Thursday, June 06, 2024

Fwd: Grow closer to God and your spouse

From: Kathy Keller, Gospel in Life <>
Date: Wed, Jun 5, 2024 at 7:02 PM
Subject: Grow closer to God and your spouse

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Over the years, Tim and I were asked a wide variety of questions about marriage — from how to have a healthy view of marriage as a single person to how to strengthen a marriage.

When we first began working together on our book, The Meaning of Marriage, we reflected on years of being married to each other and the peaks and valleys we experienced.

We considered how God worked on our weaknesses through our relationship. We also thought back on the questions we encountered in ministry while working with many people to help strengthen their marriages.

We wanted to see marriages that thrived and that enabled both husband and wife to grow in their relationship with God.

One of our favorite metaphors for cultivating a healthy marriage was to look at it like a garden. In 1 Corinthians 3, Paul likens the Church to a garden: you've got to water, fertilize, weed, prune, and eventually, you eat the fruit of your labors. Gardens take an enormous amount of work.

Your marriage is not like sod that you buy and bring home and roll out, ready to walk on. Your marriage is not like flowers that you buy at the store.

The difference between the fruitful marriage you can and should have, and the marriage you start out with is as far removed as an apple tree is from the apple seed. 

It takes an enormous amount of skill and attention to cultivate a marriage, no matter the weather, no matter the season. Your marriage is going to need enormous amounts of attention, or it will wither.

For the first 26 years of our marriage, Tim and I didn't pray together, we didn't have family devotions, and outside of being at church, we didn't do anything together spiritually unless there was a big crisis.

It wasn't until we finally came to the end of our resources that we realized we were going to have to pray together or we were never going to survive. So we promised that before falling asleep at night, we would hold hands and pray. After we started to do this, we have seen everything else in our spiritual life branch out and grow slowly.

Tim and I did not have the perfect marriage….for one thing, no such thing exists when one sinner marries another.

But indwelling sin caused us to miss opportunities to comfort and affirm each other, made me overly critical ("I'm just trying to be helpful!") and Tim overly sensitive, and allowed us to miss opportunities to encourage and affirm one another.

On the bright side, our sons have told us that seeing us apologize and repent to one another was a major factor in them taking our faith seriously. Just days before Tim's death we were still repenting to one another.

As Tim said in The Meaning of Marriage, we are one day in heaven going to see one another and exclaim, "I always knew you could be like this!" Marriage is a powerful vehicle by which God allows us to help one another become who He means us to be.

The Meaning of Marriage

Tim and I wrote both The Meaning of Marriage book and later a 365-day couple's devotional (with the same title), to help people see the way God uses marriage to shape us and how a marriage centered on God and his Word can grow and flourish.

In the month of June, Gospel in Life is highlighting The Meaning of Marriage: A Couple's Devotional.

We designed the book for married couples to use together. In it, we highlight passages from The Meaning of Marriage, but we also added a great deal of new content which will provide the opportunity for you to think out the personal implications of one very specific aspect of Christian marriage each day — like dealing with self-centeredness, or understanding marriage as a covenant, or serving each other and reconciling when there are rough patches in your relationship.

If you'd like daily wisdom for your marriage, request The Meaning of Marriage: A Couple's Devotional when you give to Gospel in Life in June. It's our thanks for your gift to help us reach more people with the love of Christ.

A Christian marriage needs to be about spiritual growth and each spouse helping the other to grow into Christlikeness. If we aim at holiness for each other, happiness will come; if we aim primarily at just happiness, we will get neither.

I pray that as you seek to make God the center of your marriage that you will grow closer to him and each other and that our marriage devotional book will encourage you to reflect the gospel to each other as you seek to serve Him in and through your marriage.

In Him,

Kathy Keller

Request 'A Couple's Devotional' Now
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