The “secret” to a truly sacred marriage is proclaimed rather loudly in the book of Acts: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” (Acts 1:8)
This isn’t a Pentecostal truth or even a charismatic truth. It is a Christian truth: we all need the empowering work of the Holy Spirit. “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit…” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13)
Since marriage is one of the most profound acts of worship any two believers could ever share, it is impossible to be married in a sacred manner without the Holy Spirit being active in our lives, helping us to understand what it means to love, giving us the power to love, convicting us when we fail to love, renewing our hearts when we grow weary in love, and pouring out hope when we grow discouraged in love.
Many of you are so frustrated because you keep asking something of your spouse and rarely get it:
“Listen to me more. Talk to me more. Help out more. Have sex with me more often. Notice me more….”
When is the last time you’ve asked something of God’s Holy Spirit? “Help me to love more. Help me to listen more. Renew my heart. Give me strength. Help me forgive…”
You’ll have far more success and satisfaction in your marriage if you start asking more of God and less of your spouse.
Pray for the Holy Spirit. Ask God to fill you, enlighten you, empower you, direct you, renew you.
He loves it when we pray that prayer, and He promises to answer that prayer in dramatic fashion: “I will pour out my Spirit.” (Acts 2:18) Notice, not “drop by drop.” God says He will pour our His Spirit.
It is the way of God with His people that He will often let us continue to fail and continue to be frustrated, until we learn to depend on Him.
We can keep trying to draw from an empty well by asking a stubborn or unfeeling spouse to meet our needs, or we can ask the God who promises to “pour out” His Spirit on all who seek and ask Him for what they need.
Which do you think is the best use of our energy and effort?
[photo: Creative Commons, Jeroen]