Building Strong Personal Relationships

Ephesians 5:22-31

Suppose someone asked you for advice on how to have a successful marriage; would you have some ideas about what a successful marriage requires?  I would guess that everyone could make a suggestion or two, maybe something simple like time, communication or effort. You might say that a successful and happy marriage requires things like honesty, mutual respect and caring. You might say that the husband and wife need to spend time together, they must actually talk together, work together and pull the weight of everyday reality in the same direction together.

You might say that a successful marriage relationship would need to be based on love and intimacy and transparency; there should be no secrets. If we were all sitting together around the kitchen table, somebody would say that a marriage relationship needs for husband and wife to be equal partners, the kind of partners who can always rely upon each other.

Oh just think about it; as the conversation continued, how the list of ideas would grow!

In our text, Paul has a fair amount to say about the way husbands and wives should live together, maybe we could take all of the ideas that we came up with and write them up into some kind of a questionnaire or quiz, with a score at the end that would give a person an idea of how well they are doing as a spouse.

And then we could drop the next two verses on them (verses 32-33) and point out that Paul was really talking about our relationships with Jesus…

Using the same quiz, how would we all be doing in our relationships with Him? Do we spend time together, do we communicate, tell the truth, try to keep secrets and all the rest?

To be honest with you, I have actually done this in class settings and used the same “catch” at the end. Can you guess what happens at the end? Most of the time, there is a bit of sound, kind of like a gasp. Then there is silence…

We all know what can happen in a human relationship when one or both parties take it for granted. What can happen in our relationship with our Lord when one of the parties takes it for granted?

There is only one possible party who will take it for granted; do we need to make some changes?

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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13 Responses to Building Strong Personal Relationships

  1. paulfg says:

    I see a phrase in some blogs when discussing “God” – a distinction between God and “in the natural” – which seems to refer to our physical selves and world – as opposed to our “spiritual selves and spiritual world”.

    I was reminded of why I have nagging question with that distinction as I was reading your post today: that we so easily box things here and box things there – keep that from this and put that over there.

    When all the time the two meld and merge so beautifully if we allow. Love being the connection within and across all. Your words today connect in a wonderful way!

    • Don Merritt says:

      Funny you should say that Paul. I was just thinking along those lines myself recently when it struck me that just because one “state” can turn wrong or bad or whatever you want to call it, doesn’t mean that it must turn bad or whatever. God didn’t make the physical “bad”. Yes, I understand the theological point about flesh vs. Spirit… but “flesh” is a metaphor, and I think we have been known to forget that. The whole point is that Jesus came to redeem… us from sin and rebellion, and from dumb thinking too.:)

  2. jenspen1961 says:

    thanks for sharing…. as one who has been through divorce and remarriage (both to christian men) I would have to say that each partner looking after themselves and protecting their relationship with God is one of the most important things to do to keep your marriage strong. My first married ended because my husband fell away from the Lord and chose a life of drugs and all that goes with it. The kids and I watched a seemingly happy, simple, hardworking man, who loved God, church and friends, change into a selfish, addicted, abusive person, who then abandoned us when child number 4 was still in the womb. Over 20 years later, my first husband is but a shell of the man he used to be …. all those years ago he made a choice that cost him everything, and pratically destroyed his family along with him….. Then 8 years ago, I remarried and life was wonderful again for me for awhile…. but after the honeymoon phase it became apparent that we had both bought in old baggage and we struggled there for awhile. We didn’t like the statistics for the divorce rate for second time marriages either. Through trial and error and the never ending love of our father God, we have come through to having a truly wonderful marriage, better than i could ever have imagined. What I’ve discovered is that my husband and I must be true to ourselves, we must be who we are in Christ and except the other for who they are. This may sound obvious but it is harder done than said! Equally as important is each of us looking after our relationship with God. Again, harder done than said! Marriage is wonderful, it must be treasured, respected and never taken for granted. Don’t let anyone or anything threaten your marriage or your relationship with God! (ps I really didn’t mean to go on so…. the words just flew off my fingers!)

    • Don Merritt says:

      I could be wrong, but it always seems to me that in a marriage, the key is the priority that the parties have for the relationships with God: if they keep that first and highest, they seem to be able to weather the storms that come along… Thank you so much for sharing your story!

      • jenspen1961 says:

        your welcome – have a great day

      • Nope Don you are right again! I believe the trinity is as follows. An elder told me some years ago after the divorce (lol). If you remembered this you would still be living and loving happily ever after. Men love God first, your wife, kids then your secondary families. Woman Love God first, your husband, kids then your secondary families. I believe this relates to the part of the vow that says, “let no man put asunder .” Mark-10:9

  3. To start on the right foot , you must be looking for a “husband” or “wife” not just a “relationship”

  4. Great message ~ God is key ~ Amen :Y

  5. Naomi says:

    Don, I like your challenge to readers at the end, it’s a good reminder:

    “There is only one possible party who will take it for granted; do we need to make some changes?”

    Great post.

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