For a marriage to succeed, a couple must possess mutual motivation.
Determine what is the mutual motivation for your marriage to succeed.
- What is the desired result?
- What is the common goal for the marriage?
- What is the win for the home?
If you look to the pages of Scripture, a worthy goal is not to get along peacefully, raise children to be respectable members of society, or to purchase that pristine home in the country. The goal must be the glory of God. When a couple desires God to be pleased with all aspects of their home, that mutual motivation settles most issues that arise. Whatever is done in a home should be done for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
Notice that this marriage direction is not heading towards one another. If you focus solely on your spouse and not how to glorify God with your spouse, you will end up in a wrong direction. And while bringing glory to God is a service of devotion to him, it is also the greatest benefit to your spouse. Seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness ensures that he will add everything needed for you (Matt. 6:33).
The worst thing you can do in marriage is make it all about you or your spouse. You must learn that obeying God’s commands rather than adhering to your spouse’s wishes is in the best interest of the marriage. Aligning yourself with God’s standards for marriage is for God’s glory and your good.
When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, things had gotten out of control. So many sexually immoral mistakes had been made, some wondered if they should scrap the concept of marriage altogether (1 Cor. 7:1). Paul’s defense of marriage as a single guy was citing the need to meet one another’s needs in practical ways for spiritual purposes.
His argument was simple: marry if it can cause you to serve Jesus better. If marriage won’t help you pursue Kingdom purposes, then stay single.
I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord (1 Cor. 7:35).
Any goal less than that is insufficient in marriage.
- If you make it about your happiness, you will go in different directions.
- If you make it about each other primarily, you will miss each other in the process.
- If you make it about worldly pursuits, don’t expect heavenly benefits.
The goal of marriage is to secure undivided devotion to the Lord.
Maybe your marriage is struggling is because you are trying to do it your way. Your spouse has other ideas that combat your efforts. The standard inside me disagrees with the standard inside her, and we are heading in different directions. So, who is going to lose? Hopefully, both of you. Whoever loses his life for Jesus’ sake actually finds it along the way (Luke 9:24).
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.