From Kathy and Kathy: As we’ve studied God’s Word and ways, sometimes there’s been an insight that has changed the trajectory of our thinking or expanded our hearts. It’s brought wonder at God’s wisdom and appreciation for His design laws.
We’re going to share some of these with you this year, followed by a listening prayer opportunity. If an idea is new to you and rings true, you’ll be able to ask God how it could make a difference for you. What if, moving forward, you planted these seeds of truth and watched them grow in your life? Would they bring breakthrough, freedom, or peace? Would your heart become more like God’s? Give them a try and experience the possibilities!
We’ll call this series:
What if . . .
My heart jumped as I heard the question from a participant at the marriage seminar. I was part of a panel on the YWAM (Youth With A Mission) base in Battambang, Cambodia, and the audience was made up of young singles and married couples interested in learning more about God’s design for marriage.
“My husband wants to spend every Christmas celebration with his family, and I want to be with my family,” voiced a newly married woman. “They live in different cities, and we can’t figure this out.”
Conviction rose up in me, but I looked at my friends on the panel to be sure no one else wanted to speak. Then I said something like: “In God’s eyes, marriage is a covenant relationship. As Christians, once we are married, there is no more your family and my family. There is only our family.
“Marriage is based on the covenants men made in Old Testament times. They pledged themselves to one another: ‘Your family is now my family, your friends are my friends, and your enemies are my enemies. Your debts are my debts, your assets are my assets, and what I have I share with you.’
“When we marry, we receive our spouse’s family as our own. We give them the same honor and respect we want given to our family. We may need to stand up to parents who demand we be with them every holiday and explain that we now have two families and will take turns being with each. The question becomes how to honor both families as well as our new family.”
Looking back, I think my husband and I did a pretty good job of living this way, but when I understood the concept of his family being my family, my heart attitude shifted. Instead of your family and my family, it became your side of our family and my side of our family. It’s subtle, but powerful.
Inner frustration, irritation, or divisiveness have no room to grow as I honor God’s design and heart for family and marriage. While my family of origin’s quirks are normal to me, I realize they can be challenging for someone who didn’t grow up with them! And I can accept the habits of another family.
When I think of my mother-in-law as my mother, I am more protective of her as well as glad to help. When I honor my father-in-law as my father, respect rises up for all that is good. I can say with all sincerity, “You are my family.”
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother,
and the two shall become one flesh;
so they are no longer two, but one flesh.
–Matthew 10:7-8 (NASB)
Honor your father and your mother,
so that your days may be prolonged
on the land which the LORD your God gives you.
Try it out . . .
Pray: Lord, through the covenant of marriage, I see Your plan is for my spouse’s family to be my family. Whether I am married or single, I come into agreement with Your design for family and marriage.
God, I give You access to this part of my heart and ask You to grow my love for my spouse’s entire family (or to prepare my heart to love my future spouse’s family). If I have not honored them in the way You had planned, I want to change. Show me, Lord, what happens with this new way of thinking. (Take a few minutes and sense God’s heart in this matter.)
Now, Lord, I pause and listen to anything else You want me to remember—about covenant relationships, honor, or marriage–or any attitude you ask me to change. Thank you that You are able to transform my thinking and actions when I ask.
(Then, take time to pray blessings over family members the Lord brings to mind.)