The Sweet Christian Bride

Guest Post by Reverend Danny Hall: Marriage as a Spiritual Discipline

by admin on May 10, 2012 in Faith, Pre-Marital Counseling, Vows with 7 Comments

Rev. Danny Hall talks to us today about marriage as a spiritual discipline.  Husband and wife who grasp this will stand side by side in the face of hardship.  If you missed Rev. Danny’s previous posts, click here.  You won’t want to miss them.


Marriage as a Spiritual Discipline

My earliest days as a follower of Jesus were marked by massive changes in just about every area of my life. This radical re-orientation included a change in calling, from law to ministry, and a change in colleges as I pursued this new direction. Shortly after arriving at my new school, I met the remarkable woman who would become my wife.  And now, thirty-seven plus years of marriage later, she is still the love of my life. In so many ways the unfolding of this story was, well, storybook.

About six months into married life, I remember lying in bed one morning overcome with an incredible weight in my soul as I faced the realization that for all the change I had gone through, I was still capable of being an absolute, selfish jerk. All these years later, I chuckle at my naïveté. How could I have possibly thought that I was beyond all that? The truth is that it took getting married for God to open my eyes to the depth of my need for His ongoing transformational grace. Living day after day with the same person exposes so much of our self orientation, but it also provides a laboratory for us to learn and grow more into the people we were created to be.

Because of this, I have come to see that marriage is one of our most important spiritual disciplines. When we think of spiritual formation or discipleship, we naturally think of certain disciplines or practices that are important components of our growth such as prayer and the Scripture study. Other practices like fasting, silence and solitude, and service are often mentioned. But what about our relationships? If the writer of Proverbs is right when he says that “iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another” (27:17), then shouldn’t we view our relationships as a key tool for growth in our faith journeys?

Unfortunately, in our highly consumeristic, disposable, me-first culture, we tend to run from things that are hard. For instance, I recently heard a talk by Dallas Willard on spiritual formation in which he lamented the fact that as soon as something gets tough at church people just leave and go to another church. He says that when things are hard is precisely when we need to stay because in the resolution of conflict and the working through of hard issues we grow.

The same is true in marriage. Things get tough and we run, if not toward separation and divorce, at least to some form of co-existence that is no real relationship of intimacy. We give up too easily. What if the hard times are gifts from God to form us? What if the commands for husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church and for wives to submit to and respect their husbands aren’t ideas that are archaic and burdensome, but rather are paths toward deeper and deeper trust in God?

Jesus taught us that to find true life we have to lose our lives. He Who provides the ultimate example of selfless, sacrificial love calls us into a way of living that is designed to lead us toward becoming fully human as God designed humanity. Our destiny through his grace is to be conformed into the image of Christ. He has placed at our disposal a variety of what many call the “means of grace.” I encourage you to consider how marriage fits into this plan.

In future posts we will unpack some of the particulars. For now, in order to explore this further, take some time to reflect on how God has used your fiancé or spouse to expose areas where you need to grow.  Share these with each other and pray for one another. Thank God for His transforming grace through marriage.

Serving as a missionary and pastor for 35 years, Danny Hall has had many opportunities to provide counseling for brides and grooms. A native of Atlanta, Danny has been married to his wife Ginger for 37 years. They have one son, Chris, and a daughter-in-law, Lindsay. He is currently Sr. Pastor at Valley Community Church in Pleasanton, California. He loves to read, ski, and support his beloved Atlanta Braves.

By Lindsay

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