Today I get the privilege of combining my two passions: marriage and worship. In addition to following marriage blogs, I also follow a bunch of worship blogs.
A while back I came across this message on the Brit blog called Worship Central. In addition to its application for me as a worship leader, I also thought immediately how the truth contained in this little blurb applies directly to marriage.
Watch the clip, but when you hear the term worship leader think of your role as a spouse, and when you hear worship team, substitute your marriage, and lastly, when you hear worship, think the way you love your spouse.
Culture vs. Strategy
I’m a planner and strategist by nature. My job as a product manager involves a lot of planning and strategy. I’m good at it. But what Nikki says about culture being more important than strategy is SO true. And sometimes I lose track of that fact.
There’s nothing wrong with planning or having deliberate strategies in your marriage. We need to have budgets. We need to plan vacations. We need to have strategies for dealing with conflict and stress.
But the truth is that one pound of culture is worth ten pounds of strategy. When the atmosphere of your marriage is right, planning and strategy become much easier, they become less critical, and they are certainly more effective.
So let’s look at the four cultural worship team principles from the video and apply them to marriage.
Serve with Gladness
A surrendered marriage is all about serving one another. When we have a culture of gladly serving and meeting our spouse’s needs, it makes the atmosphere satisfying, safe and enjoyable. The key here is “with gladness.” No one wants to be served reluctantly. Think about the last time you had a waiter that clearly did not enjoy waiting tables. Compare that experience to the last time you had one of those waiters that obviously loves what they do. It makes for an altogether different dining experience. Mediocre food with fantastic services is better than great food and an unpleasant waiter. It’s culture over strategy.
Give generously to your spouse, even to the point of discomfort. Two things happen when you give in a way that costs you something. First, it blesses the receiver even more. And second, it blesses you to know that you put your husband or wife ahead of your self. With the right attitude, sacrificial giving feels really good. It creates a culture of generosity and blessing instead of stinginess and self-centeredness. That’s an enjoyable culture.
Encourage and Esteem
How you speak to one another greatly affects the atmosphere in your home and marriage. There’s a rule of thumb I’ve heard that says seven positive statements have the same emotional impact as one negative one. Be watchful over your words, your tone, and your body language when you communicate. Make it a habit to speak into the things you want to see rather than the things you see that you don’t like. Having a culture of honor means speaking respectfully at all times, freely expressing admiration, and each valuing the other for who God sees them to be.
Seek First the Kingdom
A marriage built on the principles of the Kingdom of God has an unshakable foundation. Keep God at the center of all you do. Pray together. Talk about what God is doing in your marriage. Remind your spouse of who God says they are. Speak the truth in love. Keep in mind that often times Kingdom principles are the opposite of what the world says, so it isn’t necessarily easy or natural. Having a Kingdom culture takes a conscious effort.
Take some time this week to give some conscious attention to the culture of your marriage. Talk together about the four areas mentioned here and identify ways you would like to improve the atmosphere in your relationship. And to do that you might need to develop some strategies and make some plans.