Building a God-Honoring Marriage

God has given us the Sacrament of Marriage because he loves us, and he wants to express that love in tangible, physical ways. People choose to marry because they yearn for a life-long, thriving relationship. No one plans to become a broken family or a miserable couple. But how can we as married Christian people become more intentional about building a God-honoring marriage?

PRIORITY ONE

Discover God’s Design for Marriage

We must understand that every marriage is intended to be a masterpiece reflecting the marriage between Christ and His Church. Marriage is the most frequent metaphor used in the Bible to describe God’s relationship with His people. In fact, writing to the Ephesians, Paul called marriage a “profound mystery” because the man represents Christ, the groom, while the woman represents His bride, the Church. The marital union of husband and wife is a sacred reflection of the Gospel itself. In marriage, God manifests His love for us through a real, physical person.

PRIORITY TWO

Understand Your Marriage Is a Sacrament

When a man and woman recite vows to each other before God and witnesses, they are freely entering into a covenant relationship. Like God’s covenant with His people, the marriage covenant is a commitment “till death do us part.” Marriage is so highly valued by God that it has the elevated dignity of being a sacrament. A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. The outward sign of marriage is sex, when two become one. And the inward grace that we receive is the sanctification of our love. Through the Sacrament of Marriage, we are given the grace of having our love elevated from the merely human level to the supernatural one. With every act of love toward your spouse, you witness to the love of God for him or her. You witness to their value as a human being created in His image, and to their infinite worth as a creation of God.

PRIORITY THREE

Pursue a Passionate Marriage

Sex is an important part of the marriage relationship. In the right context sex is both unitive—meaning it bonds the husband and wife to each other (Mt 19:5–6), and procreative—meaning it has the potential to bring new life into the world (Gn 1:27–28). Couples aren’t supposed to just stick it out and find a way to make their marriages survive. God calls us to pursue a passionate, thriving marriage. The Song of Solomon expresses the kind of love, joy, and celebration God designed for marriage. That passion is built on much more than infatuation and sexual desire. It is rooted in the physical, emotional, and spiritual intimacy God created couples to experience as a foretaste of the eternal unity, communion, and intimacy we will have with God.

PRIORITY FOUR

Become Heroic in Marriage

Writing to the Ephesians, Paul connected Christ’s sacrifice directly to marriage: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25), and “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands” (Ephesians 5:24). In other words, mutual submission to one another requires giving up our own interests to heroically serve the other person. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice to rescue humanity, giving up His very life. We are called to do the same for our spouse.

PRIORITY FIVE

Fight for Your Marriage

No marriage is perfect on this side of heaven. Every couple will have peaceful seasons and difficult seasons. Too often, however, couples choose to give up. Throughout Scripture, God fights for His relationship with His people, remaining faithful in the face of unfaithfulness. He forgives again and again. No couple can avoid strife and arguments, but we can avoid “giving the devil a foothold” in our marriages. We do this through forgiveness. Large and small, we must not hang on to resentments in our hearts. We must not keep score, but instead let love cover a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

Prayer

Prayers from the Wedding Liturgy

Eternal God, creator and preserver of all life, author of salvation, and giver of all grace: Look with favor upon the world you have made, and for which your Son gave his life, and especially upon this man and this woman whom you make one flesh in Holy Matrimony. Amen.

Give them wisdom and devotion in the ordering of their common life, that each may be to the other a strength in need, a counselor in perplexity, a comfort in sorrow, and a companion in joy. Amen.

Grant that their wills may be so knit together in your will, and their spirits in your Spirit, that they may grow in love and peace with you and one another all the days of their life. Amen.

Give them grace, when they hurt each other, to recognize and acknowledge their fault, and to seek each other’s forgiveness and yours. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 429

Going Further

Resources

  • For Better…Forever! A Catholic Guide to a Lifelong Marriage By Gregory Popcak
    Every couple wants to live happily ever after, but few know what it takes.
  • It Starts at Home By Kurt Bruner and Steve Stroope
    This book explains why marriage is a key path of our spiritual formation and provides practical advice for couples from an evangelical perspective.
  • The Meaning of Marriage By Timothy Keller
    This is a great resource for learning about the biblical foundation of the institution of marriage from a celebrated author and pastor.
  • Sex and the Marriage Covenant By John F. Kippley
    This is a guide to understanding the relationship of sex to a covenant marriage.
  • SusanVogt.net
    Provides excellent inspirational information for couples and families.
  • Sheet Music By Dr. Kevin Leman
    This is a practical guide to sex from an evangelical perspective.
  • The Book of Common Prayer
    The BCP contains all of our services, prayers, and many resources for private devotions. It can be purchased on Amazon or at the Incarnation Bookstore. bcponline.org

Church Support

  • Get Connected.
    Join with other married couples from our church who are meeting together to study and connect and pray. Go to the Growth Groups web page for more information.
  • Get Involved.
    Use your gifts! Take our Spiritual Gifts Assessment to discern ways to get plugged into the life of Incarnation.
  • Serve the Poor Together.
    Go to our local outreach page to find out how your gifts can change lives.
  • Want to talk with a priest?
    Any of the priests on staff at Incarnation are happy to meet with you for direction, counsel, or simply just to talk. Email a priest to set up a meeting. Or call the parish office at 214-521-5101.
Categories: Bringing Faith Home