15 “Bite-Sized” Bits of Wisdom to Quickly Bring Your Marriage Rest
I enjoy a good date night with my husband; going out to eat is one of our favorite things to do. While our restaurant time is focused on the main meal, I sure do appreciate a good appetizer. Especially when I’m extra hungry, the anticipation of that delicious appetizer is almost too much to bear. (Fried pickles, anyone?).
And let us not forget desert- the scrumptious, sweet, mouth-watering ending. Making room in our belly for one more bite of goodness (warm, fudgy brownie topped with ice cream, anyone?).
What do appetizers and dessert have to do with this Marriage at Rest series?
The following “delicacies” are not found in the main courses of the previous posts but are just as nourishing and important; too rich to leave out. So here I lay them out for you to enjoy.
There is no particular order to these nuggets of truth. I pray each one blesses and encourages you all the same.
Food for Thought
1. Rest is attractive and desirable. We seek to set aside our burdens, for all the craziness to just stop. But getting rid of all our burdens and yokes is impossible in this life; there is always a weight to carry. That is why we need to learn God’s definition of rest.
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus says, Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
What weight are you carrying?
Which yoke/burden will you choose?
2. Pay attention to the lies others tell you… or you tell yourself, then look up the verse that follows and apply God’s truth to the lie:
- Lie: When my needs are met, I’ll do a better job taking care of others
- Truth: Philippians 2:3-4
- Lie: We all need more “self-love.” I deserve (fill in the blank). I must provide rest for myself.
- Truth: Matthew 11:28-30
- Lie: My spouse should understand that I need this (hobby, reward, time away, etc.).
- Truth: Philippians 4:19
- Lie: Are you having trouble in your marriage? You should try taking a break from one another.
- Truth: James 1:5 and James 5:16 - There are many verses/passages that address marriage. These two from James are good places to start- seek wisdom from God in prayer, He will answer. Confess your sins to your spouse, pray for each other and that God would bring healing to your marriage. There is great power in that!!
3. Be careful:
Pursuit of OUR definition of rest can blind us to the needs of our spouse.
4. When our heart is not at rest, our relationship is not at rest. We cannot hide what is in our hearts from the one person we are closest to in this life. We can try, but our spouse will see the fruit of our restlessness.
(If you are feeling this deeply, find answers here.)
5. When your spouse is “tapped out”, it is a privilege to step up and provide the rest your spouse needs. It is a statement of God’s love. Isn’t this act more powerful than having our spouse demand space for rest? Look for opportunities to serve without being asked.
6. The choices we make may reflect a lack of rest.
Choices stem from what’s in our hearts. (Proverbs 4:23)
What am I believing in my heart that is steering my choices?
7. We were created to worship; we CANNOT escape it.
In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”
8. He requires complete obedience to Him; He wants the sole worship of your heart.
Sometimes our spouse can answer those questions about us better than we can about ourselves.
9. Our sin makes us wanderers, causing us to look at everything through the lens/light of ourselves and not the Creator.
10. Satan would have us believe a great life can be found apart from Christ. He wants us to believe we must seek rest for ourselves. He’s trying to steal the glory.
Lord, help me to not make decisions based on my emotions, but stand on the solid rock of Your Word. (Matthew 7:24-27)
12. When we strive for personal comfort/rest, our pursuit can quickly turn into self-indulgence if it’s not kept in check by the Holy Spirit.
13. Our culture’s standards are preached to us all day, every day, and we buy into them. Having nice things is not sinful, but when we toil under the heavy yoke of materialism, we are never at rest. Resist temptations to toil.
Seeking control comes in many forms. And it is usually a big red flag that we are seeking rest outside of God.
When things feel out of our control, we…
Invent our own form of rest
Feel like the victim because things aren’t going our way
Place unrealistic expectations on ourselves and others; taking all kinds of precautions to make sure our environment is in control
Are actually in pursuit of rest, but the road we take to get there is control.
We need to trust God and let Him be in control.
15. A by-product of self-love is complaining. When we’re focused on what we don’t have, we aren’t looking at what God has given us. We also are not looking for opportunities to love our spouse the way God has called us.
When we live a complaint-free life, we shine His light.
A person of thankfulness is a person who does not complain. Living with a heart of thankfulness cancels out anxiety and brings peace. A peace which guards our heart and marriage. A person of thankfulness is a person who’s at rest.
Philippians 2:14- Do everything without complaining.
(Do you struggle to have a grateful heart? Read THIS.)
Remember: God always has His kingdom and our good in mind when He allows something to happen. When we have a clear picture of our part in His kingdom, we are at rest.
Vow to change: an encouraging call to action
Read and ponder the following. Write out your answers and discuss them with your spouse.
God KNOWS our need for physical rest! Take care of that- take a nap. But ask yourself: What am I worn out from? What needs to change?
In what areas of your marriage do you need to trust God will provide?
In what ways are you unbelieving in your marriage? (i.e., Does God have my best interest in mind? Can God heal this area of my marriage?)
Read Galatians 5:16-25 . Are any works of the flesh listed in vv. 19-20 evident in your marriage? These happen when we are not directed by the Holy Spirit. Which of the fruit of the Spirit listed in v. 22 are evident in your marriage?
Where is God asking you and your spouse to faithfully serve the Lord together?