Marriage Day 16: Setting Aside Your Desires to Disciple

Marriage Day 16: Setting Aside Your Desires to Disciple

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31-Day Marriage Devotion Resources

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others (Philippians 2:3-4).

The most significant problem hindering humble discipleship in a marriage is self-centeredness. Too many spouses demand and manipulate what they want while relegating their role of discipling their spouse to a tertiary consideration. Nothing will blow up a marriage quicker than a lack of other-centeredness, a mindset that is contrary to the gospel. Jesus set aside His desires to help broken people. Discipleship is every spouse’s responsibility. Christ took on the form of a servant to transform damaged individuals (Philippians 2:5-10). A large part of my marriage counseling is spent pressing this kind of gospel thinking into the minds of the couple in trouble. Not until they understand and apply the other-centered force of the gospel will they have a genuinely satisfying biblical marriage. You can’t fix your marriage by yelling louder or demanding more. Adamic fallenness has completely and utterly broken down your spouse, and they need your help to overcome those fallen shaping influences. In this way, your marriage is more about your spouse and Adam than you. Your spouse has a preexisting Adamic condition. To live out this gospel-informed worldview, here are six helpful ideas to give you an idea of what it looks like in your marriage.

  1. Concur: Agree that your spouse is part of Adam’s fallen race and not entirely sanctified. There are things wrong that need your discipleship care. Do you know how to address those things humbly?
  2. Confess: Do you know how to lead your spouse by removing your complicating problems from the marriage? Make sure you are not compounding your spouse’s problems by adding yours to the pile.
  3. Communicate: Now that you are no longer part of the problem, start talking to your spouse about how to best serve them in their sanctification. What is your redemptive plan for your spouse’s sanctification?
  4. Collaborate: Your collaboration must be practical and reciprocal. Be specific about how you want to serve your spouse. How are you motivating your spouse to be like you as you follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1)?
  5. Community: Let others into your marriage. You both need a grace-filled community to help bring long-term, sustaining change. Bring your marriage into the light of a small community of friends. Who are the friends who are helping your marriage?
  6. Continue: You must turn these ideas into habits so you can express mutual repentance in your marriage. Let these things be a lifelong process.

As you continue to work together, here are twenty practical tips for your consideration.

  1. Confess your sin against your spouse soon after the sin.
  2. Rendezvous regularly to chat, whether on dates or at bedtime.
  3. Appropriately talk about your secret thoughts.
  4. Inquire about your spouse’s thoughts.
  5. Have a consistent sex life.
  6. Pray for each other at different times during the day.
  7. Follow up on Sunday’s sermon by asking application questions.
  8. Show affection in different venues, even in front of others.
  9. Grab, touch, and flirt with each other regularly.
  10. Kiss often.
  11. Discern evidence of God’s work in your spouse’s life and talk about it.
  12. Begin your sleep by being close to each other.
  13. Honor each other in public.
  14. Never talk critically about your spouse unless your spouse is there or aware and in agreement with you sharing with others.
  15. Share with your spouse what God is doing in your life regularly.
  16. Have lots of fun with each other.
  17. Laugh together.
  18. Hold hands.
  19. Ask your spouse their perspective on how you can mature.
  20. Let your spouse know when they observe your sin that you want them to provide corrective care.

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Time to Reflect

What is the hardest item on the list for you to do with your spouse? Why is it hard?

Practical Suggestion

Make it your aim to change those things. This process begins by talking to God and, eventually, your spouse so you both can work on improving any snags in your marriage.

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