I am nearing the 3-year mark in my marriage. For many, I would still be classified in the “newlywed” years. While admittedly naïve to the way marriage will look in the coming future, I have been blessed with many couples in my life that have shown me how to enjoy this thing called marriage. In a society where marriage is becoming less glorified and even avoided, these few have broken through the noise by stating that “marriage keeps getting better.” As a Christian I want to see marriage through these lenses. The one God called me to reflect; a story of the Bride of Christ and the Church.
John Piper puts it this way:
The union of man and woman in marriage is a mystery because it conceals, as in a parable, a truth about Christ and the church. The divine reality hidden in the metaphor of marriage is that God ordained a permanent union between His Son and the church. Human marriage is the earthly image of this divine plan. As God willed for Christ and the church to become one body (Gal. 3:28; 1 Cor. 12:13), so He willed for marriage to reflect this pattern—that the husband and wife become one flesh (Gen. 2:24).
As I reflect on a husband and wife becoming one flesh, I often wonder why it’s so easy to treat my husband in a way contrary to how I’d treat myself. The greatest example of "this is my words." Words have power. They can build up and they can tear down. And I’ve been guilty of using my words for both, especially in my marriage. Often the people closest to us are the ones we hurt the most.
With our tongue, we give thanks to our Father in heaven. And with our tongue, we speak bad words against men who are made like God. Giving thanks and speaking bad words come from the same mouth (James 3:9-10).
Though difficult, I have witnessed couples who have made encouragement a priority in their marriage and have watched them thrive. And I have embarked on the journey with them. One of the first things I began to do was to pray specifically and daily for my husband. I came across a 30-day Encouragement challenge through the Revive Our Hearts Ministry.
The challenge was: For thirty days, don't say anything critical about your husband—to him or to anyone else about him. Tell your husband something you admire or appreciate about him—and say it to someone else about him. Seems simple. Right?
As I embarked on the 30-day challenge, it wasn’t always easy, but I saw a significant difference. Not just in my husband, but also in myself. The changes occurred in the way that I viewed him and in the way I responded in my heart. I was training myself to have a critical eye- but not for complaining. It was a critical eye to find positives. Ways to praise him. To encourage him. To build him up.
Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. Proverbs 31:23
So here is my challenge for you. For me.
Whether your marriage is in a great spot, or in a difficult season, I want to encourage you to participate in this challenge. In fact, Revive Our Hearts Ministry just released an updated version of this challenge starting this week. You can sign up with the link below. Whether it’s using this tool or another, I want to encourage you to do something. It’s so amazing to see what God can do in and through us when we align ourselves under His Word, in prayer, and in fellowship with others. Invite your friends and get started encouraging your husband today!
Not married? Start praying for your future Spouse. Pray for your parents. Pray for your friend’s marriage. Just pray for anyone the Lord lays on your heart. They will be blessed by it. And you will be blessed by it too.
To participate in the challenge, click here.