When I wrote Kingdom Driven Leader, I started by asking the question, “what did the good leaders in the Bible do to become ‘good’ by God?” However, when I dived in, it was their intentionality that hit me. The “good” leaders were very intentional about what they were doing. In fact, they often ran into issues not because of their intentionality but because they became comfortable. That same thinking applies to marriage. If we get comfortable in our marriage, it can let problems creep in. However, if we approach our marriages with intentionality, as a Kingdom Driven Leader would, we have a chance at success.
Submit To God
Recognizing that God comes first and that it is He who should create the lens through which we view life is a great challenge. However, it’s this act of submission that creates humility. We can choose to do things from our own free will or we can submit to His will. The Bible says that God resists the proud but favors the humble (James 4:6). As we’re preparing, we begin to turn our hearts toward God. This act of submission prepares our hearts to receive what God has to say from us. This is one of the first characteristics of a Kingdom Driven Leader and it’s no different in your marriage. When God comes first it gives your marriage a solid foundation on which to build or in some cases, renovate from.
Recognize The Covenant
Assuming that you’re submitted to God’s authority, then it’s important to recognize the marriage covenant. If you understand how covenants work then it helps you understand the rest of these Kingdom Driven principles and God’s covenant with us.
A covenant is not a contract. A contract has terms for both parties and has a definitive ending date. It contains explanations for both parties (good contracts at least) as to what happens if the other parties fail to meet the obligations. A covenant on the other hand is unrevokable agreement from one party to the other. The marriage covenant from a husband says I’ll love you for better or worse, period. There’s no “if” statement on that.
Submit To Each Other
When I was growing up I had this notion that marriage was 50/50. Everything was split down the middle. Coming from a family where divorce was the norm, you might understand why I saw the world that way. 50/50 thinking is divorce thinking, it doesn’t have anything to do with marriage. Marriage is 100/100. Marriage requires both parties to give 100% of their everything to each other to make it work. I doubt any marriage truly achieves this on a daily basis. However, it’s the goal of each spouse’s day to wake up and try to give 100% to the other spouse. That’s what makes a kingdom driven marriage.
Intentional Sacrificial Serving
When I used to read this verse, I thought basically I just needed to be willing to die for my wife. I think that part is actually easy. For husbands, it means being willing to sacrifice your own desires for your spouses. Jesus loved us so much that he went out of his way to meet with the people that hated him for his ethnicity, He touched the unclean and even recruited disciples from questionable walks of life. Doing this was incredibly inconvenient.
In order to be like Jesus to our spouse, we’ll have to be intentional about looking for ways to serve our spouse and be willing to do the inconvenient. In the same way, we are to become like servants for Christ, as spouses, we must serve our spouses. When both spouses are in sync on this, it’s the closest thing to heaven you’ll likely find in an Earthly relationship.
Nothing unites a marriage more than having the same purpose and vision. I don’t want to belabor the idea of purpose here (you can read my thoughts here). Your marital purpose doesn’t need to be something of legend that brings value to your lives. It could be as simple as raising a family under God and changing your family tree. The points you agree upon are the things that unite and propel you forward with exponential multiplicative power. In marriage, you are yoked or tied together. The more things you can do together in lockstep the more you’re marriage will accomplish for the kingdom.
We started with intentionality, and often that intentionality is driven behind a purpose to accomplish something. When I think of marriage I can think of 4 big reasons God designed marriage.
A healthy marriage is a perfect place to raise a family. While the word might sound mechanical, one of the many purposes of marriage is to form a family unit. God teaches us so many new aspects of his love through a loving marriage and raising children.
While you might read the word “pleasure” and immediately think of the physical aspect, pleasure isn’t one-dimensional. Your spouse can and should be your best friend. They bring new perspectives to the world everyday that you get to enjoy. Your spouse can often make the mundane interesting.
As we age we change and as we grow in our relationship with Christ our hearts change as well. Just as we need to continue to study the unchanging Word, because of our renewing hearts, we need to study our spouse. This means constant practice. Practice can keep us fresh and often can keep our hearts soft for what God has planned for us next.
A healthy marriage is a bit of a rarity in this generation. The way you love your spouse speaks through your actions in ways your words never would. Ultimately, you fulfill one of callings by simply loving your spouse well in front of others.