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When we think of qualities we want in a life-long relationship, "risk" is usually not one of the first words that come to mind. Instead, we want trust, stability, and love. But risk can support all of those things when we use it lovingly. It takes a leap of faith to decide to share your life with someone, and those leaps should continue once you join together. The Bible contains guidance on how to use risk in our lives, so let's look at how we can apply it to the context of marriage.
The Bible tells us it is important to "guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." (Proverbs 4:23) This means that we should turn from temptation and hold steadfast to God's Word. Guarding our hearts is vital in any relationship because we need to lift each other up. But all too often, we interpret "guard our hearts" as "put up a wall." In our attempt to block out darkness, we push love away as well. We justify fear as righteousness when we distance ourselves from the people we care about. In marriage, two become one, and neither should be left in the dark with their struggles, fears, or anxieties. It takes risk to trust in God and each other. When you or your spouse face struggles, your hand should be on theirs as you follow Jesus. To open up to someone else's vulnerability is a choice to show love.
One of the most common dysfunctions in any type of relationship is a fear of honesty. In marriage, open communication is the key to get through the rough times. It's scary to approach a difficult topic with someone you love when you don't know how they will react, or you are afraid it will "open a can of worms." But the longer unspoken thoughts linger, the more destructive they become. The Bible tells us to speak the truth to one another in love. When you talk to your spouse about choices they've made that hurt you or don't reflect Jesus, your words should not come from a place of judgment. You are in this together, and their pain is yours too. To overcome whatever hurdles your marriage faces, you can fill the gap with trust when you know that God holds your future in His hands.
"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ." - Ephesians 4:15
Society looks at marriage as "settling down," but really, "settle" is the wrong word. Marriage is a commitment to head into the “unsettled” times together. When we think stability is the primary goal of marriage, then we will react negatively toward change or even growth. Life isn't just one long journey; it's a series of journeys. New experiences are always fertile ground for growing and relating in new ways to others in our lives. And marriage is so much more than the accumulated amount of time you’ve spent together; it’s about the experiences you’ve had and how they have shaped you as a team. It's easy to get wrapped up in routine, with a specific picture of what you thought your life would look like. Yet, problems usually arise from our unwillingness to change. Married or not, we are created to move forward. That doesn't mean you are always staring straight ahead at the same goals; sometimes, we need to close doors to open new ones. In any relationship, new directions help us to learn more about each other.
Don't try to map out every detail of what married life should look like. Instead, look at God's design for marriage and pursue paths that will challenge you and your spouse to grow together. Whether it's in a new activity or a life-altering decision, marriage is a partnership where new strengths are found through change. There are times to build foundations and times to start fresh. The one constant is your love of Jesus and one another.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens..." - Ecclesiastes 3:1
Do you want to strengthen your marriage and walk with Jesus alongside other married couples? Check out our Marriage Course here!
Written Content Coordinator at Sun Valley Community Church. An avid writer since the age of 5, who loves to explore new ideas and places. Inspired by Jesus, books, and travel.