I was not raised with an example of a faith-founded marriage. It was something I chose for myself.
I discovered my faith at a fairly young age and my parents didn’t discourage me in my own personal faith walk. I feel blessed that God chose to put it on my heart to trust in Him in finding a spouse and building my marriage on a foundation of faith from such a young age. I guarded my heart, I prayed for a God-chosen spouse, and I waited patiently.
Wildland Man was my first real serious relationship and we both made a commitment in our dating days to see to it that our relationship would last the long haul. Our marriage was the beginning of the rest of our lives together.
That hit me hard. The rest of our lives…there would be ups and downs, there would be times I would want to walk away, and there would be times I would feel like I couldn’t breathe with just the thought of my husband not being in my life. There was only one way to make this thing work for forever, and that was to not rely on ourselves.
A Faith-Founded Marriage
Early on, Wildland Man and I chose to found our marriage on faith and to make daily intentional efforts in our relationship. I’ll share some specifics on just how we do that in my next post titled, “5 Ways to Be Intentional in Your Marriage Today.” We even chose to start our marriage with a founding principle from the Bible. One that could define how we hoped we would always treat one another. One that would be a reminder of what we were signing up for. Our Bible verse for our marriage is Colossians 3:12-14:
So, how do you found your relationship on faith? What does that look like? Well, for us it looks like this:
- Go to church together. We like to discuss the sermon afterwards and find ways to apply the message to our daily lives and relationship.
- Discuss personal faith. We have made communication an important aspect in our relationship from the get go. We shared what we were looking for in a Christian spouse before we were ever engaged. In making a point to have those deep conversations, we were able to see if we were the right fit for one another; if we could fulfill what the other was looking for in a future spouse, faults and all.
- Check out Christian marriage resources. When we got engaged I kind of went crazy with the Christian marriage resources. Granted, I didn’t have a lot of that information at hand and I wanted to do right by my marriage, so that’s where I started. There are several books and resources out there if you are interested. I’ll share some of my favorites in an upcoming post, “The Country Wife Recommends…Christian Marriage Resources,” if you want to check them out.
- Seek out mentors in faith and marriage. When Wildland Man and I got engaged, I found a Weekend to Remember conference nearby and we attended all the special breakout sessions for engaged couples. Now, a conference isn’t really Wildland Man’s favorite thing, but he went with me because he knew how important it was to me to start our marriage off on the right foot. We also sought counsel from loved ones, our pastor, and friends that we felt were honest examples of what a faith-filled marriage should look like.
- Read the Bible together. Never stop reading the Bible together. We still read the Bible most nights at the dinner table together. We read short excerpts and then discuss the life applications we both get from the reading. It is always interesting to see how different our takes on the reading can be.
- A couple that prays together, stays together. I remember hoping that I could find a man who would be willing to pray out loud with me. And I’m not just talking about saying grace before a meal. But a man that will hold your hand and pray when you both are feeling lost; a man who will pray on your behalf, both for you and with you; a man that will pray for the Lord to lead his heart so that he can better lead you.
This very simple diagram perfectly illustrates what a faith-founded marriage should look like.
As we both grow in our personal faith and relationship with God, the two of us as a couple grow closer and closer together. A faith-founded marriage isn’t just about the two of us seeking the Lord together, it really starts with each of us seeking the Lord independently.
A marriage founded on the rock of faith will not crumble and fall. For this reason, we choose to build our relationship on a solid foundation of faith.
Creating Intentionality in Marriage
Intentionality is defined as something that is “done by intention or design” (www.merriam-webster.com). So to be intentional in marriage is to design our marriage with purpose, to deliberately put an effort towards improving our marriage on a regular basis.
It is just so easy to let the days go by and not make an effort in the relationship that probably impacts us the most in our life. It is for this reason that I challenge myself to make a daily effort, sometimes an incredibly tiny effort and other times a little more pronounced, in my marriage.
For example, I really try my best to walk my husband out to his truck before he leaves for work every day and send him off with a kiss. I’ve also set my phone alarm to go off 15 minutes before he is due home so that I can make a point to close out what I’m doing and greet him at the door when he arrives. These two simple tasks speak volumes to my husband. They show him that he is a priority to me. That he is worth my time.
I make a point to say a specific prayer just for my husband during my morning quiet time. I think of things that have been on his mind, goals he is working to attain, and areas that he has been praying for himself. I work really hard to choose forgiveness. This one can be a tough one for me, I tend to hang on to past hurts…but in honor of our marriage and relationship, I do truly work to let go of those hurts and love my husband unconditionally.
Finally, I focus my days around three priorities that I have determined are most important to me in this life, in this season. You can read more about how choosing priorities can allow you to live simpler and more intentionally in my post titled, “Learning to Live Simply.” My personal priorities are currently: Faith, Health, and Home. I see my marriage as integrated into all three of these priorities. In reading the Bible together, praying for my husband, and attending church I am strengthening my marriage while keeping faith as a top priority in my life. In taking care of my own personal health, I am being a better wife to my husband with more energy, a positive outlook, and more confidence. By working to take care of our home and prepare meals, I’m providing a sanctuary for our marriage to flourish. By choosing to live my life according to these three priorities, I find that I am also choosing to live a life that is focused on our marriage.
Choosing an intentional marriage can look incredibly different for each individual couple, but it is in the choosing that we push ourselves to find ways to personally make the effort in our marriage on a daily basis. Be it a small act of kindness or a uniquely special effort on a “just because” kind of day, these intentional efforts add up to an extraordinarily fulfilling marriage.
I don’t know where you are at in your marriage. I’m not sure if you feel like you are ready to implement daily efforts for your spouse. But I do know this…you chose marriage. And God designed marriage. So start by building that faith foundation if you have to, even if only one stone at a time. Start small, but at least start.
By building a faith foundation under your relationship, it is my prayer that you will instill hope for the future and rekindle the love that brought you together in the first place.
And once that faith foundation is in place, then you can begin to brainstorm ways that you can make a daily intentional effort. For more on this topic, check out my post “5 Ways to be Intentional in Your Marriage Today.”
Be Still & Know…