Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast Episode 087 Secrets to A Joyful Marriage
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Live With Eternal Perspective Podcast
Episode #087 – Secrets To a Joyful Marriage
Thank you for entrusting and investing your precious time with me to grow in Jesus together. I am blessed to be back with you to discuss more ways to live with eternal perspective.
This week my husband and I celebrated our 43th wedding anniversary. The fact fills me with such joy. Does it make me feel old? Not at all! I feel extremely blessed to be able to live with the person I was created to be with for so many years and although I selfishly desire more years, but gratefully and humbly offer gratitude for what I have received.
People have asked me what I believe helps people to stay married. People have also asked me how to cultivate close relationships. I don't have the perfect answer to either question.
But I know what I rely on. Does my answer make all my relationships perfect? Not even close. But it strengthens the good ones and it carries me through misunderstandings, giving me hope and promise that all can be made new.
Christ is the secret.
Psalm 16:11a says, “You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence."
God does fill me with joy!
As His word says, when I seek Him, I find Him. He enables me to react to situations in ways that are directed by Him, not me. I am certainly not perfect, but I am perfectly led when I choose to listen and obey.
The guidance I receive from above carries me beyond the initial human response I may desire to exhibit and allows me to rest in His ways.
Am I able to do that perfectly each time? No.
Good relationships also offer grace, especially when all people involved strive to follow the only One who can transform us.
It is my hope that others, especially those closest to me - my husband, my children, and my grandson will see light and love in my reactions to them. I pray they see joy and delight in my eyes when I look at them and in my responses to them.
God chose me to be the life partner for my husband. He chose me to parent each of my children. It is not by accident that any of us are together. We are together on purpose, for a purpose.
When I live in the presence of the Lord, I learn and grow each day. He enables me to see what He does and what He has given me more clearly daily. The Holy Spirit continuously works to cleanse and transform me. I am not the person I was yesterday and am not the person I will be tomorrow.
Our Heavenly Father does the same for each one of us who allows Him to work through and for us.
These are the qualities I choose to allow into my life.
These are the qualities I pray for.
These are the qualities I have in abundance.
These are the gifts He still grows in me daily.
These are the gifts He wants to bestow on you.
Even if you have no desire to marry or have children, He will give you the desires of your own heart when you allow Him to direct your life. After all, He desired you, made you, and filled your heart with the yearnings you possess for a purpose.
When I am no longer living on this earth I want those who knew me to remember Him. I want people to believe in Jesus because they saw Him at work in me and know that I gave the honor and glory to Him.
I want my children to grow up with the certainty that they are cherished and valuable. I want my husband to know he is a gift, a treasure. I want my family to find their identity, purpose, and passion for life through the One who created them.
What do you want? It's not too late to put in the effort to make it happen. It's not too late to thank the Lord for the opportunities He has given you. It's not too late to get to know Him so that you can have joy and the peace that passes all human understanding. It's not too late to share what you have been given with others.
Life brings hard circumstances, disappointments, failures, tears, and fears - even when you follow Jesus. We live in a messed-up, broken, sinful world. There is only One who can carry you through it. There is One who can wipe away the bitterness that threatens to take root in your heart or the pain that betrayal or hurts have caused.
Sometimes we are swallowed by grief or fear. There are countless reasons to shrink inside of self and believe the lie that nothing can change. But it can.
2 Cor. 4:8 says, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
All the pain, loss, humiliations, trials - whatever this world can throw at us - are openings for Christ to demonstrate His power and mighty presence through it. Whether it be a mistake we made, a lesson to transform us, or for the purpose of growing others, it doesn't matter. We learn, change, and grow despite and through the cause or reason. Prayerfully, what we face and endure through seeking the Lord will create a willingness in us to grow closer to Him and to allow Him to shine through us.
2 Cor. 4:16-18 says, "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
Wear invisible “blinders” to the world, self, or others, and look Up.
Let Him produce a life of fullness, love, and grace, through the valleys and the mountain moments.
When I am asked for the key to a blessed and joyful long marriage, I know that I have been blessed far beyond what I deserve. Marriage takes work from both spouses. It is not a breeze to be permanently linked to one human who is also imperfect. As perfectly matched as I believe my husband and I are, we are both flawed and only through allowing Jesus to work His transforming, sanctifying power through us are we altered daily and able to walk through differences of opinion, disagreements, or disappointments. In fact, we see more alike than different and recognize the beauty of God’s hand carrying us together.
What if you are struggling in a marriage with a spouse who does not know Christ? Continue to follow the Lord. Trust and know Him more intimately. Loyally commit to mature your walk with Him. But don’t nag your spouse or flaunt your relationship with Jesus, yet don’t ignore Jesus, either. Allow Christ to flow through you as a sweet fragrance as He works His gift of transformation in your life.
God warns and instructs us in His word, 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership can righteousness have with wickedness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?”
When my husband and I married we were not both Christians. Through the grace of God we have both come to know and mature in Jesus. The Lord has made all the difference! Instead of resolving issues by our own flesh, I see the mighty work God does in both of us and I feel and recognize Him allowing me the honor of serving Him and allowing Him to strip “Terri” away and transform me into the wife and mother He created me to be.
Ephesians 4:22-24 says, “to put off your former way of life, your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be renewed in the spirit of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”
Even if you and your spouse both have a developing or strong walk with the Lord, each of you is only human. The following steps are good prompts for every married couple to purposely practice.
1. Mature your personal walk with Jesus – Hebrews 5:13 says, “For everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child.” Growing in the knowledge and understanding of the Lord, relying on Him to carry loads, and trusting that He is good and present takes a lifetime to fully mature. The closer we get to Jesus, we realize how far away we really are. Intentionally make a goal to grow in depth and maturity through Jesus moment by moment or you will realize you are moving away from your true source of light and strength.
2. Pray – Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” God can perform miracles we never even dreamed of. What He transforms is always far better than we could imagine it to be. Never give up praying for others, even those who persecute you. Also remember to pray for yourself. I treasure not only praying for others over the years, but remembering that I need many prayers, too. Good works have been completed in me and I know there are far more to come. If you don’t know how to pray for yourself or others, start with God’s word. He will always honor you praying His word to Him and seeking to become more like His image. Prayer humbles and remodels us. It pleases the Father and the Son.
3. Let Christ be seen and known through His transformation in you – Ephesians 5:1-2 says, “Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.” Our words can have a strong impact on others, however, a life lived in ways that prove that the Holy Spirit is alive and working speaks much louder than we can.
4. Make your spouse your priority (after Jesus) – Ephesians 4:2 says, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Romans 12:9-10 says, “Love must be sincere. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Outdo yourselves in honoring one another.” The Lord should always be placed first in our life and we should always be improving ways to mature our walk with Him. However, in God’s eyes, our spouse is one flesh with us. We must place our spouse directly beneath God. Make time for God. Make time for your spouse. Mark 10:7-8 says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”
5. Allow your children to know Jesus – Psalm 127:3 says, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” Proverbs 22:6 says, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These words I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts. And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as reminders on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorposts of your houses and on your gates.” God commands much from us as parents. He especially desires and commands that we are godly and intentional parents. If your spouse is not a Christian, do not let that stop you from making Jesus known to your children. Our attitude and thankfulness show much about our walk with Jesus. Jesus can be made real in so many different ways each day. Always make sure you tie actions and mindset back to the reason you carry the hope, light, and love you do.
6. Realize your marriage won’t be perfect, even if your spouse finds (or already knows Jesus), but it will be a union blessed by God as you both mature your walk with Jesus and each other - Ephesians 4:1-3 says, “As a prisoner in the Lord, then, I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, and with diligence to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs. Love takes no pleasure in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Revelation 21:5 says, “And the One seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are faithful and true.”
As you work to know and make Jesus known in your personal walk, your spouse will see the difference. Although it is your desire that your spouse come to know Christ, it is not your responsibility. God alone does the good work in and through us. Do all you can to know, love, obey, and show the Lord in a strong and growing relationship, while honoring your spouse without removing Jesus from the throne in your heart. Continue to pray and make God known in your actions and attitude. Humbly continue to pray and trust God for results.
Father God, You are the Great I Am. You desire good things for all your people. You ordained marriage. You want it to be good. We thank you for the gifts You give us, even the many we never recognize and the ones we cast away. Please help us to see ourselves and see our spouse the way You see us. Help us to love our spouse and ourselves the way You do. We know we are a treasure to You. So is our spouse. May my walk with You draw my spouse to You in deep ways and bless the marriage we share. Help us to walk with humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another in love. May our children and grandchildren know You clearly through their walk with us. We thank You, Good Father for the gift of marriage and the ways You grow us through the union. In the precious name of Jesus I pray. Amen.
Thank you for listening to this podcast. Please visit terrihitt.com to access podcast episodes housed in one convenient location, read blog posts, transcripts, and access additional resources designed to mature your walk with Jesus through an eternal perspective and encourage you to raise or influence children to choose Christ over culture.
I pray this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Live With Eternal Perspective.