This post on Sacred Marriage: Becoming Aware of God’s Presence was written by Jeffrey Chen, who is pursuing a Masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Theological Seminary. Jeffrey has a passion for sharing God’s love with those around him. He blogs at The Wayvy Life.
Hi everybody! We are continuing our series on “Sacred Marriage” by Gary Thomas. This week, we will be discussing Chapter 13 called “Sacred Presence: How Marriage Can Make Us More Aware of God’s Presence”. I know that when I am aware of God’s presence in my life, I feel great. I feel peaceful, cared for, loved, and unworried about the trials of life. However, I often get caught up in the chaos of all the daily activities and responsibilities and quickly lose my awareness of God’s presence. I forget He is here at all and that leaves me in a place of stress and anxiety.
I am sure many of you can resonate with that. While there are many different ways we can practice experiencing the presence of God more often, Thomas hopes to help us see how we can become more aware of God’s presence through our relationships with our spouses. This is likely not the context we immediately think of when we seek to be with God, as we often look towards solitude or church, but Thomas makes a case for several ways to widen our perspective when it comes to our marriages or relationships.
First, he talks about how marriage forces us to communicate with our spouse, and that this can have a tremendous spiritual benefit. Given the power words can have, in either building somebody up or bringing them down, learning to communicate with your spouse in a loving way is vital. As such, it requires that we learn to think outside of our own perspective, and consider how we can speak or listen to our spouse in a way that will make them feel cared for and valued. In turn, we grow in virtues of “listening, patience, humility, service, and faithful love,” which are the same virtues we need to also love God and feel His love for us.
Next, the reality is that our spouse will never fully satisfy all of our needs, whatever they may be. We are not perfect, they are not perfect, and your marriage is not perfect, no matter how wonderful both of you may be. There will be an ache in your soul that simply cannot be healed by another human being, even your blessed spouse. As such, marriage can help us see that we are still in need of God and His love, as only He can truly fulfill all of our heart’s desires completely at the end of the day.
However, this is not to dismiss the beautiful and amazing creation you have in your life in the form of your spouse. They are still a being made in the image of God, who can surely show you ways in which you can become more like Christ. Often, we like to point out ways in which we wish our spouse was more like us, whether it be our honesty, patience, sensitivity, or boldness among numerous other traits. Yet, instead of highlighting your strengths that your spouse may lack at times, Thomas encourages us to open our eyes to the qualities our spouse exemplifies that we fall short in. Try to ask yourself, “How can your spouse’s differences teach you to become more like Christ?” We must humble ourselves and understand there are many lessons we can learn from our spouse about how we can more closely resemble the character of God in his many different ways.
Finally, marriage can push us to create in the way God calls us to. It can lead us to create a family or simply a life with another person. But, this does not happen on its own. It takes relentless and resilient effort to pour into your spouse, your kids, your job, your future. This is one of the best ways we can worship God – by putting our heart and souls into good things that will glorify Him, such as children who seek to live for God or a business that is honorable to God. It is hard work, but it is meaningful if it pushes you and others closer to God.
These are just a few ways Thomas believes marriage can help us become more aware of God’s presence in a purposeful manner. I hope you can persevere and see how God is doing amazing things in your marriage or relationships with others, and engage in them thoughtfully and meaningfully. As always, please feel free to reach out to me for feedback, questions, suggestions on topics, or anything else. I’m happy to chat about anything and everything. I hope you can take away something helpful from this post. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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