Updated: Sep 13, 2019
Here we are in the month of September finding it hard to believe that we are just weeks away from the final quarter of 2019. Whenever I get to this part of the year, I do a self-appraisal on how my wife and I are faring relative to the goals that we have set as a couple. The primary way that we track our goals is through a marriage accountability process where we invite other trusted couples to hold us accountable for spiritual growth, stewardship of the resources God has put in our case, and service to the people that God has directed us—which includes you. We believe that a consistent focus on our spirituality, stewardship, and service are the pillars of the Christian walk. For Dalia and me, this three-tiered model is the most comprehensive way to pursue the Apostle Paul’s admonition to "press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
But, here is the reality. Most Christian couples lack attention to all three pillars. This lapse does not mean they don’t have a good marriage. It doesn’t mean they aren’t great Christians. But, I do believe failure to attend to all three pillars leaves most couples short of God’s intention for the marriage.
Most Christian couples do not pursue godly goals as a couple. And, of the minority that does, most do not achieve them. Research by the University of Scranton reports that 92% of people do not achieve the goals they set for themselves.
If we look in scripture, we see that 10 of the 12 Hebrew spies (83%) that Moses sent to spy out the Promised land lost sight of the goal that God set for them. Only Caleb and Joshua returned with confidence that the goal was attainable. As a result, an entire nation's destiny was delayed by the failure of the majority.
The truth is that you cannot follow the majority because the reality is that they lack faith in God. They are not necessarily bad people. But, the majority have very limited faith that depends more on their natural eyes than their spiritual ones. In the case of the majority of the Hebrew spies, their natural eyes revealed themselves as grasshoppers compared to the Canaanite inhabitants of the land.
But, Caleb and Joshua had the Minority Report because they were able to believe what they did not physically see. They saw with their spiritual rather than natural eyes. This is the lesson for you and me. We must part ways with the majority on matters of faith because their faith depends on natural sight. Ours does not. It is not popular to advocate for traditional marriage values. It is not sexy or flashy to promote spiritual intimacy in marriage. It is uncommon to relinquish our individual preferences for the promise of bigger blessings as a couple in agreement. You and I must develop our own Minority Report for what God has promised our marriages.
I would like to offer you the three pillars of the marriage accountability framework as the foundation for your own Minority Report that will lead a remnant of Christian couples into our Promised Land.
Spiritual Pillar: Align your will as a couple to God’s transcendent purpose
Most couples struggle to identify and focus on their purpose as a couple. Hence, they fail to corral the unparalleled power of agreement declared in Matthew 18:20, For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. As a team of two, you can accomplish wondrous feats if you can stay in agreement—which is exactly why the Adversary does his best to keep you off balance. You and your spouse can do things that no other couple in the world is capable of accomplishing. But, too often, each spouse is so focused on his or her individual ministry that they never even seek agreement on their joint ministry. The spiritual pillar requires intentionality on your ministry as a couple—keeping in mind that this may be a secular or faith-based ministry. Ministry is about drawing people to Christ and you do not have to teach a bible study together to lift people’s eyes towards the Father. But, it requires individual humility to submit your will to God’s will for your marriage. Jesus’ own humility is evident as he sought to align his will to that of the Father when he said, "Yet not what I will, but what you [the Father] will.” (Mark 14:36). By the way, check out the great post that fellow Eusebeian Laura Benton, LMFT made on the Eusebeia website about how self-pity can destroy your spiritual pillar.
Stewardship Pillar: Responsibly investing your tangible and intangible resources
As Christians we believe that all resources belong to God. The money in your wallet belongs to God. The gifts that you have belong to God. The time that you manage is not your own. God holds us accountable for what we do with his resources. Many of us lack financial capacity to do God’s work because we live overextended and chronically indebted to creditors. Many us have amazing talents that we fail to use in the service of our Lord—which really begs the question who we really serve. Too many of us choose to binge watch Netflix series rather than produce something that can change people’s lives. I will be so bold to say that a Christian life of consumption rather than production is not God’s will for you. Many biblical passages (most notably the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25) remind us that a failure to invest God’s resources is tantamount to disobedience.
Service Pillar: Care for the needs of others
Ultimately, the role of every Christian couple is to be a good neighbor to those in need of their purpose and resources. While you may serve as individuals, God expects you to serve as a couple too. He gives you the freedom to choose who to serve.
For Dalia and me, God has commissioned us to serve Christian marriage. This correspondence to you is part of that service. Our roles as co-directors of Eusebeia (a 501c3 committed to spiritual revival among Christian couples) is part of our service. My authoring of four books (three of them on marriage) is obedience to that service. The commitment that Dalia and I make to focus on the growth of our own marriage is part of our service to Christian marriage because we refuse to talk that which we do not walk ourselves. God will show you who you can serve as a couple but typically this only happens as you remain committed to the spiritual and steward pillars that we discussed.
If you want to be part of the Minority Report, you can pursue your own Marriage Accountability Plan (MAP). We have a detailed template available on the Eusebeia website that you can use to guide you through the three-stage process as a couple. Click HERE to invest in this resource for less than $10. This resource has elevated Dalia and my marriage to another dimension.
As a reminder, there is a monthly FREE devotional on the Eusebeia website that is available for you and your spouse to do together to strengthen your spiritual pillar.
Also, I can think of no better investment in your marriage than the Eusebeia Weekend Experience for Christian Couples. It is only one month away (Oct 17-20, 2019) in Columbia, MD. You will join tons of other couples who will encourage and hold you accountable to these three pillars. Click HERE to learn more about this one-of-a-kind spiritual adventure. The regular registration period ends this month. Dalia and I would love the opportunity to encourage your minority report.
This video of T.D. Jakes speaks powerfully to the true promise of agreement in marriage and beyond. It is a whole sermon but it could transform your marriage.