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Help the Holy Spirit while He helps you in your marriage

Help the Holy Spirit while he helps you in your marriage

Last post discussed the Holy Spirit helping us in our marriages, but let’s introduce some balance. “I will help you” is very different from “I will do everything.” The Holy Spirit helps us, but we still have responsibilities. The Holy Spirit is not going to supernaturally take control of a marriage when the individuals involved are not committed to putting forth the necessary effort. So help the Holy Spirit while he helps you!

The apostle Paul reveals the relationship in Ephesians 2:10: “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” God prepared good works for us, but we have to “walk in them.” We do not want to miss out on what God wants to do in our marriage because we are being lazy or selfish. Consider the responsibilities placed on our shoulders elsewhere in the New Testament:

  • Romans 13:13–14—Let us walk properly . . . Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
  • Colossians 3:12–14—Put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; [bear] with one another, and [forgive] one another . . . Put on love, which is the bond of perfection.

Note the calling we are given to walk, put on, make no provision for, bear with, and forgive.

How do we help the Holy Spirit while He helps us?

What does this look like in practical terms? How does the Holy Spirit’s help work with our free will? Here are some examples.

  • Husband, you normally plop yourself down on the couch next to your wife, but the Holy Spirit has been compelling you to be more affectionate. So the next time you sit next to your wife, you put your arm around her. The Holy Spirit has also been leading you to be a better listener. Instead of simply hearing your wife speak, this time you nod and verbally affirm what she says. Perhaps even paraphrase her words to validate her sentiments. Since she is not used to this, your wife will notice and appreciate the extra effort.
  • Wife, you are riding in the car with your husband when you notice the low fuel light come on. Normally you point this out and “remind” him until he pulls into a gas station. Though he does not like this, you think it beats running out of gas. Lately, however, the Holy Spirit has been directing you to trust your husband, so this time you simply mention it and let it go. He pulls into a station, and since you have had a habit of telling him what to do, he notices the difference and is pleasantly surprised. Maybe at the pump he even says, “Thank you for not repeatedly telling me to pull over!”

In each case, the spouse would do well to verbalize his or her appreciation for the changed behavior.

These are only simple examples of how the Holy Spirit works with us. Look for other ways in your daily life with your spouse! Be submissive and receptive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Consider this encouraging verse that ties these thoughts together: “To this end I labor, according to [God’s] working which works mightily in me” (Colossians 1:29).

The apostle Paul was discussing working side by side with God to accomplish His work. Similarly, we should see ourselves working side by side with God in our marriages. Yes, we labor to be the husbands and wives He wants us to be. But what an encouragement that while we are laboring, He also “works mightily in” us.

Discussion questions and activities for husbands and wives

  • Read Romans 13:13-14. List three ways you are “making provision” for your flesh.
  • Provide three practical examples of how the Holy Spirit might compel you to treat your spouse better.
  • Since it’s so important to verbalize your appreciation for your spouse’s changed behavior, provide three examples of ways your spouse has tried to change.

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17 thoughts on “Help the Holy Spirit while He helps you in your marriage

  1. […] not have enough time for my wife and children, but that was only a symptom. The problem was that I would not obey the Holy Spirit’s conviction to put my family ahead of the church, make my wife a priority, spend more time with my children, […]

  2. Great post. This is something we all need to put in practice. I find that my walking and working with Holy Spirit is unconditional so I don’t do it if my hubby does it first. I listen to Holy Spirit in my marriage because I love and honor God. I really love that you wrote this. It is key to our marriages.

    1. Hi Ailie,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad my post ministered to you.

      I’m sorry, but your comment confused me a little. You said:

      my walking and working with Holy Spirit is unconditional so I don’t do it if my hubby does it first.

      What did you mean exactly by this statement?

  3. Hi Scott! I like the hands-on way you presented this. The examples are wonderful and the one about pointing something out repeatedly, ahem, lol! This guide you’ve given is very helpful, thank you!

    1. Hi Edith,
      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Yes, that seems to be a struggle that’s common to women, while men struggle with stubbornness :). Thanks for your humility in making a joke about it.

    2. Happy Easter to you and your family.

    3. Thank you Edith. You too!

  4. Great, practical post, Scott. I really love your application questions. They are so down to earth, and simple. They really get to the heart of the ways that we can change a marriage for the better day by day. And, yes, to have a truly Godly marriage, we need to rely on the Holy Spirit.

    1. Hi Kathleen,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’ve gotten quite a bit of feedback on the application questions, so I’ll definitely keep doing them! They’re new, and I wondered how they’d be received. I’m glad to know :).

  5. It is a good reminder that the Holy Spirit directs us even in our marriages. We need to listen! I also like how you remind us to acknowledge when we see our spouse trying to make changes. We all need encouragement, but especially from those we love the most. Those are the ones we most often neglect.

    1. Hi Tara,
      That’s a good point that sometimes those we’re closest to get the worst of us. We take them for granted, which as you said leads to neglect.

      Katie has told me how discouraging it can be when she works hard to change and I don’t recognize it.

  6. I love the suggestions on discussion for husbands and wives. In my own marriage I find that discussing how we have changed and how we are attempting to change helps us to see life from each others perspectives. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Also, thanks for the feedback on the discussion questions. I just started adding those recently, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the positive response.

  7. It never ceases to amaze me, that the more time I spend in prayer, listening, and meditating on God’s word, the more the Spirit clearly guides me, and my soul longs to obey.

    1. Hi Marissa,
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      I’m glad to hear your time in prayer and God’s Word has been so fulfilling.

  8. Great post. The Holy Spirit is referred to time and time again as the “helper” not the “doer.” Yes he changes us, but he does it through prompting, we need to be willing to recieve, and that means we need to take action. When we feel a prompting we need to act on it or we lose touch with the spirits guiding.

    1. Mikey,
      That’s a great observation about the Holy SPirit’s title. Truthfully, I wish I would’ve put that in the post :). Hopefully people will read your comment.

      I think this is why in Ephesians 5 Paul makes a connection between drunkenness and the Holy Spirit: as alcohol has the potential to influence us (or prompt as you said), so does alcohol have the potential to influence.

      God bless and thanks again!

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