It amazes me when I hear people say, “What someone does in private is their own business; it has nothing to do with how they do their job.” Usually we hear that from someone’s supporters after a leader has been caught in a moral failure.
Do they really believe that? Do they really think that what’s done in secret has no bearing on someone’s fitness to lead?
As a leader, you simply cannot afford to win at work and lose at home. It’s not an option for a follower of Jesus.
Jesus once asked, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”
Maybe that’s a good question to reflect on as we start a new year. What good is it if you get promoted or close the big deal or exceed your revenue goal, and yet lose your marriage?
What good is it, really?
There’s no other relationship on earth that God compares to His relationship with us. Not parent-child. Not siblings. Not best friends. Not even best friends forever. It’s just the marriage between a man and a woman that gives the world a glimpse of God’s relationship with His people.
When I perform a wedding ceremony, I tell couples that if they will remember three words (and apply them), then I can guarantee an exciting, fulfilling, successful, joy-filled marriage.
The first word is BE
Be the right person. Don’t worry about finding the right person or trying to change your spouse into the right person. Focus on you being the right person. That means living your life in submission to Christ. In Ephesians 5:18, Paul says to “…be filled with the Spirit.” In his letter to the Romans, he said “…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice…”
The second word is RECEIVE
Receive your spouse as a gift from God. God has given you a spouse to complete you and meet your needs. He will use your spouse in the process of conforming you to the image of Christ.
To reject your spouse is to reject the gift God has given you. It says much more about you and your relationship with God than it does about your spouse. I wonder how often a leader short-circuits the work of God in his or her life by walking away from a marriage when things got tough. Could it be that persevering through the hard times produces the very growth needed to qualify a leader for a greater season of influence?
The third word is DENY
Deny yourself. In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” We can’t follow Jesus unless we put Him before ourselves. That’s true in marriage as well. Choose to put your spouse’s needs before your own. No, you probably won’t feel like it, but choose to do it anyway and watch what happens.
Try this experiment for one week: meet as many of your spouse’s needs as you can. If you’re not sure what they are, then ask or try reading “The Five Love Languages” or “His Needs, Her Needs.” And while you’re at it, try meeting some “wants” also.
To give you a jump start, here are some common needs within marriage: conversation, romance, help raising children, help around the house, respect, encouraging words, sex, financial security, honesty and affection.
Of course this is all much easier if both husband and wife commit to it, but you can’t control what your spouse decides to do. You can only control what you do. And if you’re like me, that’s hard enough.
Choose to do the right thing and let God work on your spouse.
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