If you’ve been married longer than a week, you know that a healthy marriage takes work.
Specifically, if you want to build a missional marriage—that is, a marriage centered around the mission of taking the good news of the Gospel to a broken world—it’s going to require extra effort and personal sacrifice.
Couples who commit to building a missional marriage must first and ultimately agree that the biggest priority in their marriage is God and His mission. After that, this commitment can take many forms—becoming foster parents, beginning the adoption process, teaching in the local church, starting a small group, or something else entirely.
Regardless of where God leads you to serve, these 5 things are necessary—
How to Build a Missional Marriage
1. Draw close to God.
Living for the spiritual well-being of other people is costly. Serving others requires time, money, resources, energy, etc. Trying to do this well in our own strength over the long haul is the perfect recipe for burnout. Likewise, expecting a marriage partner to be for us what only God can be is disastrous.
“Draw close to Him and let your marriage be the overflow of that. When things are right with God, your marriage can actually become what it was designed to be.” —Francis Chan, author of You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity
2. Pray together.
Pray for God to direct you—together—to the people you are meant to serve. Ask God to protect your marriage from the stresses and pressures that are unique to service. Exhaustion, specifically, is an enemy of marriage. Ask God for strength and unity of mind.
“Prayer is an acknowledgment that between the ‘already’ and the ‘not yet,’ there is a work of God to be done, and you need wisdom and strength for that work.” —Paul David Tripp, author of What Did You Expect: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage
3. Be intentional.
Todd and Beth Guckenberger serve as Co-Executive Directors of Back2Back Ministries, an international orphan care organization. They have raised 10 biological, foster, and adopted children. According to Beth—
“Every night between 9:30 and 11:00 we do a date night. I can tell you it’s the #1 best decision we’ve made for our marriage.”
Sometimes they leave the house, but usually they just shut a door and spend time not being distracted by work, kids, or ministry. Their advice?—Become intentional about the things that matter most. As married couples on mission, we must make time to be in the Word and to spend time with each other. Challenging? Yes. Impossible? No.
4. Embrace transparency.
Transparency—with each other and with those you serve—is critical. Sinners are complicated, and marriage is messy. But God can use Christian marriage to showcase what He can do. Invite people into your home, and be honest about what God is doing in your life. Let people see that perfection isn’t a prerequisite to service. Tim Keller says it this way—
“There are few places where you can better invite people in to see the King at work … than in a marriage.”
5. Love God more.
As wonderful as marriage and ministry can be, the most important aspect to building a healthy, missional marriage is loving God most. When our marriage and ministry is fueled by an unwavering commitment to and love of God, everything else begins to grow and transform the way God desires.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).
Our prayer for you this year:
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope” (Romans 15:13).