If we are honest with ourselves, most of us don’t like being corrected or disciplined. Whether it comes from a parent, a supervisor, or a friend, learning to accept a rebuke and recognizing the value of correction is something most of us need to work on. Sometimes we receive discipline from someone who doesn’t love us, or in the very least, isn’t showing us love while they correct us. This can be tough! Conversely, never receiving any correction stunts our character growth. The challenge is to find people who will lovingly correct us.
What if God gave us someone to help us with this challenge? If you are married, He did! In his book, The Meaning of Marriage, Tim Keller explains the power of TRUTH working with LOVE:
“Love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us but keeps us in denial about our flaws. Truth without love is harshness; it gives us information but in such a way that we cannot really hear it. God’s saving love in Christ, however, is marked by both radical truthfulness about who we are and yet also radical, unconditional commitment to us….[A] good marriage will also be a place where we experience more of this kind of transforming love at a human level.”
The marriage relationship, empowered by the Holy Spirit, can help us become who God wants us to be. We were made to be people living on mission, making disciples who make disciples. God gave us marriage to help us become such people. How? Dating. Simply go on dates with your spouse. Ask your spouse to help you become who you know the Lord wants you to be. The following are five Bible verses explaining the power that can be found by dating your spouse:
- Date to Learn from Each Other
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,”
Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 2, that as believers, we have the mind of Christ. If your spouse is a believer, then learn from someone who has the wisdom of Almighty God ready to pour into you.
- Date to Encourage Each Other
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
The writer of Hebrews tells us not to neglect meeting together to encourage one another to love and to do good works. Why not go out for coffee each week and ask your spouse how you are doing at living out the mission God has given you?
- Date to Comfort Each Other
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
We don’t have to make every date a time of growth. Let’s be honest. Life is challenging. Sometimes our spouse just needs to be comforted during times of trial. When you notice that your spouse is going through a time of character growth, choosing to comfort them and walk through the trial with them will help you grow closer together.
- Date to Disciple Each Other
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
If the thought of discipling someone seems overwhelming to you, why not ask your spouse to help you with it? Agree to disciple each other. Ask each other two things you would like to do to grow closer to Jesus (e.g., reading the Bible daily, serving at church or in the community, praying, telling people about Jesus, etc.). Go out to lunch each week to check up on those goals. You could even study a book together on how to disciple people. I like Francis Chan’s book, Multiply. Soon, you will be a veteran discipler who is ready to make disciples who make disciples!
- Date to Help Each Other
“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.’”
God created marriage for a husband and wife to help one another. In the entirety of creation, there was nothing “fit” for Adam to help him live life. So God created Eve. Dating regularly helps us to connect with our spouse, asking how we can simply help them in life. Ask your spouse how you can serve them practically and be a blessing to them.
This week, commit to a healthy dating life with your spouse. Start with one date per week. Be purposeful during your dates to learn, encourage, comfort, disciple, and help each other. If you will do this, you will be amazed at the difference it will make in your marriage.