Excerpt from An online Course: Where God puts two hearts in a home.
A married person….no matter what religious life habits you practice, if the fruit of the Spirit and the death of selfishness (Gal 5:22-26) from the heart are characterizing your dealings with each other, you are not portraying a Christian marriage. In fact, if your heart is still selfish, there may be little real difference between your marriage and the marriages of others who do not acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ, even though you do a lot of Christian things.
The flesh (Gal 5:19-21) infects your relationship like a fatal disease, just as it does that of your unsaved neighbors. When the fruit of the Spirit has a crop failure, the lusts of the flesh swarm over the marriage like a plague. The result is often the death of the marriage either legal divorce or emotional separation. Christians have the opportunity to build a Christian marriage and repel this plague, but it is not automatic or magic.
Do you know sincere Christians who have divorced their spouses? Sadly, I do. In every case, on the wedding day they had every intention of living together faithfully ‘til death. They loved each other and had many shared values and ideals. In some cases, they even entered ministry together and worked together for the cause of Christ. They didn’t set out to commit adultery, to be critical of their spouses, to control, to abuse, or to dislike each other, but they ended up that way. What went wrong? In each case, there was at least one lust of the flesh from which they were not free, and eventually that lust, or perhaps a whole group of them, overwhelmed and strangled the relationship until one or the other broke the marriage vows to love, honor, and cherish until death.
Many times the lust of the flesh was sexual, but sometimes it was other things like:
- An arrogant attitude which could see no good in the partner
- Impatience with a partner‘s inability
- Jealousy that the partner spent so much time preoccupied with work or ministry
- Or pride in that work or ministry that kept the partner from walking in Christ toward his/her Spouse.
Please read Romans 8:13-14. The Greek language here indicates strongly that one experience which characterizes every true child of God is being led by the Spirit of God. If two people are being led by the Spirit of God, then the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22) will characterize everything they do, from the way they work, to the way they relate to lesser creatures and children, to the way they relate to each other. When both partners are being led by the Spirit and serving each other in tender love and humility, then such a couple truly portrays a Christian marriage. However, we learn that in a Christian marriage it takes a deliberate effort to say no to doing that you want and instead cultivate the fellowship of the Holy Spirit and do what the Spirit wants (Gal 5:17) as you relate with your spouse. The apostle Peter calls this ability to be empowered by the Spirit and not to be overcome by self-centered desires, true freedom (2 Pet 2:19)! When two people are led by the Spirit, they can channel the sweetness and faithfulness of the Lord to the other through the difficult times as well as the good ones.