Following Christ is the most important decision you’ll ever make in life. The next most important decision is choosing to be with someone who shares your faith, and will support you in your spiritual growth. While most people think of marriage as a union between man and wife, there is also a third force in your marriage. God. When it comes to your marriage, both husband and wife should be more in love with God than they are with each other.
Too often we place our love, or desire in our spouse before God. We think the key to our marriage is loving our spouse better, or them loving us better. But Jesus tells us that the first and greatest commandment is that we love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. (Mark 12:29-30). This means we should desire God more than we desire anything else. When we love God first, we see love differently, and can love our spouse in extraordinary ways. When we decide to make our relationship with God first in our lives, everything else will naturally fall into the right order. Our relationship with God should be a top priority.
In an op-ed published for Relevant Magazine, Debra K. Fileta, a Licensed Professional Counselor specializing in Relationship and Marital Issues shared the importance of marrying someone who loves God more than they love you, and why individual relationships with God must trump our other relationships.
In the beginning, she talks about her own marriage. “My husband John loves God even more than he loves me. And I love God even more than I love my husband. It’s always been that way. And my prayer is that it always will be,” Fileta said. “Our individual relationships with God trump our relationship with one another. And in my sincere opinion, that is the very truth that keeps our marriage alive, strong and complete.”
Fileta goes on to talk about the importance of both parties having a relationship with God, which becomes the anchor for their love with another.
Our relationship with God is the supernatural relationship that pours into us so we can pour into each other,” Fileta said. “As Christians, we believe that when we enter a relationship with God, we’re filled with His Spirit. It’s that Spirit that breeds into us the qualities we need for a healthy life, and in turn, a healthy marriage. According to the bible, the qualities of God’s spirit being poured out in a person’s life are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control. As a professional counselor, I can tell you that those are the exact qualities you need to have a thriving relationship.”
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control are the nine attributes of a Christian life according to the Apostle Paul. (Galations 5:22-23). We truly are given a model from God on how to love other’s better through God’s Word.
Because of Fileta’s individual relationships with God, she and her husband are able to love each other the way they should, and can experience complete love.
When we love God first, our relationship with our spouse will transform. This should come as no surprise given God’s tremendous love for us through the death of His only Son, and the fact that God loved us first. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16. There are countless examples throughout the Bible that speak of God’s unconditional love for us. Look at Jeremiah 31:3, where the Lord appeared saying “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Or John 15:19, “As the Father has loved Me [Jesus] so have I loved you,” and Isaiah 43:4-5, “Since [you are] precious in my sight…and I have loved thee…Fear not: for I am with [you].” What greater foundation can you have with your spouse than one that is laid by the presence of God’s unconditional love? The love in too many marriages is conditional. The love is good until we no longer “feel” love, which is in strong contrast to the love we experience with our Heavenly Father. No matter what happens, God will always love us, and will never leave or forsake us.
If your spouse loves God more than he loves you, that’s a good thing. If you love God more than you love your spouse, that’s a good thing. This love with God doesn’t take away from the love we share for each other. It improves it. Loving God more is simply a foundation for a stronger walk with your spouse in your marriage.