Reading the Gauge
The primary work for us to do to achieve unity in our marriages is the work of preservation, or perhaps in more modern terminology, the work of conservation. The work of conservation is concerned with protecting the environment from threats that would erode the natural habitat. To do this work well, we need to activate our spiritual monitoring system to give us a good read on our marriage atmosphere. How do we read this gauge of the unity of the Spirit?
In Ephesians 4:2, Paul listed the primary indicators of this unity: humility, gentleness, patience, and tolerance in love. If you want to see how well you are cultivating a spirit of unity in your marriage, take a look at how these four virtues are functioning in your marital relationship. Here are some key diagnostic questions to ask:
Are you willing in the interest of unity to submit your desires, no matter how good, to God’s purpose in your marriage? Are you willing to serve your mate, looking out for his or her interests above your own (see Philippians 2:3–4)?
Are you argumentative with your mate? Do you find yourself responding with anger when your agenda is challenged? What is your first, unfiltered response when your mate wrongs you?
Are you willing to wait on God’s work through His Spirit in the life of your mate? Do you find yourself impatient with the slowness of change in your mate’s life? Can you wait on the Spirit and the discernment of your marriage partner before making a change or starting a new interest?
- Tolerance in love
Do you insist on things being done your way? Can you allow for the diversity of ways and means that the Spirit works through other people? Do you work well when your mate’s preferences conflict with your own?
I’d like to propose to you that each of these indicators point toward one primary threat to unity. Each of the four indicators reflects a life that is willing to submit to the reality of God’s work through His Spirit. Do we as individuals and as couples working together possess the humility, gentleness, patience, and love to submit our wills and agendas to God’s agenda?
This excerpt was taken from Kingdom Marriage: Connecting God’s Purpose with Your Pleasure by Tony Evans.