Renewing Marriages and Vows to God
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace, Romans 8:5-6
"Lord, program my mind for the answers."
I was watching a diet transformation show, Fit For Fashion. The contestants didn't just lose weight. They addressed bad eating behaviors so they wouldn't repeat the mistakes with their "new" bodies. It's the same with a marriage - - to a spouse or to Father God. Before you renew a marriage or vow, it helps to address any bad behaviors that need to be removed so you don't repeat them. New wine has to go into new wine skins.
This marriage and vow renewal article is broken down into different sections to help you expose where you might have problems. And, then when you expose it, you can explore how to fix it by taking Jesus there - - because we can't fix what we refuse to acknowledge or don't know about. So, let's start with bad "fixes".
The Pipe "Fitting" Problem
We had a pipe that broke in our building. I didn't know about it until I "heard" all the workers outside my window. There were several men outside loading trucks. Others were digging underground and drilling. A pipe had burst from the cold weather and the section of pipe had to be replaced.
Apparently it didn't hold. Late that night when the heat came on, it sounded like the boiler was going to explode! I was in bed and heard pipes crashing together. My neighbors heard it, too. I ran into the living room looking for a safe barrier because the noise was coming from all the pipes. I didn't know if a pipe was going to explode or if they would all suddenly explode!
A few minutes later, the building super knocked on all the doors and said half the building had heat and half didn't. Apparently when they repaired the pipe, the "new" section didn't fit well with the old. That was obvious.
What's new in your life that's not agreeing with the old? What has to be removed for you to walk in the new as Christ wants us to? Importantly, are there old behaviors/flesh at war with your Spirit? Remember, we are new creations and old things are passed away, right?
Because the devil tries to undermine people, we need to focus on our spiritual walk and renewing vows. These might be vows to a spouse if there was an infidelity or other "crack" in the marriage. It can also be renewing vows to Christ if you fell off in your spiritual walk at some point. The Bible states, It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one's vows, Proverbs 20:25. But, there are people that made them in the early stages of their walk and want to continue honoring their words to Christ. So let's look at both types of vows.
"If He Would Just..." The Damage Murmuring and Slander Do to a Marriage
I was reading a comment on a marriage site from a disgruntled wife. The topic was lack of communication in a marriage. The wife had forwarded the article to her husband by including his name. Let's call him George Smith and let's call her Sarah. The exchange went like this:
I don't think they realized their exchange was public and anyone could see it. But, importantly, the tension in their relationship was quite obvious. As I read through more comments, I could see an obvious pattern. There were a lot of wives voicing their complaints. But, strangely, there were no men commenting, only the women. The wives all had a similar theme.
They said things like:
The women sounded so frustrated and some sounded bitter. Unfortunately, the marriage site I was reading the comments in wasn't giving advice to these women. I wish I could have shared a few things I learned writing content for marriage-related websites.
It's Not Your Fault
Coming Clean and Not Holding Grievances
But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away my prayer, nor his mercy from me, Psalm 66:18-20.
I wrote for a company a while back that provides Christian retreats for couples. I wrote several articles about problems in marriage that cause derision between couples and tips to help them.
Here are a few pointers:
1. Invite God into the marriage, pray, and have devotions together daily.
God doesn't want us taking on the spirit of offense or excessively complaining and bitter. Invite God in through prayer to help heal any areas where there's a problem. If you're constantly arguing, pray and ask Father God if a Christian marriage counselor or therapist can help. Even if your spouse won't go, ask Father God if you should go for yourself first.
Look for Christian marriage workshops like Jimmy and Karen Evans who host the XO Marriage Conference.
2. Acknowledge where your marriage has "cracks" and where breakdowns exist.
"A house divided against itself cannot stand."
Things that divide a marriage and cause derision can include:
Again, ask Father God for direction about counseling, therapy, and/or rehabilitation services.
3. Look for ways to "lift" each other up.
A new broom always sweeps clean.
Oh, the dating stage. Everything is new. You love everything he/she does. But, over time, your needs aren't met and you take your frustrations out on each other. Some couples even play passive/aggressive games and deny intimacy. Or, they use their kids as leverage. But how can you lift each other up if you don't get along?
Let's face it. Men and women are different. Women are verbal and emotional. Men grunt. The woman is the nurturer. Men build things or tear them apart. She uses both sides of the brain and brings in the emotions. He uses one side of the brain and doesn't ask for help or directions. Even from childhood, only 61% of boys communicate.
The Bible says, "Out of the heart flow the issues of life." If your heart is hurting you'll say words that hurt. Why? Hurting people hurt people. When a woman's needs aren't met, she might over-analyze and complain. Or, she may gripe and murmur. If she's an introvert, she'll have conversations in her head and keep rehashing old issues. When women complain, men shut down. Men are wired differently. They'll go back into their cave. And, their cave might include gaming, movies, working more hours, porn, or old addictions.
To change negative behavior, consider a few things Christ and the Bible teach us:
Notice that we mentioned to "change" negative behaviors? Spouses make the mistake of trying to change the other person into what they want. That's not the right way. Change how you see the person and react to them. Forgive their shortcomings so you won't become bitter. And, ask yourself, Is it really that important that they forgot a date or didn't have dinner on time? What if God held you accountable by your standards?
Refrain your tongue from evil that it speaks no guile and communicate more with words of love, patience, and kindness in your marriage. Use the fruit of the Spirit and let your words be seasoned with salt. When you lift up each other up, you'll have a firmer foundation and your kids will see this and mirror it, too!
4. Increase your intimacy together.
Get away from the day-to-day, bills, stress, careers, and kids. Take time off to focus on intimacy with Christ at the center of the marriage.
To help you rekindle the flame:
You can't put new wine in old wine skins or else the skins will burst. Likewise, by addressing the problems in your marriage and letting God shine a light on areas of weaknesses, this can help you have a firmer foundation. If you plan a vow renewal, plan time to outline how you will be stronger for each other.
Part of marriage is vulnerability and learning about your spouse's areas of weakness. Because you know their weaknesses, it's for you to protect them and lift them up. Instead of, "He never remembers anything" try, "It's okay if he forgets. I'm thankful God sent me a loving partner (and I can keep track of important dates)."
You and your spouse are protection for each other. That was part of your vows to one another. And, as you grow old together, there will be challenges, but by inviting God in, you can have a firmer foundation. And, you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Get ready to start a new chapter in your life together. It will be better with more positive communication and you will both be stronger!
The Vows You Make to God
Another type of vow we have is our relationship with God. There were people who early in their Christian walk made promises to God. They might have said, "Lord, I promise to read my Bible every day." Or, "Lord, I vow not to drink anymore."
While the Bible states not to make vows like these because we should just honor God with our word, it's okay to renew your vows to Father God. You can say, "Lord, I know I said that I would work on reading my Bible more. I haven't always done this and I apologize. I will get back on track and spend more time in the Word."
Do you know and understand the power of prophetic timing? 5 = grace, 77 = the church, 9 = fruit bearing. There is a whole new wine being offered to us. But, we can't refuse to change our wineskins. Hear this awesome word from Pastor Troy Brewer and get ready to be transformed.
The Battle for Your Mind and the Power of Prayer
The reason it's important to realign your walk in your marriage and with the Lord is because the devil is battling our minds. He wants to get our focus off of Christ so he tries to distract us with petty arguments or people that use hateful words.
I can remember I had a HUGE problem with a noisome pestilence once. My downstairs neighbors were making noise late at night until 2am and my upstairs neighbors were making noise starting at 5am. I could barely rest. I realized it was the devil trying to get me "out of the Spirit" so I would react in the flesh. I also realized if I didn't get adequate sleep it would affect my work performance (likely the devil's goal). I grabbed a pair of earplugs and blasted a fan nearby so I could get some sleep. I woke up refreshed and smiling - The devil was defeated. But, it's not always that easy to drown out the distractions or to stop the demonic. But, why the distractions?
The devil does this so we can't clearly hear God. IF we lash out in the flesh, then we're carrying iniquity in our hearts. Like with my neighbors. The Bible states to love your neighbor. How can I love my neighbors throwing shoes in their bedroom at 5am knowing the walls are thin? It's simple. You have to RISE above them with the power of prayer.
To help you stay centered on Christ, it helps to know "which" prayers to pray as you grow in Christ. For some, they may not know about the power of prayer. Or, they don't know that there are specific prayers when you're battling an enemy on your job or a demonic threat in the home.
Use this link for prayers to help you become a better prayer warrior. As you listen to each prayer you might see how they are strategic prayers to help with what you need.
Ultimately, remember, with God, all things are possible. Trust God that as you draw closer to Him, God will draw closer to you. And, know, you are not alone. The right hand of your Just One upholds you!