God is always first, not your spouse

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." [Matthew 22:36-37]

First of all, I must start by saying that this is the hardest blog I've ever written (and I write blogs for a living).  It was hard to write, simply because it's such a controversial subject and because it's not a subject that is easily understandable.  I'm sure it also doesn't help that it's the greatest commandment that we should follow.

Also, before I am completely scolded for the title of this blog, let me first explain that I am by no means saying that you should go against your spouses concerns or requests when it comes to things you feel that God is calling you to do. I am also not saying that if you feel like God is calling you to do something, that you should just up and leave your spouse.  Big no-no.  What I am saying is that you should always be in tune to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  You should always seek His heart first.  You should always put your relationship with Christ above your marriage -- meaning: don't get caught up in the day to day activities or allow your spouse to defer you from spending personal time with your Savior.  Not only should you seek Gods will alone, but you should first and foremost seek Gods will together, with your spouse.

Lets start with a story (*deep breath*-- it's a novel, just bare with me...I have a point!):

In September 2005, I remember sitting in the middle of my bedroom one night weeping because I didn't even know where to begin.  I was ashamed of the life that I had lived for the past year or more, even things that weren't completely under my control.  And I knew that if I didn't make a change in my life right then, that I wouldn't make it.  My heart hurt, literally.  I remembered a youth conference that I had gone to and the presence of the Holy Spirit that I had felt so strongly there.  I went back to that night.  I took out a cd of some of the songs that were played at that conference during worship and I completely relived it.  I was so upset, because the thing that I wanted most in my entire life at that point was a husband...a man to hold me and who could completely wipe away every tear and hurt that I was feeling.  Granted, I was only 18.  But from the time I was 13 years old I had prayed for my future husband. I prayed that he would be a Godly man and would be revealed to me at the right time.  

About an hour into this alone time with God, I heard something.  Almost as audibly as if there were a person in the room with me I heard in my spirit "Before I can send you your husband, you must first love Me with your entire heart, mind and soul"Almost as if this scripture was stamped on my heart....as if I had it memorized, yet I had never really read it.  I instantly sat up (because at this point I was crying so hard that I was yelling into my pillow).  And I laughed.  I felt an amazing joy in my heart that I had never felt before.  I knew that God would never forsake His promise to me and that my prayers had never gone unheard.  What an amazing experience it was that night, and I think of it often.  From that point on I still had a lot of personal things to deal with, but my joy always came in the morning, knowing that I myself was on the right road and that God would lead me as long as I loved Him with my whole heart.  I'm sure you've heard the Maya Angelou quote: "A woman's heart should be so hidden in God that a man has to seek Him just to find her".  And it never meant so much more to me than it did at that time.   That quote is so true.

At this point I was technically considered an adult at 18 yrs of age.  I felt as though I should start making my own life and relationship with Christ personal and that I should listen more closely to that still small voice.  I had started leading worship for a church youth group several months before hand (I'd say May 2005 or so) near my home and I felt God drawing me away from the church that I had been attending since I was 9 years old.  Just one month (in October) after I started this new journey in Christ (loving Him with my entire heart), I met Mark.  The first night I saw him something clicked and I knew that God had brought us together, finally.  I felt trust that was real, I felt love, I felt encouragement, and I felt like I could finally relax.  Weird, I know.  But I also knew that the journey ahead wasn't going to be an easy one, and it wasn't....mentally and spiritually.  But what Mark and I went through in our relationship before we got married simply made us as strong as we are today. Several did not agree with how quickly our relationship progressed (not in a touchy feely way, but in a way that we knew we were meant for each other ... 'love at first sight').  But I still had to continue to love God with my entire heart, because I knew there was a reason for doing so and if I didn't, my life would not be what it is right now. I had made a commitment to follow what I knew was right with my own personal relationship with God, and if that meant following the road less traveled, so be it.  

Mark and I got married 5 months after we met.  We both knew it was meant to be, so why wait.  And now 5 years later we've been blessed with an adorable son (who will be 2 in August) and we're still going strong...and much stronger than we ever have been.  The first year of marriage is hard for everyone and we were still getting used to living together.  The emotional things that we went through in the beginning of our marriage were rough, but I honestly believe that if we hadn't of gone through them, we would not be nearly as strong as we are in our marriage today.  Because of the situation, we were forced to only talk to each other in the beginning when we had disagreements and challenges.  We had to talk to each other when we fought, because we didn't feel as though we could talk to family members (nor did we want to) and we didn't want to make our friends think that we didn't have a perfect marriage.  But, the prayers we prayed, the seeds we sowed in each other, and the fact that we were forced to communicate with one another in the beginning have made a big difference.  Those prayers and seeds are now growing and bearing fruit...and big fruit :).  But only in Gods timing did it finally become perfect.  I still love God with my entire heart, and I know that through out all of the struggles in our lives, I have always loved God more than I love my husband.  In fact, Mark even told me one night, about 9-12 months ago, that if I even thought I loved him more than Christ, that we needed to reevaluate our relationship.  Do you know how amazing it is to hear your spouse say that?  It's as if our relationship started growing even faster at that very point. 

That being said, it's hard to continue to love Christ with your whole heart when you get caught up in the wonder of our Savior, or in a marriage where your relationship is amazing, or even in a marriage where your relationship with Christ isn't strong.  And what about your children?  Parents, do you love your children more than you love Christ?  That's a tough one for me.

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple." [Luke 14:26]

The above verse does not mean you literally have to hate your spouse, children and family.  In 1Corinthians 7:10, we're told that a wife shouldn't separate from her husband.  And in many other scriptures (many in Matthew) through out the Bible, we're told divorce is not acceptable unless a spouse has committed adultery.  So this verse simply means that you must put everything aside at some point and concentrate only on the will of God and the plans He has for you and your life (which includes your spouse and your children).  Only then can you be His disciple....which He asks us to be!  And I truly believe there is a difference between being a disciple and just being a believer in Christ -- totally different blog for a totally different day though.  
Unfortunately, the only time I know of where your spouse would not want you to be curious about Gods will for your life would be if you are in an unequally yoked marriage (aka, married to a non-believer), which again.. is a totally different subject.  At no time should your spouse be angry or not agree with you about wanting to seek Gods heart for what His will is pertaining to your lives.  Remember, two become one once they are married, which means Gods will always involves both of you.  If your spouse feels as though God is leading them in one direction you should be open to that, but you should also pray together about it.  If you know your spouse is a believer but they don't want anything to do with seeking Gods will for your lives, then maybe it's time to lovingly start talking to them about the love of Christ and how important it is to seek Him first in all things.  If your spouse still looks at you like their crazy, maybe it's time to seek their heart and see if they truly are a believer.

If at anytime you feel God is pulling you both in 2 different directions that would cause conflict, then it's definitely time to sit down and pray together about what His true will is.  In fact, making it a routine to pray together every day helps eliminate this.  Also, surrounding yourselves with other believers (aka going to church) also helps eliminate confusion and helps you receive good advice if you both have doubts.  The devil is an amazing deceiver, especially in our weakest emotional moments or when it's something we really really want in our own will, not in Christs.  
Anyway, back on track -- bottom line is, we should always seek first the kingdom of God, and in doing so, our marriages prosper.  if your spouse disagrees with you, listen to them and their concerns.  And then, just pray about it.  Ex: for 3 years I had been praying for something in particular for my husband. Many times I got to a breaking point where I didn't feel as though God was listening.  On the other hand, there were also times when God showed me things in my own life that needed to change.  Over those 3 years I said a lot of prayers, shed a lot of tears, and thought a lot about the will of God.  But after those 3 years....it was so worth the wait.  Prayers don't always get answered right when you pray them, but as said in Romans 8:28 -- "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
And that is 100% true.  I can say that from the things I've seen come to pass in my own life.  Prayers might not get answered right away, but they do in Gods time and in Gods way.  Never forget that ALL THINGS are worked for the good of those who love Him.  You love Him, right?  With your whole heart?

Of course, my computer died while typing this blog and I had so much more to say (in a more comprehensive way)....but maybe I'll leave it at this.  Discuss if you'd like, but I hope that some of this touches your heart and makes you start thinking that there is a bigger plan for your life with your spouse.  If you haven't yet put God first and if you haven't searched His heart to find all of the amazing things He has in store for you...you're really missing out.  I didn't think my marriage could get any better.  I had a loving husband who would never do me wrong (but who had some issues) and I was a loving wife who would never treat her husband wrong (but I had issues too, and probably still do).  We have an amazing house, dog and son.  What more could I ask for?  That's what I thought.  But I was amazed when we started seeking God together, when we started reading the word, going to church and speaking about spiritual things more often.  I'm still amazed by the new closeness I feel with my husband, and the mutual understanding we have when it comes to our emotions and feelings.  Just last night I told him the things that scare me most in life....and I've never told anyone those things.  I never knew my marriage could get any better, until we put Christ first....together.

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