The Workout Your Marriage Needs

When you’re discouraged in your marriage, you might be tempted to think that you need to:

a)  Make dating a priority
b)  Jazz up your sex life
c)  Improve communication
d)  Go to a counselor . . .

. . . in order to get you and your spouse encouraged and your marriage back on track.

Workout Marriage

I agree that those are all good and necessary elements needed to get to a healthy and thriving marriage, but they are not what will have a lasting and profound impact on you in your discouraged marriage.

One of the most important ways to “persevere in marriage” and rediscover your joy in a discouraging season is to . . .

“Work out your salvation.”

<insert sound of a record player’s needle scratching vinyl>  Say what?

If you’re too young to know what that sounds like click here. 😉

If you know anything about working out with a regular exercise regimen, you know how much it benefits your body. You feel stronger, gain greater stamina, stay closer to your optimum weight, and feel better overall, all because of that “workout” that you’re committed to daily/weekly.

It’s the same way with our hearts and spiritual lives, but with the added bonus of giving us the joy and hope we need in desperate and discouraging situations like messy marriages.

Consider Paul’s words . . .

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” ~Philippians 2:12-13

God has a good purpose for you and your marriage and you canNOT fulfill that or feel fulfilled in your marriage without this commitment to “working out your salvation.”

What does that involve?

1. A priority to meeting with God daily.
That can be anything from a brief time of daily prayer and as often as possible reading the Scriptures, to spending a good chunk of time in prayer and Bible study on a daily or regular basis. Most of you are extremely busy with young families that crowd out that sacred space. But just as you find time for eating, showering, attending to your kids desires and needs, you also need to make time for your God. You desperately need God’s love to fill up your heart every single day or your attitude in marriage will sour—and I mean fast!

2. Connecting with other believers.
If you are a believer, you really, REALLY need other believers to help support, encourage, pray for and guide you. The Christian faith is never a solo venture. Here are just a few Bible verses that make this need very, VERY clear: 1 Thes. 5:11, Acts 2:42, Heb. 10:24-25, Col. 3:16.

3. Living out what you learn from God’s word.
Oh my! This is really where the rubber meets the road and will drastically impact the way you feel in your marriage situation. I’ll be sharing more about what this looks like in some of the follow up posts for this series—including next week’s post on “the one unique thing gratitude can do for your marriage,” so I hope you’ll stay tuned!

If you’d like to read the previous posts in this “Persevere in the Lord” (so that you can persevere in your marriage) series, click here.

How has your attitude in marriage been improved by “working out your salvation”?

 

What is one specific way to “work out your salvation” that you’ve found especially valuable?

 

One clarification, we do not work out our salvation in an effort to gain salvation. See Eph. 2:8-9


Linking up with these fine blogs –  Making Your Home Sing, Moments of Hope, Mondays @ Soul Survival, Faith ‘n Friends, Word of God Speak, Spiritual Sundays, Sitting Among Friends, Grace and Truth, Family, Friendship and Faith, and DanceWithJesusFriday

 

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  • RL

    “Truer words were never spoken”, this post is on point, I have been in a difficult marriage for 43 years and found these truths out the hard way…by trial and error. When we work out our own salvation, the way we experience marriage improves dramatically.

    • Wow, RL! I’m so glad you joined the conversation to be that living testimony for this important truth. I too am here to say that’s what has gotten me and my hubby through the multitude of gut-wrenching moments between two sinners colliding over selfish desires. 😉 I did not marry my “soulmate,” but I do have the Lover of my Soul to turn to when I or my mate act “un-lovely.” Thanks for your encouraging words, my friend!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Great post, Beth! And you’re absolutely right that this workout is completely necessary.

    It’s also needed for marriages that aren’t doing so great; because it’s through ‘cracks’ like these that Satan can slip in and destroy – with our too-often-willing help – what God had intended to survive, and thrive.

    https://blessed-are-the-pure-of-heart.blogspot.com/2016/07/your-dying-spouse-178-something-big-fmf.html

    • Thanks, Andrew. It’s especially true for those who struggle, though it may be the last thing people want to hear or try. And yes, those “cracks” are where Satan slips in and tries to destroy. Ironically, it’s through those cracks that God can enter in as well and pour His grace and mercy to heal the divide. Thanks for adding to the conversation, my friend. I hope you are having a restful and less-painful day.

  • Good stuff, friend. If we don’t plug into the source of our strength, we’re left to do this all on our own … and what a disaster that often proves to be. Thanks for the re-direction, the reminder.

    • Thank you, Linda. I sure don’t want to rely on all that is within me alone. God working in me helps to bridge the divide between me and my husband as well as between me and my own ailing heart. He is quite the multi-tasking God! 😉 Love ya!

  • Working out my salvation looks like:
    time in the Word
    saying no to myself and yes to the Spirit
    saying yes to myself and no to the voice of condemnation
    making the most of little moments when I can give voice to the contents of my heart in the presence of God.

  • Beth, looks like we were thinking the same things this week! I am talking about “working out” on my blog too. Love how you’ve broken it down here! Focusing on “me” has made all the difference. Nothing changes a heart like that daily encounter with Jesus. Can’t gaze too long on him and come out thinking “my husband needs to change first” It has helped me see where i need to change, which has been a huge blessing to our marriage.

  • Excellent advice, Beth! (And I can hear that scratching sound in my head, ha.) Working out our heart for God is the best way to improve all our relationships.

  • Mary

    Working out always provides a focus and clarity for me. When this is applied to marriage, I understand how the same thing can happen. Your three commitments to working out your salvation can be applied to every part of our lives. Thank you for giving us tools to apply in our own lives. Blessings!

  • Dear Beth

    I like your three points. Another thing about “working out” is that you have to do it regularly, and frequently, otherwise you can do more damage than good. I try and get myself into “the right mood” as early as possible every day — a little “good morning” prayer, reading some scripture, taking my wife some tea in bed — and I try and hold that or come back to it during the day. Doesn’t always work of course, and I don’t always even “touch base” like that.

    I can be too much like Martha — rushing around with dishes, ironing, cooking, trying to make money, … — and giving my wife and son the bad mood that puts me in. I should be more like Mary and think of what I am doing as sitting at the feet of the Lord. When I am, that’s much more effective in promoting a happy home.

    Another thing that’s important in working out is paying attention to what’s good for you, and not being tempted by glittery distractions. Forgo that “little treat”, even though it seems harmless. I am doing quite well with the obvious temptations, less well here. Trick is to find “healthy nutritious treats”.

    David

  • These are 3 great points, Beth! It is amazing how God changes our hearts when we spend time with Him…so good for marriage!
    Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth!

  • So true, Beth! The more I work on my salvation, the better wife I have become! Often it’s so much easier to keep looking at our partner’s shortcomings and think about how we can fix them. But if we both got to the business of working on our salvation, we’d really make significant strides! Thanks for sharing your hope for healthy marriages, Beth! I love seeing your posts back at #MomentsofHope each week!