Christian Living

Overcoming Addictions 12/29/12

Struggling Marriage? Five Steps to Making God Your First Priority

couple counseling

If I asked you, “What is most important to you?” What comes to mind first? For many it's family. We know the “right” answer is to put God as our first priority. But do we?

In my own life God wasn't first on my list. My security and sense of well being came from my husband. In my eyes, he could do no wrong, I made him my rock.

That's when everything came crashing down. My “rock” had a crack pornography. The crack grew to a chasm until a pile of rubble was all that remained. Now what could I rely on?

Thankfully, God got my attention through the demise of our marriage. While we were separated, I learned to put all my trust in my true “rock” - the Lord Jesus Christ. It wasn't an easy process. Because I had grown up going to church, was baptized as a baby, and basically a “good” person; I thought I had everything under control. But, God knew what it would take to get me to put Him first. Finally, when my marriage crumbled around me, I was able to see I needed a Savior, and a Lord. I couldn't control my husband's actions. In actuality I had no control over anything. One day when I was alone and separated from my husband, God's grace broke through my devastated heart. I finally surrendered my whole life to the Lord.

After God called my husband and me into a true relationship with Himself, He asked us to reconcile our marriage. The process was hard and took years of work (we're still working). The key to our restored marriage is now we each put our hope, dreams, and trust in God alone. We realize our spouse cannot meet all our needs, especially the deepest desires of our heart. Only God can do that. We found solid ground just as described in 2 Samuel 22: 47:

“The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation.”

Over the years I’ve had the privilege of coming alongside women who are hurting as a result of their husband's sexual addiction or infidelity. The advice I give is to concentrate on your own relationship with the Lord and let Him use this time which feels like crushing despair to deepen your faith. Sometimes despair is precisely what God will use to bring you into a real relationship with Him through Jesus. He did with me.

Are you struggling in your marriage? Do you want more than anything for your marriage to be healed? That is precisely the problem. To get your priorities straight, God wants you to desire Him more than anything even more than the restoration of your marriage.

Here are five steps I learned to make God my first priority:

1. I run to Him first when things go wrong. I cry out to Him not other people and not my husband. No earthly friend can help you the way He can.

2. I make time for Him. I can come up with so many excuses to not spend time with God. Too much work to do, the kids need me, I'd rather sleep in. Yet, He always blesses me when I make an effort to be with Him.

3. I study His Word. I used to say, “I wish God would just tell me what to do. Give me a list of instructions and I'd do it!” He has in His Word. As I study it, I realize He is leading and guiding me. For true transformation to take place,, I need to to apply His word to my life.

4. I stand on His promises. My feelings are fickle and change constantly. God's promises are true, trustworthy and never change. Whether I “feel” like it or not, I take God at His Word. For instance, although I may “feel” alone, when God says “I will never leave you nor forsake you,” I know the truth is He’s right here with me.

5. I ask Him what to do. People give plenty of advice, but only God has the exact right answer. I find it as I pray, study His Word and wait for Him to show me.

Do you have your priorities straight? Be honest with yourself. If you have put anything ahead of your relationship with God including the desire for your marriage to be healed then you need to make an effort to get your priorities back in line.

“Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:5-8 NLT

Father, I pray You are our first priority. Our relationship with You is more important than anything else even the restoration of a broken marriage. Help us to put You first in our lives so all Your goodness can flow from there. In Jesus name, Amen.

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