Your Spouse is Your Neighbor

Ephesians 4:

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your *SPOUSE, for we are all members of one body. 26 “In your anger do not sin”[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold. 

“If you can’t say anything nice……”

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

*I put the word spouse there in place of the word neighbor

Focus on the family had a wonderful guest speaker celebrating marriage.  He had been married 25 years when he gave his anniversary sermon.  The broadcast was 30 years old.  Currently he is celebrating 55 years of marriage with his beloved wife.

He humorously shared that most women desire a man who is gentle, yet strong; good sense of humor, yet serious; passionate, yet balanced.  He shared all the impossible things men desire in a woman.  He laughed–“our idealistic expectations are shattered and reality sets in.”  He quickly noted that some of us never get past a life time of unrealistic expectations and yearn for someone, something better.

It dawned on me in listening to his testimony and thinking of mine with Parish that it’s the very essence of our imperfections, struggles, and mishaps that have made us who we are today.  Marriage is the only place I can think of that grace, forgiveness, humility, kindness when kindness is NOT what you are feeling are learned!  If you want deep, profound intimacy there must be truth shared between you and your spouse.  If you telling lies in your relationship, true intimacy can not exist–there is no trust.  Put off falsehood!  Embrace your imperfections as the fertile soil of God’s Work in YOU–GET TO WORK!  🙂

He shared the above verse to meditate on with your spouse–is not your spouse your neighbor?  A very close neighbor in deed.  If God is calling us to follow those verses in relation to those around us,  how much more is He calling us to live this way in our very homes?  Not perfection, but a striving to desire this because you love them.  What if we strived for our words to be beneficial, uplifting, and encouraging?

Here is the broadcast of his full sermon:

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.aspx?ID={3ABD16E9-18D9-47EE-9526-4CB42809C2FF}

Pastor Bob Kraning shares ten guiding foundational principles for a successful marriage, based on Ephesians 4. (Part 1 of 2)

Part 2:

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.aspx?ID={B8486E07-CDD7-4FF9-9661-4FB5CBBF39D8}

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