Marriage Builders : Can We Follow Our Hearts?
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9
The world tells us that to be in love and have a perfect marriage, we must follow our hearts. Is this true? Does this work? Is it biblical? Does the heart’s desire equal what is best? Is there something we can do to help our heart be content and not be led into what is false or dysfunctional?
In order to move into a healthy relationship, start by asking yourself a few questions:
- How is your marriage?
- Is it working for you?
- Are you working for it?
- What if your marriage is not going according to plan?
- What if you feel that you and your spouse are drifting apart or are already distant or feeling hopeless?
- What if you feel you have tried with all of your might, yet you are still frustrated or overwhelmed?
- Is there something we can do to repair and extend our marriages to be better than they were before—even on their best days?
From what I have seen from research and experienced in doing marriage counseling, our culture is in trouble. Our families are being torn apart as if we were in a war, and each one of us are a faction, reeling in our hurt and expelling out our anger. Many people are very unhappy and disillusioned, living a pathetic life instead of a triumphant life because they are miserable in their marriages.
This marriage builder workshop is not about how to find your love or what to look for in a potential spouse; Into Thy Word’s series on dating and courting addresses that. Rather, this is about what we do when we are married—regardless of how we feel, i.e. this was a mistake, we don’t click, etc. The dating and courtship are over; you are married now. You need to find a way to live in it, make it work, and thrive with joy. Even if you feel that you have made wrong choices, God can use you to work it out for the best.
Through this Marriage Builder series, you can start a “love dare” that will allow you to rebuild, rehab, and improve—take what God has given and use His tools for relationship bliss!
This challenge also assumes you are not in an abusive relationship and that both people are mentally and physically healthy and able to relate. If this is not you, please seek professional help from a licensed Christian counselor or pastor before undertaking this challenge.
The World’s Theme is Fake and Fickle
The world and its entertainments, poems, TV, movies, and romance novels urge us to “follow our hearts”. We may even hear this from our families and friends. There is certainly a truth in that, but there is also a big problem. The heart is evil according to the Bible; it seeks what is not best and wants what it can’t have. It longs for a person or thing to smooth and sooth it, but what it usually desires only brings about hopelessness, dysfunction, and strife.
The Bible tells us, he who trusts in himself (meaning following one’s own heart) is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe. Proverbs 28:26. Because our hearts are corrupted with sin and can lead us to what is is false, actions based on the heart alone can result in indecision, unpredictability, inconsistency, shallow, and ever-changing desires that lead us in multiple wrong directions and blind us to what is best and more fulfilling. So, how will we be led in the right direction (Psalm 37:4; Prov. 23:7; 27:19; Matt. 15:19)?
A Great Marriage is built upon Love, the Spiritual Fruit
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14
Love is the spiritual fruit that is built from real, godly character and our commitment to Christ. It is the fiber of our moral center that stretches throughout our being, embracing and holding together our relationships when it is sealed as a choice and commitment, not just a matter of feelings or desires. Love will synergistically combine with the other characters of our Lord that flow from the Fruit of the Spirit. This fruit will promote our ability to relate and grow in all of our marriages (and our other relationships) to better others, as well as ourselves (Galatians 5:22-23).
Key marriage tip: You cannot trust your heart; you can only trust the Lord! Remember, you can’t change your spouse; you can only change yourself. The work begins in you without you seeking control of another, but rather you knowing how to love another.
Read Psalm 37:4; Proverbs 23:7; 27:19; 28:26; Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 15:19; John 17:25-26 and ask yourself these questions to challenge, inspire, and equip you to be better in your commitment, love, and marriage:
- What do you think it means to follow your heart? How have you done this? What happened? What causes this to fail?
- What and how do you think will help you lead your marriage in the right direction? What can you do to not seek to control your spouse, but rather trust in Christ?
- At this point what do you think you need to do to find a way to live in your marriage (assuming there is no abuse going on), make it work, even thrive with joy?
- At this point what do you think you need to do to rebuild, rehab, and improve your marriage?
- Can you make a commitment to take what God has given and use His tools for relationship bliss?
R. J. Krejcir, Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org.