Is it time to refresh your marriage? What about giving it the good old “fountain of youth” treatment? Debi Walter (of The Romantic Vineyard ministry) gives this insight that could work for most all of us. She writes:
I remember as a child hearing of Ponce de Leon’s pursuit of The Fountain Of Youth. It was said to be somewhere in Florida, and it was told he spent his life trying to find it. But he never did for there is no such fountain. And his story is most likely not true. Yet it’s intriguing all the same.
But what if marriage was given a Fountain of Youth that kept our love vibrant and healthy? What if we could only grow more in love as the years pass instead of facing a decaying relationship? And what if our relationship could experience ever-increasing intimacy?
It can, but there is no fountain to bathe in or no amazing product to purchase that can guarantee such success. However, there are keys that if used, can unlock a fountain of renewal day after day, year after year. And each of us possess these keys because Christ has tucked them away in our hearts the moment we became His.
Fountain of Youth Key #1:
Do Nothing from Selfish Ambition or Conceit.
We’re told in the Bible:
“So, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4 ESV)
Imagine how marriages, yours and ours, would be continually renewed if we were to each treat our spouse as being more important than myself. This is unselfishness on display; and it is what makes a marriage grow stronger through the years.
There is no secret magic fountain for that would be too easy. Marriage is hard work. Marriage is continually preferring your spouse over your own interests. And marriage has no short-cuts to godliness.
Marital Fountain of Youth Key #2:
Work on Your Own Issues.
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13 ESV)
We are each responsible for our own heart. We can’t change our spouse; but we can pray for them as if their heart was our own. God is the one who is at work in us using each and every hardship for His refining purposes. When facing difficulty our first thought should be, God what are you wanting to do in my heart?
Having this attitude will help us make the most of every opportunity to grow and change. And as we do this, regardless of whether or not our spouse is on board, we will see change in our marriage.
It is a great temptation to compare our responsiveness to God with our spouse’s. May I encourage you from experience to not go there? This thought-process is used by the enemy of our soul to side-track our obedience. If he can’t keep us from doing right, he’ll work on getting us to compare ourselves with our spouse and puff us up with pride. Both disobedience and pride are sins, which grieve the Father. We mustn’t allow it.
Marital Fountain of Youth Key #3:
Do All Things Without Grumbling or Disputing.
“Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Philippians 2:14-16 ESV)
Did you catch that? “All things“? Really? But what about the times when he doesn’t do what he said he would do? What about the times she disregards my advice? Also, what about when his/her attitude is affecting my plans, my day, my attitude? What about…? You fill in the blank. Marriage never goes according to the idea we had when we stood face-to-face on the altar vowing our love and commitment to each other.
Marriage provides a continual well-spring, all right; but it’s not of eternal youth—it’s a well-spring of constant change, and the one who needs to change is me. At least this is where my focus needs to be. If I would be as diligent in seeing my own lack as I tend to be in seeing my spouse’s lack, I guarantee my marriage would grow and mature.
Turning This Around
How about you? Are you willing to take these three keys to unlock your own well-spring to renewal and change? If you do, I’m quite certain a year from now your marriage won’t look the same as it does today. In fact, you may have other’s wondering if you’ve found a secret to marital happiness. When they ask you can smile and say, “I sure have, would you like to know where to find it?”
Thank you, Debi; we appreciate these wise words. (You can read more that Debi writes by going to The Romantic Vineyard. We highly recommend it!)
However, in closing, we just want to add one scripture to this third principle:
“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:8-9)
Did you catch that? “TO THIS YOU WERE CALLED THAT YOU MAY OBTAIN A BLESSING.” And as you apply those “Fountain of Youth” principles to your marriage you will certainly be blessed. And we pray you will be, abundantly!
Cindy and Steve Wright
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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