The Foundation of Every Strong Marriage
by: Dave Willis
My kids have an ongoing project of building a fort in the empty lot next to our house. Almost every day after school, they’ll meet up with the other neighborhood kids and look for scrap materials to add to their beloved masterpiece. It’s nothing more than some old crates and cardboard stacked together, and every time a storm comes, the whole thing falls apart, and they have to start the entire process over again.
I’ve never been much help on the fort project because I’m terrible with tools. Ashley’s dad is a guy who can build and fix anything, so when Ashley married me, she assumed all men had the same skill set. I wish I had those skills, but when I try swinging a hammer, stuff gets broken! Ashley is both the beautiful one and the handy one in our relationship!
The boys wish I were better at construction, so I could help them build the fort. I do my best to help them gather materials, but my most valuable contribution thus far has been a single bit of engineering advice. I told them the fort was going to keep collapsing until they built it securely on a solid foundation.
Many marriages resemble that fort. Maybe there’s a lot of effort going into building the relationship, but it still seems to fall apart. A marriage can crumble because of a lack of effort, but in other cases, the relationship fails for the same reasons the boys’ fort kept collapsing. It’s built with the wrong tools and with no solid foundation.
Matthew 7:24-27 contains one of Jesus’ most famous teachings. He tells the story of a wise builder and a foolish builder. The wise builder took the time to build his house on a foundation of solid rock, while the foolish builder took the fast and easy route and built his house on sand.
From the outside, both houses looked the same, but the difference was revealed when a storm came. The strong winds and rains beat against both houses, and the house without a solid foundation collapsed. The house built on the rock stood firm.
When you read magazines and look at the examples of love in pop culture, it seems as though many people are content to build a relationship with no stable foundation. These shaky relationships are usually based on fickle feelings, codependent insecurities, mutual convenience, or lust. When the storms of life come, the relationships can’t survive.
The most solid relationships, however, are built on a foundation of love, and love is always built on a solid foundation of commitment. The strength of your commitment will always determine the strength of your relationship. If you want a marriage that will survive all the storms life throws your way, you need to build your relationship on a commitment to Jesus and a foundation of God’s word.
Ashley and I have made plenty of mistakes in our marriage, but one thing we’ve done wisely is to make God’s Word (the Bible) the foundation of our marriage and the final authority on every issue. A daily study of God’s word has done more to help our marriage than probably any other daily habit. Starting each day meditating on God’s Word gives us the inspiration and fuel we’ll need for the day plus an enormous amount of perspective and practical application. The Bible has answers for every challenge you’ll ever face. Seriously.
Early in our marriage when we got into a financial mess with credit card debt, it was the Bible’s financial instructions (and other Bible-based resources) that helped us get debt free and live a life with financial peace and freedom. When Ashley struggled with anxiety and depression, it was the Bible and other Bible-based resources (and a good Christian counselor) that ultimately helped her find peace. When I’ve struggled with issues like anger or pride or even my past sinful struggle with porn, it was God’s word that cleansed my mind and put me back on the right path.
Some people have given Ashley and me credit for “saving their marriage” with our words, but every helpful thing we’ve ever shared about marriage has come straight out of the Bible. God saved their marriages. We were just delivering His message.
I can’t overstate the importance of putting God’s word in your heart and mind daily. I truly believe it’s the single most valuable investment of time you can make and it will transform your marriage (and every other aspect of your life as well).