Updated: May 18
We have been married for 52 years. With Christ as the center of our union, we have grown in love and understanding throughout these years. We would like to share revelation and our personal experiences with the desire to help others live out God’s plan for their lives!
When we face issues as a couple it’s easy to see the fruit first. Take the time to find the root. The fruit is going to be visible, it might even have a smell! You’ll have to do a little digging to get to the root. Our love relationships with our spouse can seem like a root but the truth is all of our relationships grow from the love relationship we have with God! Our relationship with him is the root! If you see a misunderstanding in your relationship look deeper and see if you may be misunderstanding God in some way. Do not inspect each other, instead inspect Christ. He is the standard, not your spouse. Your spouse was never meant to bare that responsibility. God will never fail you! In order to really examine root issues, you must know God’s character. His character is love! His character is goodness! God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Get in the word together to find out more about the character of God.
When we got married all those years ago we took two separate upbringings and we combined them to bring up our children. We took two different homes and two different dreams. Two different ideas and two different identities. And we began the task of making them one. While we were dating we could not see our differences. We were blinded by new love, filled with excitement over all we had in common! Once we got married we moved in together. Not only did we bring all of our belongings, we also brought all our ‘baggage’. As soon as we began helping each other unpack this ‘baggage’ it became clear to us that we had to place Jesus in the center of our marriage. Taking two and bringing them together as one just would not cut it. We needed to take three, each of us and God, and come together as one!
We learned to keep joy in our home! Sure you can find joy in one another, but your joy source has to be Jesus. The joy of the Lord is our strength! The enemy wants to take your joy so that he can leave you weak and vulnerable. Prioritizing joy in our home has given us great strength to overcome attacks on our marriage and our family over the years. The enemy loves to start attacks with petty arguments. We have been living by the 100-year rule for as long as we can remember. If it won’t matter in 100 years, it shouldn’t matter now.
One piece of advice we have always offered couples is to simply love the one you’re with. The word tells us to prefer our spouse. This is how you guard your heart in marriage. This is a choice. When you compare your spouse to something you perceive to be ‘better’ you’re letting that guard down. They say comparison is the thief of joy. We say comparison is the thief of intimacy. Speak the Living Word over each other. Look at your spouse and choose to see Christ in them over anything else. When you can see Jesus in your spouse it will help you to honor and respect them more. Trust and respect make way for a more intimate marriage.
Take the time and effort to be sensitive and aware of what your spouse likes! Do things deliberately and consistently to deposit into each other’s ‘love bank’. What you deposit in should be personalized by what you know about your spouse. Maybe they would appreciate a home cooked meal, or maybe they would prefer a date they didn’t have to plan. For your spouse it could be that a handwritten love note makes them feel seen and appreciated, or they might rather have you handle a task they don’t enjoy. Like putting the kids to bed or mowing the lawn. It can be as simple as a wink from across the room, a Reece’s cup on their pillow, or a loving word whispered during a tense moment.
If you don’t know what would mean the most to your spouse we recommend you try them all! We have spent our entire marriage determined to out love and out serve one another.
With this idea in mind, we both feel like the winner! Each of you reading this are in our prayers daily. We speak life to any dead and dry places in your marriage. We speak peace and calm to any unrest. Get in the word together as a couple. Pursue God and he will lead you in pursuing one another!
Blessing and Love,
Pastors Gregory and Jackie Pope