“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
An excellent way to think about the questions I asked you is to think about how you relate to God. For example, I suspect you are open, honest, and transparent with Him. You freely talk to Him (prayer), and He freely talks to you (Bible). He knows you through and through, and though your relationship is not as perfect as it could be, you are safe as you continue to mature in your relationship with Him.
Because of the Christian’s call to imitate God (Ephesians 5:1), we have a remarkable opportunity to export this type of relationship with the Lord to our human relationships, including our spouses. Think for a moment about the possibilities of imitating your relationship with God in your marriage. More specifically, let’s focus on only one of the ways God relates to you: He does not condemn you.
God never condemns, mocks, criticizes, or puts you down when you share your heart with Him (Ephesians 4:29). He is always ready to listen and willing to help. The Father knows your frame and understands your weaknesses. He encourages you by speaking into your various challenges with love (Psalm 103:12-14).
You appreciate this characteristic of the Lord. But how does it work out in your marriage? For example, have you ever put something out there for your spouse to hear, only to quickly retract it because unkindness and disinterest met your moment of transparency?
Has either of you created “pockets of silence” in your marriage because it’s easier not to speak to each other than it is to enter into a difficult conversation? Many couples are like this. They are freer on social media or with their friends than with their spouses. They have forgotten this core tenet of the gospel: Christ’s work on the cross removes condemnation.
If you have lost that gospel edge, it is time to turn back from this relational regression by asking God to redeem your marriage. You and your spouse are not static beings; you’re always moving in one direction or the other. Either you are drifting apart, or you are intentionally pressing into each other. If you are drifting away from each other, it will worsen.
You will fill your pockets of silence with other things like children, work, hobbies, and even church. The key to restoring your marriage to gospel priorities begins by using your tongue for redemptive purposes rather than destructive ones (Ephesians 4:29). Christ came to transform lives, and you are supposed to be on His transformation team. Are you? The first place to begin restoring lives is with those closest to you. That person is your spouse.
As you think about the “condemnation aspects” of your marriage, these questions apply to either gender.
Please share the answers to these questions with your spouse if your marriage is mature enough to discuss these things. Be specific and practical when sharing areas where you need to change with your spouse. You may want to write out your thoughts before you have this discussion. Ask the Father to give you the clarity you need to self-assess and communicate with your spouse.
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).