriage, which led her to encourage me as she did. Throughout the book I will repeatedly reference God’s design for marriage because following it pleases Him and leads to the greatest blessing for us.
WHY YOUR MARRIAGE GOD’S WAY?
There are thousands of books on enriching your marriage, so why another one? What makes this one different? Is there any reason you should trust me to write it?
First, and of greatest importance, I am not asking you to trust me. Rather, I am inviting you to trust what God says in the Bible. This book is not a collection of my thoughts about marriage. At the church I serve, I set aside a significant amount of time to preach extensively on marriage. Hundreds of hours of studying the Bible were invested in the sermons. I used that material to write this book because God is the author of marriage. He designed the roles and responsibilities for husbands and wives. He knows what couples need so they can experience healthy, joyful, Christ-centered relationships, and He provided the principles in His Word. My desire is to present that guide clearly and biblically in Your Marriage God’s Way.
Second, I wrote this book because I am passionate about this area of Scripture and life. God designed the family as the primary unit for every aspect of society, including the church. And marriage is the heart of the family. As a marriage disintegrates, the family disintegrates. As families disintegrate, churches disintegrate. As churches disintegrate, society disintegrates.
When marriages are strong, families are strong. When families are strong, churches can be strong because strong churches are made up of strong families. Third, the marriage relationship is one of the greatest tools believers have for sharing about Christ with others because it is a picture of Jesus and His relationship to the church. Godly marriages can reveal Christ to an unbelieving world. That alone is a key reason I am passionate about seeing marriages strengthened.
Finally, I wrote Your Marriage God’s Way because of what I have learned as a husband and pastor. As a husband, I have experienced firsthand the blessings that come from obeying God’s Word and the negative consequences that come with disobedience. My wife Katie and I grew up together in the same small town (McArthur, California) and went to school together. We both became Christians in our twenties, and soon after were married. At times the stresses of being a husband, father, and senior pastor (a role that alone could keep me busy from the moment I get up to the moment I go to bed) have put a huge amount of pressure on our marriage. In the following chapters, I will share some of our personal struggles and what we have learned from them.
BUILDING ON GOD’S WORD
As a pastor, I’ve spent numerous hours performing marriage counseling. The time with husbands and wives has given me familiarity with the most common marriage problems. I have seen people struggle and then find the solutions in God’s Word, because it has the power to heal and strengthen any relationship. When I ask you to trust God’s Word, I do so because I have seen it work in my relationship with Katie as well as the lives of many couples I’ve counseled.
This book is designed to encourage practical application and bring real change (because that’s what applying scriptural truth does—it brings about change). For this to happen, we must keep God’s Word in our heart, as it repeatedly reminds us: “These words which I command you today shall be in your heart…lay up His words in your heart…the law of his God is in his heart…Your law is within my heart…Your word I have hidden in my heart” (Deuteronomy 6:6; Job 22:22; Psalm 37:31; 40:8; 119:11). While this book is not the Word of God, it is a biblical guide filled with verses. I have written an accompanying workbook that is also available, the Your Marriage God’s Way Workbook, to help you keep God’s Word in your heart and apply the teachings within it.
Scripture allows us to enjoy marriage as God intended it to be—a vibrant, thrilling, fulfilling relationship. Let’s journey together, with the Bible as our guide, to experience the blessings of a Christ-centered relationship.