I am frequently asked what it takes to have a great marriage. Most couples have absolutely no idea that greatness is only possible in their ‘zone of genius’. Sadly, most couples never get close to living in the genius zone—which I’m convinced is God’s design.
In his bestselling book, The Big Leap, (highly recommended) author Gay Hendricks describes the ‘zone of genius’ as where one capitalizes on innate natural abilities. It’s a state of ‘flow’ and constant inspiration. In the ‘zone of genius’ you create distinguished and unique output that excels far and beyond what anyone else is doing.
The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that there are three zones in which Christian couples actually operate.
Many Christian couples operate in a Zone of Tolerance where they just try to get along well enough to avoid non-stop tension. They may avoid divorce but they never actually 'become one' in any sense of the phrase. These couples view success as avoiding as much conflict as possible in their day to day lives. They struggle to see beyond daily transactions because this is where their conflict manifests.
Many other Christian couples operate in what I call a Zone of Compromise. Honestly, many of these Christian are doing good things as they understand that marriage demands reciprocity (a give and take dynamic) to be successful. So, through trial and error most of them work to incrementally improve their relationship. They want to be happy while also striving to embody their perception of a biblical marriage.
Finally, there is the small remnant of Christian couples that operate in Hendricks’ Zone of Genius. They are creators more than consumers. In other words, they live with a synergy that allows their gifts to exponentially grow and impact an ever widening circle of people. They are happy. But, happiness is not their goal. For them, marital success means transformation in their sphere of influence by extolling the virtues of Kingdom living. To my eye, these couples have discovered their superpower. Dalia and I are on a journey to identify and grow with couples who are learning how to operate in their ‘zone of genius’.
But, what does that Zone of Genius really look like? We have to travel back to Christ’s earthly ministry to understand exactly what it means.
During his earthly presence, Christ gave the gift of unconditional (agape) love for the Church that manifested primarily as a retraining of the mind. We often under appreciate the pressure that Christ placed upon His followers for psychological transformation. Christ in essence challenged his followers to adopt a kingdom philosophy. In other words, Christ’s message to the early Church was that the Kingdom was to be its priority. Think Kingdom first. Even with everything that is going on around you, you must maintain a Kingdom mindset. At the institution and individual level each aspect of their being was to serve the Kingdom.
But, why the Kingdom focus? It’s simply that the Kingdom is a heavenly response to rampant sinfulness. The Kingdom is a bridge to exaltation of the Father.
In the book of Titus (3:3-6), the Apostle Paul gives us a window into the Kingdom transformation. “For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But, when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our savior…”
Married Christian couples are designed by God to model Christ’s relationship with the church. Think of it this way. Marriage is intended to mimic the Kingdom. Marriage is a sacramental bridge to exaltation of the Father. Yet, very few of us yield to the “renewing of the mind” that the Apostle Paul admonishes (Romans 12:2) as necessary to prove God’s perfect will for us.
Genius marriage is in the DNA of every Christian marriage. It is our innate birthright as people of The Way. God, the Creator, has placed the seeds of creativity within every sacred marriage. Your job and mine is to cultivate those seeds in order to exalt Christ. When people see your marriage operate in its zone of genius they should feel as if they are getting a first-hand account of Christ. They should feel Christ’s presence and healing. Imagine this. When couples witness your marriage in action, it should serve the same purpose as a communion offering—sharing the body and blood of Christ. That is an awesome responsibility and opportunity.
If you and your spouse aspire to your Zone of Genius I hope that you will connect with us. And, we hope that you will consider joining a community of other aspiring genius marriages in the Eusebeia Weekend Experience where we are in pursuit of a genuine spiritual revival for marriage. Check us out at http://www.eusebeia1000.com.