The bookstores are filled with marriage counsel. Conferences abound. Social media is flooded with tips on how to have a successful marriage. Many are good and helpful. But, if you want to have a marriage that lasts and is full of the life of God, there is one thing that Jesus said you must do.
You must abide in Christ.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.”
To “abide” means to “remain in a stable or fixed position.” As Jesus was giving His final instructions to His disciples, He reminded them of their absolute inability to accomplish anything apart from Him. Oh, they could be fishermen, and maybe build a house, or have a ministry. But they couldn’t accomplish what God desired without God Himself! They needed to be connected to and filled with God! And … they needed Him every moment of the day.
THE DIVINE PROVISION
As Christ left the earth, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in each believer. We now can be joined continually to God! His attitudes can fill our minds, His affection fill our hearts, and His actions fill our steps. Christ can flow through us like “rivers of living water.” We can have the fruits of His life: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). But, this only comes as we abide.
If a patient had a lifesaving oxygen mask on, it would be useless if it was taken off and on. They must abide in the stream of the life-giving oxygen to survive and thrive. For a husband or wife to survive and thrive in marriage, you must make the great determination of your heart to remain in humble, hourly, dependency upon Christ.
You must understand that His life flowing through you is the greatest gift you can give your mate! And, you must make any adjustment He directs to keep it so. The degree to which you will harm your marriage (or any endeavor), is the degree to which you pull away from Him, vainly thinking you can handle life by yourself.
THE DIVINE PATH
This demands of us a daily attention to the Word as we listen to Him and an unceasing communion with Him in prayer. It is aided by being surrounded by the people of God in His body, the church. It is sustained by a refusal of all that would quench and grieve His Spirit within us—anything that would pull us away from the “simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).
If you want to work on your marriage, work on your abiding!