“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:5-11).
Step One: Will I Die?
There was a need on our planet. Humanity rebelled against God and became depraved without any hope of a course correction. Jesus, the only right solution, decided to give up what He had with His Father to rescue us.
This work of Christ is the gospel, which is the prototype for how humans are to relate to each other. In marriage, both spouses have an obligation to set aside their desires for each other’s mutual and reciprocal benefit.
They imitate the gospel by cooperating with the Lord for His fame and their sanctification. There is always a sacrifice involved with ongoing care, and one of the most important questions you can ask is, “Will I die daily for my spouse?”
Step Two: Will I Sanctify?
Your spouse is damaged goods. Depravity is what the fall accomplished in all our lives. You picked a partner from the dinged and dented section of the store. Of course, the whole store was full of dinged and dented people. There are no perfect candidates from which to choose a spouse. To put it plainly, the person you married has issues.
The call to marriage is a call to work, as both spouses put in a “sweat of the brow work ethic” to make the marriage look like Christ and His Church. Are you cooperating with the Lord in the sanctification of your damaged spouse?
Step Three: Will I Enjoy?
It is not wrong to work for the benefits of your labors. Some have said that “love is an act without an expectation of anything in return.” The Bible teaches a different idea; there is a reward for work, which you should expect from your marriage.
Jesus will receive the work of His hands (Hebrews 12:2; Ephesians 5:27). It does not have to be wrong to want to enjoy the benefits of your labor. However, it would be a mistake to expect benefits without doing the hard work to earn them. The idea of sowing and reaping is not always negative. Are you enjoying the benefits of the work you have put into your marriage?
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).