We’ve all been to wedding receptions or other places where we’ve seen people dancing. Have you noticed how the couples dance when the DJ puts on a slow jam?
The more mature couples (and maybe the couples who've had dance lessons) dance beautifully as they glide around the floor in near to perfect rhythm with one another. As they turn together and flow through the dance, it's easy to tell they’ve been at this for a while.
On the other hand, unless a newly wed couple has taken ballroom dance lessons, you’ll see an entirely different picture when they take the floor. Like a middle school dance, they awkwardly throw their arms around each other and waddle back and forth like penguins. She might be barking directions at him while they fight for the lead; he might be stepping on her feet causing them to trip over each other.
Marriage is like dancing through minefields. Whether it's in sickness or health, good times or bad, there are mines, when stepped on, that will rock the marriage. But marriage is also a joy. After all, it's a dance.
Here are three dance steps you need to dance through the minefield of marriage:
Step 1: Be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18-21).
In Ephesians 5:18-21, Paul declares that everything he is about to say on marriage assumes that the couple is being filled with God’s Spirit. Only if you have the ministry of the Spirit in your life will you be fully furnished to face the challenges of marriage.
Step 2: Replace pride and arrogance with humility and service (Eph. 5:22-27).
It's in Ephesians 5:22-27 that Paul unveils instruction for our different roles with in marriage.
Husbands, as the Holy Spirit cares for you and transforms your heart, you will humble yourself, by dying to yourself, and serve your wife.
Wives, as the Holy Spirit cares for you and transforms your heart, you will humble yourself by submitting to your husbands leadership and serving him.
Keep in mind that, while submission and servanthood are not easy, they sure are beautiful when we realize we are imitating Jesus. Besides, marriage problems often start when you don't realize that the only way to find your life is to lay your own life down.
This is easy to do when we realize the life, and marriage, that we gain. Any good marriage involves a thousand deaths to self. The good news is that any good marriage involves at least as many resurrections. We lay our lives down to enter this dance together. Just because marriage is hard doesn’t mean that it isn’t good.
Step 3: Fight against the schemes of Satan.
I don’t believe it's a coincidence that Paul follows up his instructions on marriage with a talk on spiritual warfare. Marriage is hard. It isn’t always a cake walk. Arguments are inevitable. There will be tension. This dance of marriage may leave you with some scars.
How do we fight against the schemes of Satan?
1. Start by recognizing who your enemy is (Eph. 6:10-12).
2. The battle against our enemy must be fought with the right weapons (Eph. 6:13-20).
Grace Marriage Mission:
1. Submit to the work of the Holy Spirit personally.
2. Replace pride with humility and service toward your spouse.
3. Pray with your spouse to fight against Satan with the right weapons
Nate Williams is the Pastor of Discipleship and Connection at Heartland Church. He and Hannah have been married for 11 years and have two boys and are expecting a girl soon. Read more from Nate on his blog, Deeply Rooted.