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Trust the Holy Spirit will help you in marriage!

Trust the Holy Spirit will help you in marriage

Unfortunately, when it comes to our marriages we often feel alone. God’s standard for husbands and wives is so high that we ask, “Who is going to help me obey these commands?” The answer is the Holy Spirit will help you! Two words that summarize what it is like thinking about being the husbands and wives God commands us to be are “intimidating” and “overwhelming.”

  • As a husband, it is intimidating to think of being to your wife what Christ is to the church. If you are not intimidated by it, you do not understand what is expected of you.
  • As a wife, it is overwhelming to think of submitting to your husband as you should to the Lord. If we had to obey God’s commands on our own, we should feel not only overwhelmed or intimidated but completely hopeless. Because of a promise Jesus made us, though, we can feel hopeful.

Jesus told His disciples, “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). If you have embraced the gospel, then the Holy Spirit lives in you. You are not alone! The Holy Spirit will help you do what God has commanded you to do.

Be filled with the Spirit…so the Holy Spirit will help you!

The first half of Ephesians 5 is about living in the Spirit, and the second half is about marriage. This is fitting because if there is any area of the Christian life in which the Holy Spirit’s help is necessary, it is marriage. In Ephesians 5:18, the apostle Paul states:

Do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.

It might sound odd to compare drunkenness with being filled with the Spirit, but we can sum up Paul’s point with the word “influence.” People who are driving drunk are “driving under the influence.” Just as alcohol has the potential to influence, so does the Holy Spirit.

The Greek word for “be filled” is pleroo, which means “keep on being filled” or “stay filled” with the Spirit. Paul is talking about something that should be ongoing in the lives of believers. Christians need to allow—and trust—the Holy Spirit to influence them as husbands and wives. The following verses are promises from God’s Word. As you read them, consider how they apply to your marriage:

  • 2 Corinthians 9:8—God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
  • Philippians 2:13—It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
  • Ephesians 1:19–20—The exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead.
  • Hebrews 13:20–21—May the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.

Wouldn’t God want us to have strong marriages?

God gives us what we need to obey His commands. He is the One working in and through us to accomplish every good work. He makes this possible through the incomparably great power that raised Jesus from the dead. God wants us to be equipped to do what He has called us to do, and of all God wants from us, what could be more important than our relationships with our spouses?

Marriage is a reflection of Christ and the church. Does God want Christ and the church to have a great relationship? Absolutely! Does God want the world to witness Christian marriages that wonderfully represent Christ’s relationship with the church? Without a doubt! God has given us His indwelling Spirit to help make that happen.

When we become discouraged in our marriages, these are the truths that we need to remember. It is as if God has said, “The standard I have set for husbands and wives is high, but you do not have to do this alone. My Holy Spirit will help you. I would not command you to do something without also giving you what is necessary to obey.”

Discussion questions and activities for husbands and wives

  • Being the husbands and wives God commands us to be is intimidating and overwhelming. What other words would you use?
  • The first half of Ephesians 5 is about “living in the Spirit.” Considering the second half of Ephesians 5 contains the marriage passage, what is the significance of the instructions in the first half?
  • Read John 14:16, 26, and 16:7. What three areas of your marriage most need the Holy Spirit’s help?
  • Read 2 Corinthians 9:8 and Philippians 2:13:
    • What “good works” do you recognize in your marriage?
    • Which works are you more naturally inclined toward, and therefore they are easier for you?
    • Which works, or areas of your marriage, do you find to be more difficult, and therefore they:
      • Require more of God’s grace to abound toward you as 2 Corinthians 9:8 says?
      • Require more of God’s work in you as Philippians 2:13 says?
  • Read Ephesians 1:18–20 and Hebrews 13:20–21:
    • Using the language of these verses, what parts of your marriage seem dead and in need of resurrection? These could be your financial situation, intimacy, communication, or unity in parenting.
    • When considering the power discussed in these verses, what encouragement can you take away for these “dead” areas of your relationship?
  • Write down the above verses on index cards or sticky notes. Post them in places where you will see them frequently, such as a mirror, dashboard, a lampstand beside your bed, the hood over your stove, or inside your iPad cover. When you see them, pray for God to show you how you can change your marriage, through changing yourself—enabled and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

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13 thoughts on “Trust the Holy Spirit will help you in marriage!

  1. […] A pattern of unbroken sin is evidence of being unsaved (1 John 3:4-9). There’s a good chance that a husband who habitually looks at pornography isn’t saved. Pray for his salvation. As an unregenerate man there’s little chance he’ll develop victory over his addiction in his own effort. He needs the indwelling Holy Spirit helping him. […]

  2. Hey Scott, Loved this post. It is a great reminder about the importance of keeping the Godhead at the center of a marriage :-).

    1. Hi Matthew,
      Thank you very much my friend. I appreciate your ministry and hope you’re doing well!

    2. We are doing well, I’m starting the process of launching a new project I am finishing up and embracing God at work in our lives. Looking forward to seeing more.

  3. […] post discussed the Holy Spirit helping us in our marriages, but let’s introduce some balance. “I will help you” is very different […]

  4. Hey Scott, really appreciated this post. I love the way you give us specific scriptures, application questions and call us back to the basic truth that we’re not alone in our marriages. I ‘know’ this, but usually forget it in the thick of my real, everyday life. Thanks for a great reminder.

    1. Thank you Bryan.

      I appreciate the feedback on the post layout/contents. I made that change recently and wondered if it was appreciated.

      I’ve said from behind the pulpit before that often it’s not a case of us not knowing what to do. It’s a case of us needing to be reminded to do what we already know. I think this is one of the reasons the Bible is repetitive.

  5. I have found that allowing God’s Grace to flow through your spouse to you via the Holy Spirit is a MUST in marriage. It makes all the difference. (Not that we avoid all struggles!)

    I love that you include Scripture verses to use in discussion with your spouse. Sadly, I find it can be so easy to do Bible study with others of the same gender, but rarely your spouse. (Okay, maybe that’s MY issue….although the gender-based groups have their purpose, too.)

    1. Hi Laura,
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Yes, well said about the way God uses/works through our spouse in marriage.

      Hmm, I’m sorry to hear that about the difficulty of Bible reading with your spouse, but I’ve seen that too! Not just your issue!

  6. I agree that the Holy Spirit can definitely help you in marriage. We rarely argue, but sometimes when I am getting frustrated over something, I stop and say a prayer that God will help me know how to react. He leads me in the way I should go.

    1. Hi Tara,
      Thank you for reading and commenting. You “rarely argue with your husband.” Wow, I can tell you as a pastor, I don’t hear that often :).

      When your flesh wants to flare up (you’re getting frustrated), you’re handling it wonderfully by saying a prayer regarding how you should respond.

  7. Thank you for the practical discussion questions and activities. Very pertinent and helpful verses for our marriages! Since the Scripture does command us to continue being filled with the Holy Spirit, how would you say that looks like practically? In other words, yes God promises to give his born-again children grace to obey him, but how do I use that grace?

    1. Hi Aaron,
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      You said:

      Since the Scripture does command us to continue being filled with the Holy Spirit, how would you say that looks like practically? In other words, yes God promises to give his born-again children grace to obey him, but how do I use that grace?

      Great question!

      It’s interesting to see this from you considering the conversation that started taking place just this morning on another post I wrote called, “What does it mean to ‘be filled with the Spirit’?”

      This post would be my answer to your question. I hope you will check it out. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, and if you want to help encourage Melissa (the woman struggling with what it looks like to be Spirit-filled), I would appreciate it! You’ll see she thinks it meals sporadic movements, getting slain, flopping around, etc…or at least that’s what she’s been told, but she seems to be looking for the truth, which I appreciate! If you have some words to advice her that’d be great!

Do you have a question or thought? If so, please share!