Are You Loving Your Spouse by Performance or Faith?

Just about everything in our culture is designed to be evaluated through the lens of performance, whether good or bad. 

Growing up you felt validated if you had a good game and played well, or you brought home a test with an A+ on it, or you were selected to be the lead in the school play or picked first in the big PE dodgeball game. All these things, in a somewhat subliminal way, told you that you were accepted, affirmed, or loved.

But what happened when you had a bad game? Or you did not do as well on that big test or you were cut from the big school production, or picked last in PE? What did that communicate to you? You probably thought, “I’m not accepted, affirmed, or loved”.

These emotions and feelings are very real in a culture that places a high value on performance. We all relate to these emotions. We get trapped in the performance cycle because culture has taught us that’s where we find our value. Unfortunately this spills over into our relationships.

Emotional Rollercoaster of Performance

It makes complete sense that we would look to our spouse to “perform” for us and us for them! It is what we have been doing all of our lives in various ways. We look to other people for validation and approval. The only problem with this is that our acceptance, affirmation, and love for our spouse becomes conditional and dependent on their actions.

It places us on an emotional roller coaster ride. Ultimately this causes us to walk around disappointed with each other, unable to experience a thriving marriage. At the end of the day, we place too much pressure on each other to live up to things that we can’t live up to.

Flip the Script: Performance to Faith

At Christian Family Life, our desire is to help you flip this script. We want to challenge you as a couple to move your marriage from performance to faith. Living out each day in a faith-based relationship that will first and foremost glorify God and then encourage your spouse.

A performance-based marriage is easy to define, as you read earlier in this blog. A faith-based marriage is a little more difficult. Ultimately the idea is that we look to God, and not our spouse, to satisfy our every need. We love them by faith because of who God is not who they are. We look at it from a Biblical lens of “FAITH”.

5 Faith Principles

In our resource “Two Becoming One” we have five faith principles that help drive the focus on a faith-based marriage:

1.  By Faith we must commit to God’s purpose of reflecting His image, reproducing a Godly heritage, and reigning in spiritual warfare. (Genesis 1:26-28)

2.  By Faith we must receive our spouse from God as His personal provision for our individual needs. (Genesis 2:18-25)

3.  By Faith, we must daily commit to release the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives. (John 14:26)

4.  By Faith, we must submit to the only active and reactive biblical forces for change in marriage: agape love and blessing. (1 Peter 3:8-12)

5.  By Faith, we must seek God’s wisdom concerning our responsibilities of mutual love and respect. (Ephesians 5:21)

As you read through these faith principles you see that it has more to do with your own personal relationship with the Lord than it does with your spouse. When you understand God’s love and care for you on a personal level, you are able to extend that love to your spouse. If you are focused on yourself and your own desires, it will always translate to performance. If you are focused on God’s love to you and His will, it will generally translate to “FAITH Love”. 

Take time today to evaluate how you and your spouse are reacting to each other. If it leans more towards performance rather than faith, I challenge you today to spend some time with the Lord and ask Him to reveal to you what your heart is truly desiring. (Psalms 139:23-24)

Check out our podcast with more on this topic here!

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