By Barney Armstrong, MA, LMHCA, Bellevue Christian Counseling
Most would recognize that faith is probably a good thing to have. What are its advantages in the dynamics of a relationship, especially in marriage – or to put it succinctly—what’s the advantage to you if your mate has faith? How do things work out better in the practical things of everyday domestic life?
‘Faith’ is the same word in the Greek New Testament as ‘belief.’ That is, if your spouse has faith that means there are things that he/she believes. If your mate accepts as correct that they have a wonderous eternal destiny, that you are each essential members of the Body of Christ, that all of their failures (and yours) are thoroughly paid for, that life and joy and peace of a heavenly nature should be their often experience and ascribes to a whole host of other correct theological views, that’s not yet the idea of believing. All of the above (and more) take on a whole other relational dynamic toward you if your spouse has ‘belief’ more like (pardon the crude example) of someone recommending WD-40, the very best detergent, or Windex by saying, “I really believe in this stuff!” That means that they are sold on it because it works, and so … they USE it.
So… what’s it like in a conflict, an argument, a selfish tussle over a thing, or an insult when your mate has genuine vision and they use it? That he/she is mindful of more important things, is familiar with eternal things that are enduring, and the fleeting nature of what we so often wrestle over? Connecting with you becomes more important than the thing. They have a surplus of self-value and treasures that eclipse the immediate event.
What kind of purpose comes into your times together if he/she believes (uses) that your marriage has a visible purpose of growth, intimacy, and personal redemption that God is actively urging you both toward? Just having fun together and being playful become genuinely important.
It’s much easier to self-confront if you start from the place that you are forgiven — anything you encounter for which you are culpable, is a genuine discovery because you are looking for anything you can be forgiven for. Arguments, or your mate’s sometimes poorly worded or even tactless “advice” can be an alert to a new area that you can find new freedom in. If your mate looks at your relationship with faith then they are aware that there is something Providential about you toward them. That you each play a role in the other’s ongoing process of redemption becomes part of your domestic culture.
Everything takes on a higher purpose; the hardest situations become hopeful, with good reasons and energy to pursue not just resolution but new ground together.
Faith engenders very healthy relational dynamics – it’s supposed to; it’s a natural ingredient and relationships become very dead and selfish without it. A Christian counselor can guide your efforts, can help you see where features of your marriage are alerting you to use your faith in your relationship with your spouse.
Images cc: freedigitalphotos.net – Doves by Paul Brentnall and couple reading book by David Castillo Dominici