6 Callings God Has For Every Marriage

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Aaron and I wanted the first episode to be something that every couple can evaluate in their marriage. These are foundational for every marriage after God. I will share here the 6 callings God has for your marriage as well as the verses we used in this episode. Be sure to watch or listen too!

6 Callings God Has For Your Marriage:

1. Prayer
…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
2. Love
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:37-40
3. Forgive
…bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” Colossians 3:13
4. Trust

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

5. Purity
Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Hebrews 13:4
6. Generosity
 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

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Aaron Smith: We’re Aaron and Jennifer Smith with Marriage After God … Jennifer Smith: … helping you cultivate an extraordinary marriage. Aaron Smith: Today we’re going to be talking about God’s calling for your marriage. Lots of people think they have a calling, or don’t know what their calling might be, but we believe that there are six callings that every Christian marriage has, and we’re here to share them with you. Jennifer Smith: So, Aaron, before we get started, can you just explain a little bit about what does it mean to have a calling? What does it mean when you hear the word I have a calling on my marriage? Like, so people understand what we’re saying. Aaron Smith: Just growing up in the church, we’ve all heard this idea of our calling, and a lot of times it’s our individual calling, like what’s God called … ? Am I a missionary? Am I going to be starting a church? Am I going to be a pastor? Am I going to be a worship leader? There’s all these finite things that people might feel called to. But when it comes to our marriage, do we believe our marriage has a calling? And we believe every marriage has a specific calling- Jennifer Smith: A specific purpose- Aaron Smith: … a specific purpose- Jennifer Smith: … that God’s going to use them for. Aaron Smith: Yeah, based in their unique giftings, talents, position in life, that God wants to use in those marriages, for his purposes. But that might be vague for some people, and some marriages might be thinking, “Well, what’s my purpose?” So what we thought we’d do is sit down and share with you six callings that we believe every Christian marriage is called to. These are callings that God has for your marriage today, whether you know what the specific calling is from God, and in the ministry that God has for your marriage as a couple, these callings are for every Christian marriage. There’s more than this, but we picked out the six that we love the most and that we’ve kind of walked through in our life. So this gives you a place to start in marriage and say, “Okay, God already has a calling for us. We don’t have to guess or we don’t have to pretend we don’t know or not know how to figure out where to get that calling.” You can actually start today and say, “Oh, this is … at least we know these callings, that God has for us.” Jennifer Smith: That’s really cool. I’m so excited to jump in. I just want to encourage you listening, if you, as we go through each six, if you could just take evaluation of your marriage and see if you guys are already fulfilling these callings in your life, or if you’re not, if these are areas that you’re wrestling with or struggling with, then hopefully our encouragement today will help you step up in those areas. Aaron Smith: Yeah, and you can let us know in the comments what areas that you think you’ve already been walking in, you’re like, “Oh,” and you never saw them as callings. Or you can let us know areas that you didn’t recognize, that you needed to be walking in. Let us know in the comments. We like to read through those. So let’s get started. We’re going to start. We have six of them. The first calling that every Christian marriage has is to prayer, and this could be together or separate. It should eventually be together, but some of you might not be able to do that. But let me read the verse that goes with this. Philippians 4:6-7, and it says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to god. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Every marriage, every Christian marriage, has a calling to pray, and that seems easy. It seems like the easy Bible answer, but I want to talk a little bit about this, real quick, from our own life, and I have a question for you. How would say prayer has played a role in our marriage? Jennifer Smith: Well, I would say it was significant in saving our marriage, for sure. We started out in our relationship with praying for each other and praying for the purpose that God had for our marriage. Aaron Smith: We prayed every night during our dating years. Jennifer Smith: Yeah, and throughout our engagement. Aaron Smith: Yeah. Jennifer Smith: And then even through our marriage, and when we hit that hard spot in our marriage, when we were contemplating divorce and just were both really isolated from each other- Aaron Smith: And broken and frustrated, yeah. Jennifer Smith: … and broken, you were really adamant about prayer. So every night, you were still praying for us. My heart was a little bit harder towards God and I was really frustrated and wrestling with the issues that we were facing, but you were faithful to prayer and- Aaron Smith: Which was hard. For all the husbands watching, my prayers started off very hopeful in the first few years of my marriage, and eventually got very angry and bitter, but I still prayed because I had that foundation in my heart, and I was like, “No, this is the only way I see us getting healing,” and so I kept praying. You actually got to a point where you stopped praying. Jennifer Smith: Yeah, we used to pray together every night, and then slowly I just kind of faded out and listened to your payers, still participated but didn’t pray as much. Aaron Smith: Right. Jennifer Smith: But I will say that your faithfulness in praying every night really helped me to embrace God and come back to him, to turn my heart back to him, and to trust him because I knew that you trusted Him. So that did play a big role in saving our marriage. Aaron Smith: Yeah, so prayer’s a little ominous for a lot of Christians, which it shouldn’t be, but there’s no classes on prayer. I know some churches probably have that, but it’s not like a … We just assume, like, “Oh, prayer’s supposed to be easy to us.” You know, what would you say are some … ? Is prayer just talking to God? Is it like you have the right words and you have … you bring in scripture at the right time in the prayer? Is there any … ? Like, how does it look in our marriage? What does prayer look like for us? Jennifer Smith: Well, how I’ve always viewed it is it’s just our way of communicating with God, so it’s basically opening up our hearts and just sharing what’s on our hearts and what’s on our minds, and sharing it with God. What’s really cool about what I’ve experienced through praying with you, is that not only are we submitting everything to God and asking for his guidance in our relationship, but every once in a while there’s a compliment in there about me when you’re praying, and thanking God for me, and- Aaron Smith: Well, when you hear me pray for you, you actually hear my heart for you. Jennifer Smith: Yeah, exactly. I get to hear your heart for me, and that affirms me, and it affirms my relationship with you, so that’s been a huge encouragement. But I think that people can get really overwhelmed when they think about prayer and going to God and overthinking it. Aaron Smith: Right. Jennifer Smith: You know, feeling like it has to be done perfectly, and it doesn’t. Aaron Smith: So you’re saying that the couples that are watching now could start today? Jennifer Smith: They can start today. Aaron Smith: They can just say, “Okay, Lord, I don’t know what I’m saying to you, but I want help,” or, “Thank you,” and it could be as simple as that. Jennifer Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Aaron Smith: Yeah, so we encourage you. So the first calling that every Christian marriage has is to prayer, and this means together. Some of you might be married and your spouse, your husband or your wife is not a believer, or is where my wife was, in a place where she’s kind of angry or bitter, or they’re angry or bitter. You can still pray without them, for them, and with them, and over them. So don’t let a disunity keep you from prayer because you have a unity with Christ. And Christ, as our mediator, gives us direct access to the throne of God, that we can actually open up our hearts and we can pray directly to God. We don’t need a high priest anymore because we have Christ, who is our perfect high priest. So we just want to encourage you today. You can actually start praying today, whether together or individually. Start praying today. Jennifer Smith: Yeah, and if you’re doing it individually, which is great, every once in a while, invite your spouse to pray with you, or say, “Hey, I’d love to pray for you. Can you give me a list? Can you give me like five things that I can really focus on.” I know that that’s super helpful. Aaron Smith: And I know it’ll totally bless them, too. Jennifer Smith: Yeah. Aaron Smith: I just want to bring this quote up, that our pastor always says to us, “Prayer isn’t preparation for the battle, prayer is the battle.” So we don’t look at prayer as, like, well, that’s a supplementary thing that we do for our faith, or it’s something that we do only when it’s really bad. Prayer is the battle, and we’re in a spiritual warfare every day, against our own flesh, against the enemies in the world and in the spirit. And so prayer, we need to go to battle on our knees in prayer, in praying for the things that we care about, and praying for the things that we are concerned about, and going to our Father and saying, “Lord, we need your mind on this, we need your heart on this, we need your help on this.” So prayer is the first calling that every Christian marriage has. Okay, so what’s the next calling that every Christian marriage has? Jennifer Smith: Okay, so the next one is love, and I want to share a scripture but it’s probably not the one you’re thinking. Most people go straight to 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, which defines what love is, which is great, but today I’m going to share Matthew 22:37-40, which says, “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.'” So contrary to how culture will tell us that love is a feeling and love is something that we … Aaron Smith: Fall into. Jennifer Smith: … fall into, God is saying that love is a command. He commands us to love him, and he commands us to love our neighbor, or in this case, in regards to marriage, our spouse. Aaron Smith: Yeah, and so for all the marriages out there, your calling, our calling is to love. Not just love each other, because it says love your neighbor as yourself, that’s the second and greatest commandment. Because my wife is my closest neighbor, I am her closest neighbor, we practice loving our neighbors by loving each other well. And then the second part of this is that, as a couple, we love the Lord with all of our hearts, minds, soul and strength. So if you’re sitting out there, wondering what your calling in life is, this is a amazing calling, is to love each other well and to love God. Jennifer Smith: Yeah, and I just want to share that, because of the way our culture is very self focused, especially in marriage, we can get caught up in thinking that, “I can’t love you right now because you’re not loving me,” and that can just cause a crazy cycle to happen. I know we’ve experienced it before. Aaron Smith: Yeah. In the beginning of our marriage, because I wasn’t living up to the high expectations you had for me, you would just withhold all of your love. You would- Jennifer Smith: Yeah, so I would get really frustrated because I- Aaron Smith: You would tell me. Jennifer Smith: Yeah. I had all these expectations of romantic love and these grand gestures of you showing me love- Aaron Smith: Right. Jennifer Smith: … and I relied on you to initiate all of that. And when you didn’t do it, I didn’t want to do it. Aaron Smith: And you wouldn’t initiate it, because you were expecting, like, that’s what my husband does. He’s going to pursue me and he’s going to do all the loving. And I’m sitting over there thinking, like, my wife’s not even pursuing me, why would I give her love? Now, we were both wrong because we both were commanded to love each other. I was commanded more specifically from Ephesians 5:23, I am supposed to love you, but we’re supposed to walk in love the way the Bible tells us to. Jennifer Smith: Right. Aaron Smith: So we were totally dropping the ball on that calling in our life, and it’s only been the last three, four years that we’ve been learning to actually walk in that calling for us. Jennifer Smith: In that command. Aaron Smith: And what happens when you start walking in that calling, just with each other, as most areas of marriage, in a Christian marriage, we start loving each other more biblically and more authentically and we start pursuing each other more. So what happens is we have extra in us to … Jennifer Smith: … love others. Aaron Smith: So then we can actually, instead of you just always constantly thinking, “I’m not getting what I need,” you have more than enough and you actually have the energy, I have the energy and the love available, to be able to sit and love our other neighbors. Jennifer Smith: Right. Aaron Smith: Our friends, our family. So that’s where that calling gets even wider- Jennifer Smith: Yeah. Aaron Smith: … is showing that love to the world, so … Jennifer Smith: There was a turning point in our marriage, where I felt like we really began to understand God’s command on love, but also the way that he set the example for unconditional love- Aaron Smith: Right. Jennifer Smith: … and I wanted you to share a little bit about your vision of being with Jesus in the garden, just a really brief version. Aaron Smith: So, just really briefly, when we were at our breaking point in our marriage, I felt the Lord bring me a vision of Jesus being in the Garden of Gethsemane before he goes to the cross. I remember God showing me Jesus weeping and, as it were, great tears of blood because he was so anguished over what he was about to go through. We’ve all heard the story, we know exactly what it’s about and we understand it, but I felt like God showed me a new perspective on it, and he was saying like … because in the garden, Jesus three times said, “Lord, let this cup pass for me,” the cup of wrath, essentially, is what he’s saying. Jennifer Smith: He knew what he was about to do, and he knew who he was doing it for. Aaron Smith: Yeah, who was he doing it for? His bride. So, essentially, what he was saying is, “Lord, I don’t want to die for my bride, because this is too painful.” Jennifer Smith: Especially knowing that part of his bride would reject him, or not- Aaron Smith: Or spit on him. Jennifer Smith: … want him, yeah. Aaron Smith: Or turn away from him. Instead of what he wanted, in his flesh … because his flesh was saying, “I don’t want to do this,” … his spirit submitted to the Lord in his will for her. He said not my will be done, but your will be done. Jennifer Smith: And he did it. Aaron Smith: And so he went to the cross anyway, for a broken and filthy bride, an adulteress bride, knowing that that was what God’s will for him was, and that’s how he was going to love us. Jennifer Smith: So here you are, already married to me, three years in … Aaron Smith: Yeah, and I feel like I had a choice, but the choice was this, was, in my flesh I was saying, “Lord, I can’t do this,” and God was saying, “Sure, you can, because Jesus did it.” Jennifer Smith: Not your will, but mine. Aaron Smith: Not your will, but my will be done. So God’s will is that I would love my wife anyway. If my wife never gave me what I feel like I deserve or what she’s supposed to give me, I should be able to love her, still, through the Holy Spirit. Jennifer Smith: We were in church, it had just gotten out so people were scurrying all over the place, and we were just standing in the middle of the sanctuary and you were crying, telling me all of this and- Aaron Smith: I had something in my eye. Jennifer Smith: Yeah, sure. Aaron Smith: I wasn’t crying. Jennifer Smith: But right there, we committed to walking, as Jesus walked, in unconditional love for each other, regardless- Aaron Smith: If nothing ever changed- Jennifer Smith: Yeah. Aaron Smith: … in our physical issues that we were having. Jennifer Smith: Yeah. Aaron Smith: And you know what changed? Jennifer Smith: Our hearts. Aaron Smith: Everything. Jennifer Smith: Yeah, everything changed. Aaron Smith: Our hearts changed and our hearts melted. The Bible calls our hearts stone and he takes our hearts of stone and he turns them to hearts of flesh. I feel like that’s what he did, in that moment, was turn my heart from a heart of stone, and your heart from a heart of stone, to a heart of flesh. That’s the power of the calling of love in our life. Jennifer Smith: Exactly, and our obedience to this command is not reliant upon what other people are doing, especially your spouse. So our encouragement to you guys today is to love anyways, and to love unconditionally, and to let- Aaron Smith: It’s your calling. Jennifer Smith: Yeah, it’s your calling. Aaron Smith: Yeah. So let’s move onto the third calling. We have three more after this. So the third calling that every Christian marriage has is to forgive. This is a hard one. I’m going to read the scripture, it’s Colossians 3:13. There’s lots of scriptures on forgiveness. I’m not going to even read the harder ones. I’m just going to read this one. So Colossians 3:13 says this, “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” So just like that last command to love, forgiveness is a command. Forgiveness is not an option for the believer, especially in marriage. We don’t get to choose not to forgive. We don’t get to say, “Well, my wife wronged me so badly that I don’t have to forgive her.” Well, it’s actually a command to forgive, and I always tell myself … because when we were going through what we were going through, I felt like I didn’t have to forgive you, and there was a lot of things that I did, that you just held onto, and you’re like, “I can’t forgive you for that.” Jennifer Smith: I didn’t want to forgive you, no. Aaron Smith: You didn’t want to forgive me. And you know what the Lord showed me? Showed us? Who are we to hold forgiveness against anyone? For what God forgave me of, and the patience that God had with me, how dare I withhold forgiveness from anyone? Especially my bride, who is one with me. So technically, if I withhold forgiveness from my bride, I’m withholding forgiveness from myself because she is me and I am her. But we did this. It was so destructive. It was not a oneness, it was complete disorder. And just think about this, the calling in your life to forgive your spouse, you have nothing else in you to withhold against your spouse that you did not do to Christ, himself. Now, when Christ died on the cross, he forgave all sin, just like that. The thing that he was praying that he could have the cup passed for him, he did anyway. He drank that cup, every last drop of it, the cup of the wrath that we deserved. That doesn’t mean we don’t repent. It doesn’t mean that things that happen to us don’t actually hurt us, and that it doesn’t take time to learn to trust again, and that it doesn’t take time to figure out how to walk with each other and get back into oneness and unity, but that does not mean we get to not forgive. So if you’re wondering what your calling is in your marriage, as a marriage, it’s forgiveness, towards each other and towards others. So I have a question, has it been easy for you to forgive me? Jennifer Smith: Not in the beginning. There’s definitely been times where forgiveness was too painful to accept in my heart. Aaron Smith: I just thought of something. What was it that you were afraid it would mean, if you forgave me? Remember, there was something you used to say? Jennifer Smith: Do we want to say what, specifically, we’re talking about, in regards to- Aaron Smith: No. Jennifer Smith: Okay. Aaron Smith: There was a reason you withheld forgiveness, and you were afraid of me not changing. You were afraid of, like, if you forgave me … Jennifer Smith: Then you would just have the freedom to do it again, or … Aaron Smith: Right, and so you would withhold that forgiveness because you used it as a tool to control the situation. Jennifer Smith: Well, I wanted you hurt like I was hurting. Aaron Smith: Exactly. Jennifer Smith: I thought if I withheld forgiveness, then you would feel the pain of not being reconciled. Aaron Smith: Right. So you were breaking this command in your heart because you thought that you had the right to, because of what I did, but in reality we don’t, right? Jennifer Smith: Yeah, we don’t. Aaron Smith: We don’t have the right to withhold forgiveness from anyone. There’s another verse that’s terrifying, and we’ll put it in the comments, in the description below, but it essentially says if you don’t forgive … Jennifer Smith: Your Father won’t forgive you. Aaron Smith: And that is terrifying. Jennifer Smith: Yeah. Aaron Smith: So this third calling for every Christian marriage is to walk in forgiveness. Jennifer Smith: And to encourage you, what I’ve experienced with us is the more you practice forgiveness, and your heart is motivated toward reconciliation, the easier it becomes, because you have this bigger picture of what it means to forgive and why it’s so valuable for oneness in marriage. Aaron Smith: Right. So why don’t we move onto the fourth calling that every Christian marriage has? Jennifer Smith: So the fourth one is trust, and I feel like it goes hand in hand with forgiveness, because in order to trust again, you have to be able to forgive- Aaron Smith: It’s true. Jennifer Smith: … and reconcile, and experience oneness and intimacy again. But I know that for a lot of marriages, trust is a big issue, and it’s really hard once you’ve been sinned against or hurt, to extend that trust and rebuild it again. Aaron Smith: Yeah, and so I would encourage one thing, is this is not a calling to just blindly trust. When I would wrong you, in things that I was walking in, right, and I broke your trust, your calling wasn’t to just be like, “Well, I’m just going to trust you again.” Your calling was to forgive me, and your calling was to reconcile with me, and to walk with me as we grow towards oneness again and heal, right. Jennifer Smith: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Aaron Smith: But what were you supposed to trust in, in that season? Jennifer Smith: No matter what, I was supposed to trust God. Aaron Smith: With what? Jennifer Smith: With my heart, and with you. That he was working in your life- Aaron Smith: Right. Jennifer Smith: … and that he was there to help us. Aaron Smith: And that was actually hard for you, because the first four and a half years of our marriage, you didn’t trust God. Jennifer Smith: No, it was definitely a learning curve. Aaron Smith: So it was impossible for you to trust me. I mean, I didn’t give her a reason to trust me, but you didn’t trust God, you didn’t trust me, you didn’t even trust your own emotions. Jennifer Smith: I think that’s why I felt so lonely and I felt so … Aaron Smith: Right. Jennifer Smith: I just felt so alone in what we were facing as a couple, because I felt like I wasn’t connected with you, and then I felt disconnected from God, so there was a lot of mistrust, and not having that really hindered my ability to experience intimacy with both of you. Aaron Smith: And trusting God, with your spouse, puts you on the right path of the spirit of God, helping you trust again. Because as you see God work in your spouse as you pray, and as you forgive, you start seeing the transformations and you say, “Okay, Lord, I can trust you. I can trust my spouse with you, I can trust me with you, and I can trust my marriage with you. And so I’m just going to walk in the things that you’ve asked me to because I trust you, Father.” Jennifer Smith: And a foundational verse for trust, and especially trusting God, is Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths.” And I had to lean on this verse, especially in regards to our marriage, because I felt like I had all this understanding of what I should do as a wife, and how I should respond to my husband, but I couldn’t lean on my own understanding. Every time I was faced with this verse, I had to remind myself, I can’t do that. Aaron Smith: Right. Jennifer Smith: I need to be able trust God and- Aaron Smith: Well, and your understanding kept you from being able to trust me, and kept you from trusting God because you’re like, “I just don’t understand-” Jennifer Smith: Yeah, and kept me from reconciling with you- Aaron Smith: Right. Jennifer Smith: … because my understanding lacked … Aaron Smith: The spirit of God. Jennifer Smith: … the spirit of God. Aaron Smith: Yeah. Jennifer Smith: It really did. It was selfish. Aaron Smith: Yeah, right. Jennifer Smith: It was very selfish. I was trying to preserve myself and protect myself, instead of re-engaging with you and trusting that God was going to walk us … bring us to a better place. Aaron Smith: Well, and going into the word of God and into prayer, and actually battling for me and being my helper, because you were just thinking, like, “No, I’ve been hurt, so I’m not going to try.” Jennifer Smith: Yeah. There’s this picture that I see when I think about trust in a marriage relationship and I hope that this encourages you guys, but it’s this idea of all the walls in a person’s heart, that we’ve built up over time. Every brick that is placed to build that wall will keep your spouse out of your heart. The whole idea of oneness is to understand each other and to know each other intimately, and you can’t do that unless you bring those walls down, so this picture of taking these bricks down from these walls in your heart and building a bridge to close that gap and to allow connectedness, bring you guys together. Aaron Smith: Right. Which could take a lifetime, to break those walls down, but through the Holy Spirit, could happen overnight. Jennifer Smith: True. Aaron Smith: So we just, we encourage you guys, in your marriage, to take up that calling of trust, and trusting God with your spouse and your marriage, and seeking his word on how you should live, and how you should be, and how you should act towards each other and towards outsiders, and walk in that, and you’ll see what will happen. You’ll see, like, what we’ve experienced is freedom. Jennifer Smith: Yeah. Aaron Smith: Freedom from the bondage of our own desires, our own misunderstandings, our own- Jennifer Smith: Sin. Aaron Smith: … sin. Which brings us to the fifth calling for your marriage, and it is purity. In Hebrews 13, verse 4, it says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” I did not do this. I totally broke unity with my wife, often. I had dealt with pornography my entire life. I thought marriage would fix it, and it didn’t, of course. I’m sure a lot of you out there, that are watching this, could understand this, but I walked, actually, worse in it during the first few years of our marriage, and that, by itself, broke unity, spiritually unprotected you and us, brought in all sorts of filth into our home, brought in filth into my mind, made me see my wife in a broken way. It encouraged you to have lack of trust with me, rightfully. It made it hard for you to forgive me, rightfully. Jennifer Smith: Made me not want to be with you, physically. Aaron Smith: It made you not want to pray with me. Jennifer Smith: Made [crosstalk 00:24:43]. Aaron Smith: So all the things that we’ve been talking about, that are callings in our life, my daily decisions hindered from making it easy and possible for us to do. That doesn’t mean that they’re not callings, still, for us, but my own impurity, my own walking in filth, my porn addiction- Jennifer Smith: Hindered all those other callings. Aaron Smith: … hindered all of those other callings, which, when we’re walking in that sort of sin … and I know there’s a lot of marriages watching this that are dealing with that, either both or one of the spouses is dealing with pornography on a daily basis, is walking in this unrepentant sin … and it literally is going to not just bring death to your home, because the Bible tells us that our sin will find us out, and sin leads to death when it’s full-grown. And we had spiritual death in our marriage. Praise God that he was patient with us and kind to us and extended grace and mercy, and I just always think about his patience because of how long I was walking in that, and how he didn’t just destroy us, because he totally could have. Jennifer Smith: Yeah. Aaron Smith: And it almost did destroy our marriage. But purity, and walking in all these other things, make our marriages into a ministry. But when we’re not walking in purity, we have zero authority. I had no authority to lead my wife. I had no authority to lead myself. I couldn’t sit with another brother in Christ and say, “Hey, let me encourage you. Let me walk you through this,” because I was completely walking in unrepentant sin. I thought I was repenting, but the fact that I just kept going back to it without having an actual change in my heart, without having an actual understanding of what I was saying yes to … I was completely destroying our marriage, and that is a calling for your marriage as much as it’s a calling for our marriage. This isn’t unique to some marriages. Your marriage is called to purity, husband and wife. So I’m talking about my own impurity that I struggled with, with pornography on the internet. What areas of purity did you struggle with, that you didn’t recognize in the time, and to be honest, I wasn’t even able to bring up to you because of my own sin, but I was able to bring up to you after I started walking in purity. Jennifer Smith: Well, the first thing I want to just share very vulnerably is that I also had my own struggle with pornography for a season. I’m sharing that because I know that there’s wives listening, and it can be so hard to confront and admit that you’re wrestling with this. Once you confess that sin and repent of it, you will find so much freedom. You need to deal with it, but one of the other major impurities in my life was hiding the fact that I had a problem with food and using it whenever I was emotional, whenever I felt down or defeated, whenever I had a craving. I was so selfish with my desires for it and used it as a crutch. Anytime we were facing discord or disunity, I went to sugar, you know, anything that would make me feel better. I knew that I was living in an unhealthy way and I kept that from you because I didn’t want you to point the finger at me, or challenge me, or keep me accountable in any way. Aaron Smith: When you thought I didn’t have a right to, anyway, because of the way I was walking. Jennifer Smith: Yeah. When you did try and step in and encourage me to be healthy, I wouldn’t let you. Aaron Smith: You’d use my sin as an excuse for your own. Jennifer Smith: Right. Yeah, so that was this crazy cycle in itself, of not being able to walk in the freedom that Christ gave both of us because we were stuck in- Aaron Smith: Impurity. Jennifer Smith: … impurity. Aaron Smith: Yeah. So the fifth calling for your marriage is to walk in purity. And if you are struggling, or … I don’t even want to say struggling. If you’re in these problems, these sins, addiction to pornography, eating habits, things that you haven’t submitted to the Lord and you’re holding onto and saying, “This is mine,” you need to repent today and walk in the freedom that Galatians 5:1 tells us we have, “For freedom Christ has set you free. Stand firm therefore and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.” If you have the Holy Spirit living in you, you have the power to walk in freedom and purity. Jennifer Smith: And as you’re evaluating your life, I would also suggest that, you know, maybe it’s not pornography, maybe it’s not food, but maybe it’s music, maybe it’s what you’re reading, maybe it’s the … Aaron Smith: Yeah, maybe you love romance novels- Jennifer Smith: Yeah. Aaron Smith: … and you dwell on those and you read them often and … Jennifer Smith: Maybe it’s other types of websites that you’re viewing online or maybe it’s a bad shopping habit. There are so many different ways that we can live impure lives, and God calls us to a higher standard than that. And it’s for the protection of our hearts, for the protection of our marriages, for the protection of our families, that we live pure lives. Aaron Smith: And in doing so, it makes our marriages be able to walk in the higher calling that our marriages have, which is ministering to the world, which is doing the will of the Father, and when we aren’t walking pure, we’re missing it. We cannot do that. It’s the plank eye effect. The Bible doesn’t say not to go take the speck out of your brother’s eye. It says you can’t see the speck in their eye clearly because we have a plank in our own. So the idea is that we need to remove that plank. We need to be walking in purity, we need to repent of our sin and accept the freedom that Christ has given us, and the authority and power that he’s put in us. So let’s move onto the last one. Jennifer Smith: The last one. Aaron Smith: And this is a fun one for us, but it’s also a hard one. Jennifer Smith: It was a hard one for me, for sure. Aaron Smith: And this isn’t an extensive list of all the callings that every Christian marriage has, but these are the six that we chose for this podcast, this video, and so what’s the sixth one? Jennifer Smith: So the sixth one is generosity, and I’m going to read 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. It says, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Aaron Smith: So what do you have to say about that in our marriage? Jennifer Smith: Well, I want to be honest with them and say that, in the beginning of our marriage, I fought generosity and I didn’t realize that I was fighting it. I didn’t know that I wasn’t a generous person, but- Aaron Smith: Yeah, when I said I wanted to start giving to our church or to some non-profits, what was your answer? Jennifer Smith: I thought that by giving of my time, was enough. Aaron Smith: Right. Jennifer Smith: I really believed that, and- Aaron Smith: I remember you telling me, be like, “Why do we have to give our money? We give our time.” Because we volunteered a lot at the different churches we were part of and … Jennifer Smith: We also didn’t have very high paying jobs and what we did have went to our living situation, and I never- Aaron Smith: And debt. We were getting out of debt at the time. Jennifer Smith: And debt. And I just, I never felt like we had enough, and so to give away the little bit that we had was really frustrating to me and I didn’t understand why it was of importance. Aaron Smith: Especially when we didn’t have the things that a lot of our friends and married couples had. Jennifer Smith: Yeah. Aaron Smith: We didn’t have our own home. We only had one car. We didn’t have- Jennifer Smith: When we did have an apartment, I remember going down to the thrift store to get a can opener- Aaron Smith: Right. Jennifer Smith: … or whatever little thing that we needed to be able to live. Aaron Smith: And we were doing all that for the purpose of getting out of debt, but in our mode of getting out of debt, I believed what the scripture said about generosity and giving, and so we wanted to walk in obedience to that. So even though we were trying to get out of debt, we’re like we’re also going to give to what God’s doing. Jennifer Smith: And I will say that this is a huge testimony to God’s way of submission, because as your wife, I submitted to you in this call of generosity and it actually changed me. It changed me heart. It changed my perspective and my view. Aaron Smith: Right. Jennifer Smith: At first, it was challenging for me and I complained, and I do feel bad about that still. But over time, I saw this verse come to life, that when you sow bountifully, you reap bountifully. I saw it even in our own marriage. Aaron Smith: Yeah. Jennifer Smith: The times that you were generous with me, whether it was with your time or your resources or with gifts, I would feel something in my heart to want to do it back. Aaron Smith: Yeah. Jennifer Smith: So I even saw that come alive in our own marriage, but also out in our other relationships. Aaron Smith: And this calling for your marriage, of being generous, there’s not a dollar amount on this. This is not a, like, you have to give this amount of money all the time. The New Testament, specifically, is very clear that God wants all of it. He wants to know that our hands are open and that whatever he puts in, he can also take out. So this isn’t a prosperity gospel of, like, if you put money in the basket, money’s going to come right back out to you. Sometimes that happens, but in many ways, the blessing that we’ve gotten from walking in generosity, just in every aspect of our life, is having a healthy perspective on money. We don’t crave money. We don’t crave more money. We don’t seek wealth. Jennifer Smith: Or things, really, I mean we just- Aaron Smith: I mean, even things, yeah. We see things as useful objects. We don’t see them as things that are going to fulfill us. Man, the amount of things that God’s been able to do, just through our little bit of generosity, in other marriages lives, in other people’s lives, around the world, has been a huge testimony to God’s goodness in our life. So what happens is, God blesses us, because we’re all blessed. Everyone’s blessed, right. Just Jesus Christ alone, he’s the best gift anyone’s ever been given. But even just in our day to day life, the things that we have, recognizing that they’re not ours. Jennifer Smith: Yeah. Aaron Smith: That they’re used for his Kingdom. So in your marriage, the calling of generosity, are you being generous with your home? Are you being generous with your cars, with your finances, with your time? Are you walking in a marriage, in a level of generosity where you just trust God and say, “Okay, Lord, we’re open to what you have for us and we’re going to do it.” We don’t know what’s that looks like means, but we’re going to say, “Lord, this is your money, how do you want us to use it? Do you have someone that needs help in the church, that you want us to bless? Is it $5 to help someone with a meal? Is it $20 for gas for someone? Is it $100 to a missionary?” It could be anything. Jennifer Smith: And when you submit your heart to God in prayer and you tell him, “I’m yours and everything I have is yours,” you will hear him speak to you, as far as that tugging on your heart to give. In those divine moments where someone else is in need, he’ll show you. Aaron Smith: Yeah, and he does it all the time, and that’s where our hearts are at. “Okay, Lord, what do you have next for us?” We actually start the year off, every year, “God, how do you want to use us this year, financially?” Jennifer Smith: Yeah. It is a part of our goal setting. Aaron Smith: Yeah. So we hope you enjoyed these six callings that the Lord has for your marriage. We try and walk in these calling ourselves, and we hope that by you walking in these, and chasing after these biblical concepts and callings for your marriage, that you’ll be led towards God’s greater calling for your marriage, whatever that may be, and that your eyes would be open and that your heart would be open into receiving what he has for you as individuals in your marriage, and as a unit, as a whole. If you enjoyed this video, please hit the subscribe button and also hit the bell next to the subscribe button so you get notifications when we post new videos. Jennifer Smith: Also, leave a comment. If there are other callings that God has for Christian marriages we’d love to be encouraged by that and see more. Aaron Smith: See you later. Did you enjoy today’s show? Find many more encouraging stories and resources at marriageaftergod.com and let us help you cultivate an extraordinary marriage.

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