Your marriage might not seem like it's giving you anything. You give and give but get nothing in return. God wants to flip that all upside-down for you today. Spend some time, really combing through what we've written for you here.
In this post, we'll discover 4 gifts GOD wants us to unwrap within our marriage.
God, our Heavenly Father, is the BEST gift-giver. I love to get gifts but it's even more awesome to bless someone else with something unexpected. God feels the same way. Can't you just picture Him, sitting on the edge of His seat, waiting for us to enjoy (and put to use) the gifts He wants you to have within your marriage?
I’m getting the excitement butterflies just thinking about unwrapping the 4 gifts He wants to bless us with.
In order to best understand these, let’s go back to the beginning…
In the Beginning
In the beginning, God created Adam with His own hand and in His image.
Genesis 1:27 says, So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him. This means:
God feels, we feel
God makes decisions, we make decisions
God desires relationships, we desire relationships
The last point is made clear in Genesis 2:18, when God said, It is not good that man should be alone. God did not create us to be alone; He wants us to be in relationship with others.
He follows that with: I will make him a helper fit for him. God created someone specifically to help meet the desires and needs within us: our spouse.
So, while walking alongside our spouse- whom God designed especially for us- what gifts does He want us to unwrap?
I’m glad you asked.
Let’s unwrap the first one right now…
God gives us the gift of FRIENDSHIP. God Himself will be our friend no matter what (John 15:15), but He lovingly gives us someone special here on earth, too.
When you first got married, did you feel like you were marrying your best friend?
There was no one else I’d rather spend my days and nights with. All my thoughts, feelings, and desires I wanted to share with my husband. We had time to travel, date, stay up late, have long, uninterrupted conversations; we had time for our marriage.
But life changes as years roll by, and with it, so does marriage. Just like any relationship, if you don’t prioritize, friendship with your spouse will start to feel more like a roommate situation.
God created us to be in relationship with one another. HE is in relationship with others (and always has been). Just look at…
The Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all working together (Matthew 3:16-17).
God walks and talks with Adam and Eve in the garden (Genesis 3:8)
God talks directly with Moses (Exodus 3)
God sends His Son Jesus to pay our debt so that we could be in relationship with Him forever! (John 3:16)
God is in the business of creating and mending relationships.
If your marriage needs mending, God wants to help. Read a few of the following blog posts for encouragement:
A beautiful thing about how God loves is that His love doesn’t go away when we sin or disappoint Him. It is steadfast (Lamentations 3:22-24). PRAISE the Lord for that!
Just like His love endures, so should friendship with our spouse!
In the hardest moments and toughest seasons, He asks us to show our spouse the best kind of friendship; the kind that leans in even when our feelings scream “Run away!”
I KNOW this is so much easier said than done, but dear ones, God’s ways are ALWAYS best, and so we must submit to the Spirit and walk in obedience.
But God doesn’t leave us to do His work on our own. Here are a few tools for your friendship tool belt:
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4:26 Do not let the sun go down on your anger.
Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Colossians 3:12 Put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
John 15:13 This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
Vow to Change Your Marital Friendship: An Encouraging Call to Action
If you’ve lost that best-friends-feeling, let’s get it back!
Pray: Lord, what is standing in the way of my spouse and I being close like we used to be?
Resentment? (If resentment is stressing your marriage, click HERE.)
Bitterness? (Is the burden of bitterness weighing down friendship with your spouse? Read THIS.)
Love of money or comfort? Pursuit of a career? (Are personal desires of you and your spouse leading to constant fighting? THIS will help you get your priorities in check.)
Other idols of my heart? (Idols- both seen and unseen- stand in the way of all God wants for your marriage. Click HERE to take the first step toward tearing down those idols.)
Ask the Lord: God, in what ways are You asking me to lay down my life for my spouse? What priorities, preferences, and desires do You want to change in me?
Write down any thoughts you have after praying to the Lord.
Remember: Whatever is standing in the way of friendship with your spouse, there is hope for change, because it is GOD’S desire that your marriage reflects a loving friendship to the world around you.
Check out the following resources for inspiration in pursuing your spouse:
Powerful Pursuit: Best Friends (podcast)
When husband and wife enjoy God’s gift of friendship in marriage, intimacy follows naturally.
And He wants us to enjoy that freedom to the fullest extent in its purest form.
I bet you can’t wait to unwrap this next gift…
God gives us our eternal freedom in Christ, but the FREEDOM we experience in marriage will fulfill a specific God-given desire within us.
First thing’s first: we must understand the eternal freedom we have in Christ.
The gift of salvation- uniting ourselves in relationship with Christ through faith is the only thing that brings TRUE freedom (Romans 8:2, John 8:36).
Do you have freedom in Christ? Is He your Savior? If your answer is No or I’m not sure, it is absolutely vital to dig deeper into those questions. Take your questions, doubts, and skepticism to the Lord, HE WILL LISTEN. Take the first step and click HERE to learn more about salvation and freedom in Christ.
Freedom in Marriage
Are you experiencing FREEDOM in your marriage?
That special gift that God wants you to unwrap?
Some people say restricting sex to within marriage is the opposite of freedom.
They argue that sex outside of marriage is enticing, exciting, and able to deliver your wildest fantasies.
But those types of “free” relationships aren’t a beautiful statement of love between a husband and a wife. In fact, they aren’t free at all.
Because sex is the means of acceptance in such a relationship. When the sex isn’t delivered, or loses its sizzle, you’re no longer wanted.
Even within a marriage relationship, it is possible to take God’s gift and hold it hostage. Using intimacy to control or manipulate is wrong.
Are you withholding sexual intimacy from your spouse? If so, ask yourself why.
Is it a way to get what you want?
Is it out of a desire to remain distant/isolated and comfortable?
Both scenarios (sex outside of marriage, sex to manipulate/get what you want), are not what God intended when He designed sexual intimacy with your spouse.
Sexual freedom is found in God’s design for intimacy, not the cultural norms or our own fantasies.
Vow to Change Your Marital Freedom: An Encouraging Call to Action
In marriage, we can talk about sex, envision it, enjoy it, and be generous with it.
If sexual intimacy is an area in which you struggle, don’t worry. This is a gift you can still unwrap! But first, you must get to the root of the issue.
The lack of sexual freedom within your marriage isn’t something that happens overnight, so you’ll need to untangle everything standing in the way.
Pray: Lord, how do YOU want us to experience sexual freedom in our marriage? Please give me and my spouse a healthy view of what God-honoring sexual intimacy is supposed to look like.
Read/Listen to the following posts/podcasts for a clear Biblical understanding of God’s design for sex and help overcoming obstacles that may stand in the way of experiencing freedom in that area.
Look at God’s Word: read Song of Solomon. It's a Biblical book (8 chapters long) about a man (King Solomon) who loved his wife dearly. He adored her, found her irresistible, and was enamored with her beauty. It’s a beautiful depiction of how God designed sexual intimacy in marriage.
Many times when we step outside of the freedom God wants us to enjoy within marriage, it's because we have forgotten (or don’t know) WHY God created marriage.
So, let’s unwrap His third gift to us...
God gives us the gift of FUNCTION. He has something bigger planned for us and our marriage: the purpose, mission, and reason we’re in this relationship.
There is an eternal significance for your marriage: to give away what God has given you.
Why? 1. So your spouse will have a better understanding of God’s unconditional love through you. 2. So God can show a JESUS kind of love to others through a relationship that serves.
Our culture views relationships in terms of how they serve US. A marriage that no longer brings joy or meets our expectations is not worth having. Time to move and find someone “better.”
God designed marriage for so much more than just meeting our needs.
If you’re at a point in your marriage where one (or both) of you are considering divorce, check out the following resources and remember: there is always hope.
YOU and YOUR MARRIAGE are FUNCTIONING like Christ when you are committed to your marriage mission: to give away what God has given you.
What has God given you? Reconciliation to Himself through Christ’s loving sacrifice.
You show Christ’s love when you show deep passion for your spouse (who may be deep in sin). You stay committed to not letting go of them.
When your spouse is at their worst, and you give them your best, you are a person on mission. This speaks so loudly - first to your spouse and then to people witnessing this love - it tells them where your love and hope comes from: the One who loves them the same way!
Vow to Change Your Marital Function: An Encouraging Call to Action
A healthy marriage is dependent upon having a solid understanding of God’s purpose for your marriage. HE will give you an overwhelming love for your spouse. HE will supply all the strength you need to love your spouse as HE has loved you.
Pray: Lord, please give me a clear understanding of Your purpose for marriage. Silence any lies I believe and let truth reign in my heart. Give me a renewed desire to love my spouse as You have loved me.
Read/listen to the following posts/podcasts to gain a better understanding of God’s design and mission for Biblical marriage:
How to Save Your Marriage Alone (Part 1)
Even if your marriage is functioning properly, and you’re on a mission to show God’s love for His people, God will still give you a fourth gift to unwrap…
God gives us the gift of FRICTION. He knows we will always struggle with sin, and so we need to be sharpened, honed, and changed to be more like HIM. He kindly gives us a marriage partner to help us in that process.
This may not feel like a gift, but we can trust that it is, because our Heavenly Father can do nothing but give us good gifts (James 1:17).
There are big and little things in our marriages that can bring out the worst in us. These become glaringly obvious because of our close proximity to each other. This creates friction.
It may feel easier to keep these observations to ourselves (why rock the boat, right?), but God calls us to disciple one another (Matthew 28:19-20). He asks us to encourage one another to look more like Christ and be obedient to His Word.
We’re going to have to get into the “thick of it” in order to help our spouse.
Backing away when we see our loved one in sin is NOT what God has called us to do.
Proverbs 27:17 uses the word picture of iron sharpening iron.
Hebrews 4:12 says the Word of God is sharper than any double-edged sword.
See? Being SHARPENED comes from the best kind of friction.
Vow to Change Your Marital Friction: An Encouraging Call to Action
You must be willing to:
Have the hard conversations with your spouse. Don’t shy away, lean in when things are tough; this shows your spouse that you care.
Bring God’s Word into the difficult situations; speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). Remember Hebrews 4:12- For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. God’s Word can penetrate even the hardest of hearts.
Be willing to be sharpened. It takes a lot of humility and a teachable heart to listen to corrections. Try to recognize the loving boldness required for a spouse to call out sin, trying to help their beloved out of the pit they’re in.
What is keeping you from opening and enjoying God’s gifts to your marriage?
If you aren’t enjoying these gifts within your marriage, ask yourself: Why?
Here are a few possibilities; do any resonate with you?
Sin. Sin separates us and blinds us to God’s good gifts. If you think sin is keeping you from enjoying God’s marital gifts, get quiet and humble yourself before the Lord with a repentant heart. Even if your spouse doesn’t do this, you will still bear good fruit as you seek God’s forgiveness.
The daily grind. Do you find it hard to take half a second and see what God is doing in your marriage and family? If so, take a serious look at your priorities. Start with how you choose to spend your time. (Asking your spouse for a more objective look is very helpful.)
Our enemy. Our enemy is masterful at distracting us, trying to overshadow God’s gifts to our marriage. He whispers lies to make us unsatisfied with what is truly good. He tries to convince us we deserve to have our expectations met, then tells us to back away from our spouse when they aren’t meeting them. Pray for God to shield you from Satan’s lies. Remember: your spouse is NOT your enemy! (Click HERE to read more about this.) Read your Bible daily to combat the enemy’s weapons used against you.
In the beginning, it was good
In the beginning God created marriage. He declared it GOOD.
James 1:17 says Every good and perfect gift comes from our Heavenly Father.
So, if you’ve been blessed by something good in your marriage, thank the Lord!
If there is something good that you’re trying to regain, ask the Lord!
It all starts and ends with HIM.
He is our Heavenly Father who cannot wait to give us the BEST gifts within our marriage.
So, reach out and take them from His generous, loving hands.
Unwrap them with grateful anticipation of all the good they will bring to your marriage. Your Heavenly Father will be watching, smiling wide, eyes aglow, as you eagerly open what He has carefully designed for your marriage.
He is DELIGHTED to give you and your spouse- two of His beloved creations- exactly what you need to enjoy your marriage: a union HE brought about.
What a good and generous God we serve.
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