God created relationships. Therefore, all relationships exist to glorify God. Marriage is one of these relationships.
Before Jordan and I were married, I would hear the phrase “honor God with your marriage” all the time. ALL the time. Especially during the time we were engaged. People would tell me, “I’m praying that your marriage is glorifying and honoring to God.” I really had no clue what that meant or looked like! Sure, I knew that I wanted to honor God within our marriage… but how?
I considered this question a lot: How are we, as a couple, going to glorify God with our marriage?
If I were to guess, I thought it meant you had to do something grand together! I thought couples who chose to uproot their lives and become missionaries overseas, or worked in a ministry together, or were preachers or speakers together were honoring God with their marriage the most.
I truly didn’t know what honoring God with your marriage looked like in the mundane daily life together.
Now that we’ve been in this thing for 5 ½ years, I’ve learned that honoring God in a marriage doesn’t always look like doing something grand or drastic together, rather the grand and drastic ways we love God (and our spouse) within our marriages are actually the seemingly small, everyday ways. We by no means have this down, but are continually learning.
With that, here are three practical ways you can honor God with your marriage:
1. Love and follow God
To love our spouse well, our own hearts must be captivated by God first and foremost: his love, his grace, his forgiveness, his faithfulness, his wisdom, his power. We have to be totally and utterly consumed with the Lord and his beauty in order for that love to flow out of us onto those around us.
2. Love your spouse and your family unit
Loving our spouse, viewing them through God’s eyes, and being able to serve them will flow out of a heart that delights in God over everything else! Loving them day-in and day-out looks many different ways. It’s the small choices we make each and every day. It looks like heaping tons and tons of forgiveness and grace on them over and over again. It looks like praying for them constantly. It also looks like praying together- going to God together with your worries, anxieties, fears, and requests. It looks like being faithful to them until the end. It looks like being totally honest with them, keeping nothing from them. It looks like giving attention and care to their needs and desires. If you have children, loving your spouse also looks like loving and caring for your children.
These are just a few of the many ways we can practically love our spouse daily within our marriages.
3. Serve others together
Here’s where it gets fun! You two, together, get to live your lives on mission for the Lord. You get to pray, and brainstorm, and decide TOGETHER what serving others looks like for you as a couple! The options for what serving together could look like are endless:
- Serving together through your church
- Volunteering together at a local ministry
- Teaching your kids about the Lord and his love for them
- Preaching together
- Teaching together
- Finding ways to give of your finances to help others
- Moving to a new place for the purpose of sharing God’s love
- Working in ministry together
- Opening your home to others
To sum it up, loving God comes before loving anything or anyone else. The great joy that God has given us in a spouse, we are to love God more. And this is honoring to God.
I’ll end by including an excerpt of a poem written by John Piper to his son on his wedding day:
Yes, love her, love her, more than life;
Oh, love the woman called your wife.
Go love her as your earthly best.
Beyond this venture not. But, lest
Your love become a fool’s facade,
Be sure to love her less than God.
It is not wise or kind to call
An idol by sweet names, and fall,
As in humility, before
A likeness of your God. Adore
Above your best beloved on earth
The God alone who gives her worth.
And she will know in second place
That your great love is also grace,
And that your high affections now
Are flowing freely from a vow
Beneath these promises, first made
To you by God. Nor will they fade
For being rooted by the stream
Of Heaven’s Joy, which you esteem
And cherish more than breath and life,
That you may give it to your wife.
The greatest gift you give your wife
Is loving God above her life.
And thus I bid you now to bless:
Go love her more by loving less.