The "One Another" in your Marriage
This past Sunday, we had a lot of fun having a conversation on marriage. Steph and I would like to thank all of you who were there for letting us speak into your lives. We in no way claim to be marriage experts. However, 18 years in, we have picked up a thing or two.
In today's blog, I want to key in on one concept that we hit on in the message. Mutual Voluntary Submission. This isn't just a marriage concept. This truth has revolutionized our staff relationships, our work with volunteers, our friendships, our relationship with our kids, you name it. Certainly we don't do this perfectly, but we are striving to live this out in our lives.
Mutual- It takes both of you
Voluntary- It's a choice only you can make
Submission- What you are choosing is to lay your rights down for each other.
You see, marriage is in no way a 50/50 proposition. It is (in God's design) two people, both willingly choosing to lay themselves down as a sacrifice for each other. In 50/50, there is no overlap of grace, if you don't do your part, if you don't meet me half way, I'm offended. Mutual Voluntary Submission is a 100% commitment, meaning at any given moment, there's plenty of leeway and grace for everyone.
Now historically, we don't like the word "submit". It almost feels like a dirty word. What we miss is the call in Ephesians 5:21 to "submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." If we would understand and apply that verse, it would solve the majority of marriage problems. We meet with couples all the time whose marriages are struggling, and I can't tell you how often the problems they are presenting to us for ending their marriage could be solved by simply laying down their rights.
Now please hear me. I am not saying you should stay no matter what. If you are being abused, our denomination believes that the spirit of the scriptures would classify that as one of the most egregious forms of marital unfaithfulness. So that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about the things that come up in every marriage that "cause the fire to go out" so to speak. Let me remind you that it is not solely your spouse's responsibility to keep the fire burning in your marriage. And the greatest way to do this is actually to voluntarily submit.
In your marriage, each of you is holding two buckets. One is full of gas and one is full of water. By the things you do and say and the things you choose NOT to do and say, you either pour gas or water on the passion of your marriage. What bucket do you use most?
Every time I give my wife the "Best Bite of my Burger" so to speak, I pour gas on our marriage. Every time I take the time to listen to her, learn her love language and try to love her accordingly, I pour gas on the fire. Every time I do the dishes instead of complaining about them, or put the kids to bed without being asked or without reminding my spouse it's her turn, I pour gas on our fire. Is that how you're living in your marriage?
All of this, we do for one another for one reason. Out of reverence for Christ. The greatest way to strengthen your marriage is actually to strengthen your reverence for Christ. If you are not submitted to His authority in your life and if you are not concerned about living in a way that honors Him, laying down your life for your spouse is a tall order.
And further, submit (submission) to one another (mutual) out of reverence for Christ (voluntary). (Ephesians 5:21 NLT)
Perhaps this is the dare you need to take. Take your spouse on a date. Maybe to a movie. Maybe to a restaurant. Maybe even to a marriage counselor. Do what you need to do to choose each other. And if you go on a date, take a picture and share it on social media with the hashtags #dateyourspouse and #ransomchurch. Your picture will become our reminder to pray for you.
Your marriage is worth fighting for. So fight for it.