And now to him who can keep you on your feet, standing tall in his bright presence, fresh and celebrating—to our one God, our only Savior, through Jesus Christ, our Master, be glory, majesty, strength, and rule before all time, and now, and to the end of all time. Yes. Jude 24-25 The Message
One thing I've noticed in our marriage of nearly 25 years is the need for strength. This is a need that isn't much talked about, but nonetheless, it is a core need in marriage. Monique and I have offered each other strength at various times in our marriage, when one of us has felt down and out. It would have been easy to shrink into self in these times and hope the other person snaps out of their funk.
Author Tim Kimmel poses this question in his book, Grace-filled Marriage; "if love is the commitment of your will to your spouses needs and best interests regardless of the cost, how is enabling your spouse to stay intimidated, weak, or fearful, in their best interest?"
Fear keeps us from enjoying our relationship with God and with our spouse. When one person in marriage is struggling in their doubt and disillusion, there is a great opportunity for the other spouse to draw on the inner strength that comes from confidence in God and His promises. Romans 8:28.
I love this reality presented by Kimmel in the book;
Grace-filled couples don't deny the reality of clear and present dangers that surround them. They realize that God gave them brains that he expects them to use when negotiating the rocks and shoals of life. And just because we're processing life through a filter of confidence in God doesn't mean we don't get pangs of fear about real dangers or sadness over setbacks. It just means these don't dictate our "What next?' scenarios.
We enter into the "What next?" scenarios by encouraging one another in the giftings God has graciously given us. We walk alongside gently reminding and building up our spouse. Our spouse needs to know that we believe they can do the things God calls them to do. Hope and strength build when our spouse acts from our encouragement and risks the adventure, trusting in their God given authority and His power.
With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. 1 Corinthians 15:58 The Message
Vic and Monique
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