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Shift Your Focus and Strengthen Your Marriage

Is your marriage harder than you want it to be?

Stuart Briscoe liked to say that marriage is as simple as ABC, or adjustments based on commitments. This biblical wisdom helped Jill and him build a strong, healthy marriage over their 60+ years together.

But he’d have been the first to tell you that it didn’t come without its bumps. Marriage is hard, especially when it seems like no matter what adjustments you make, your relationship continues to struggle. 

That’s why it’s vital you learn to apply an important biblical principle in your marriage:

Trust Christ and give rather than trust yourself and receive.

Today’s culture says you deserve to be happy and that if you’re unhappy in your marriage, it must be your spouse’s fault. So if things are hard, ask your spouse to change. If your spouse doesn’t meet your needs, go find someone who will. In every instance the problem always seems to be them, never you.

The Bible provides a different diagnosis that requires each person to look in the mirror.

Consider how James describes selfishness as the key problem in relational conflict: “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel” (James 4:2).

Do you see the issue? Many marriages struggle because they’ve made it about fulfilling individual needs rather than serving one another and bringing glory to God. This results in unrealistic expectations, unfair demands, and unbiblical disappointment when a spouse fails to “satisfy your needs.”

What so many husbands and wives need today is a dramatic shift in perspective… from the world’s view of marriage to God’s true view of marriage. 

Jesus makes this shift possible for all who place their trust in Him. Through faith in Christ, you not only find forgiveness from the sins that wreck relationships, but you also receive God’s Spirit which empowers you to become more like Jesus! And He taught that “it is more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35).

So the next time you find yourself asking, How should I respond to him or How should I feel about her, entrust yourself to Christ who loved and led by giving of Himself.

When you do, you’ll find a freedom that comes from shifting the focus off yourself and making your choices about serving Christ first. Because the better way to joy in marriage is not through what you can get from your spouse, but through what you receive in Christ! In Him, you’ve been given every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3), so what more could you want?

God designed marriage to bless men and women, but He never designed it to fulfill them. He does not promise happy marriages, but He does promise that He is enough to satisfy your heart. Today, ask Christ to help you trust Him and believe it’s better to give your life in service rather than focus on receiving.

For more biblical encouragement to help you experience Life in Christ—in your marriage and everywhere else—explore Jill’s series 8 Things That Make a Marriage Work