Marriage is hard. There’s no way around it. Stress is a major contributor to broken relationships, so it’s important to find ways to address the stressors in your marriage as quickly as possible. When it comes to my marriage, building a Christ-centered marriage is my biggest goal. It’s a high calling, but to me, it addresses some of the biggest issues we face as couples.
What Makes a Christ-Centered Marriage Different?
Christ-centered marriages are built around what Jesus both said and did during His time on earth—how He modeled relationship, how He achieved mission, how He cast vision. We can easily focus on any one of these three components in our marriages while neglecting the others. The problem is that if we don’t work on all as a unified idea, we are creating weak points in our relationships.
Jesus’s Disciples Were More Than Employees
When Jesus built up His following, He was looking for relationships, not just bodies to create growth in the movement. Each person He encountered was seen as a unique, important, and valuable part of the Kingdom of Heaven. Yes, the ultimate call was to “go and make disciples of all nations.” But Jesus was incredibly intentional about creating a personal relationship with the people around Him.
Our marriages often fall into rhythms of employment and service rather than relationships of mutual support and growth. We look to achieve goals, knock out lists, and keep the home running efficiently. We have unique jobs and responsibilities, but they aren’t our identities. If we want a Christ-centered marriage, we have to cultivate our mutual identity as a couple, as well as our value for each other in terms of spiritual, emotional, and physical partners in marriage.
Jesus’s Disciples Weren’t Just Friends
While He clearly built meaningful personal relationships with His disciples, Jesus never lost sight of the purpose of His mission on earth either. His disciples knew why they were created. They knew what their purpose was. And they knew how to live out that purpose with Christ as the model.
When we build our relationships, do we know these same things? If not, we’re little more than roommates or friends living together. It’s time to start building each other up towards the purpose we were meant to fulfill: creating families that grow God’s Kingdom.
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When we share this purpose, we can start seeing growth. Growth for us, growth for our families, growth for our communities. It’s a powerful transformation, and it’s necessary for our existence!
We Share Vision.
When we talk about life, we know where we are centered. Even when we disagree, even when we’re angry, we know that Christ is the center of our choices. We see a future together because we choose a future together.
We Build Purpose.
Our choices are made with our marriage, and our family, in mind. We connect with people that pour into our relationship, and we make sure church, serving, and faith is a priority in all we do, every single day.
We Prioritize Each Other.
It gets harder and harder with a big family to find time together, but we still make it a priority to rest, to have fun together, and to dream together. Without that time, we lose track of who we are to each other.
How Do I Build a Christ-Centered Marriage?
So how do we make our marriages stronger and live out our purpose in Christ? How do we build our vision? How do we build our purpose? What’s one step we can take to prioritize each other and make our marriage stronger today?
Here’s a closer look at the three pillars of a Christ-centered marriage.
1. A Christ-Centered Marriage Shares Vision
If you want Christ to be at the center of your marriage, you need to talk about Christ consistently. Seeing God’s plan for you in His Word is crucial. My wife and I constantly talk about our faith with each other. We have questions, doubts, concerns, and confusion in our daily lives. Our reliance on scripture helps us navigate these issues and come out stronger.
This sets our vision together in the same place: fulfilling God’s command to love Him and love each other, to build up the poor and vulnerable, and to bring others into a place of love and kindness only found in the hope of Jesus Christ. Everything else—all our dreams, hopes, ambitions, and aspirations—fall into that single vision.
2. A Christ-Centered Marriage Builds Purpose
With a vision set on Christ, we intentionally design our daily schedules and choices around the purpose God has for our marriage and our lives. We choose Sunday church services over other activities. Small group participation is an important part of our weekly routine, so we make sure we don’t schedule something over it. Our oldest is in youth group, but we aren’t pushing a bunch of activities for him or any of our other kids to make sure the most important things are first.
If you want a Christ-centered marriage, God has to be first—but not only first. He has to be at the center of everything you do, choose, and believe. Because we’re keeping our friendships, marriage, family, and schedules centered on God, we consistently find our purpose in Him through everything we do. That’s a huge change, possibly the biggest and most important one you can make in your relationship.
3. A Christ-Centered Marriage Prioritizes Each Other
When you first met, you probably went out on dates together. But did you stop once you got married? If that’s the case, it’s time to go back to where you started. Start dating your spouse again! Intimate time together, time communicating without distraction, is a crucial part of building a relationship. It doesn’t have to be crazy vacations or expensive restaurants. As long as you’re getting out of your typical routine and spending time dreaming, talking, and laughing together, you’re doing it right.
If you’re struggling to get out—either because of budget or because of childcare—keep the romance alive at home by making a movie night in part of your routine. Maybe some (not so competitive) card or board games would be an option. Even just finding quiet time to sit and read or watch a good show together makes a difference in your stress levels.
Personal connection is so important, but if we don’t prioritize each other and instead spend all your energy on family, activities, and work, we lose the vision and purpose that brings us closest.
A Resource to Get Your Marriage Centered
Now that we’ve explored these big ideas, how will you start living them in your life? What can you do today? Tomorrow? Here’s an easy and inexpensive investment: Find a devotional you can work through with your spouse. With strong leading questions, a foundation in scripture, and a vision towards living out Christ’s call in our lives, my devotional Faith and Action: Living Out Christ in Your Marriage Through the Lens of James, you can work together to better understand what God designed marriage to look like.
Not only will you and your spouse be able to dig deep into scripture, including its context and application, but you can also use these short and easy-to-apply devotionals and reflections to start meaningful conversations with other couples that will transform your lives. Best of all, you can start right now with an instant digital download of the book!
Let’s Improve Our Families and Marriages
With Faith and Action: Living Out Christ in Your Marriage Through the Lens of James, you can start building your marriages on a firm foundation of abundance, kindness, compassion, and steadfast love. With 14 short devotionals, along with prayers, discussion prompts, and historical introductions to the themes, you and your spouse can build Bible literacy and start living more like Jesus from the first page.
Click the button below and start building your marriage and family on scripture instead of feelings.