Friday, 22 October 2010

How Is Your Vertical Relationship?

When you see an athlete who excels in his/her field you can be fairly certain that they have mastered the fundamentals. While in training basketball players shoot hundreds of foul shots, focusing on their release and the rotation of the ball. Golfers hit hundreds of balls, making sure their grip and alignment are correct. Football players and coaches watch game films to see if they can detect a flaw in execution.

What would be some fundamentals that must be in place if we are to do marriage well? I think one of the most profound insights I’ve read with regard to marriage comes from Paul Tripp in his book What Did You Expect? He said, “I have become more and more persuaded that marriages are fixed vertically before they are ever fixed horizontally. We have to deal with what is driving us before we ever deal with how we are reacting to one another. Every relationship is victimized in some way when we seek to get from the surrounding creation what we were designed to get from God. When God is in his rightful place, then we are on the way to putting people in their rightful place.”

Thus a key fundamental to having a strong marriage is to have a strong relationship with God. Paul goes on to say that it is only when we look at our husband/wife and see the glory of God’s creative artistry that we will treat them with the dignity and respect that a healthy marriage requires. In addition it is crucial that we worship God as sovereign and celebrate the different way of looking at the world that our spouse has blessed us with, or we dishonor God by trying to rewrite his story. Finally it is imperative that we extend to one another the grace that has been extended to us. “It doesn’t take long to realize that you have married a sinner, and what you do when you make this discovery will determine the character and quality of your union. You will only respond in a way that is right, good , and helpful to our spouse’s sin, weakness, and struggle when you are celebrating the transforming grace of an ever-present, always-faithful Redeemer.”

So we must see and appreciate the marvelous creation that God has brought into our life and extend to them the unconditional love and grace that we receive from the One who died for us. Now you are ready to work on your marriage.

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