This article is part of a series looking at Colossians 3:12-17 and how it applies to marriages. Scripture calls us to love God more than our spouses, and out of this reality, Paul gives us four commands to create intimacy, including “putting on” spiritual fruit, “letting the peace of Christ rule” in our marriage, and “being thankful.” The fourth command is to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16, ESV).
When my wife and I were newly married, we joined a young adult small group. We really enjoyed the fellowship and the Bible study that happened with this group. After a couple years, one of our lessons discussed the way we talk about our faith with those we love. It struck me that we didn’t really talk about God’s word together. Both of us were doing daily devotions, attending church and small group together, but we weren’t talking about it with each other. We had turned our faith into something we did as individuals, but not something we did as a couple--as “one flesh.” We left that meeting committed to being more intentional about having these conversations. That was ten years ago. It has now become part of our everyday life. It has changed the way we talk about things, the way we make decisions, and the way we live our lives.
We can apply this command to three different areas in our marriage. Let the word of Christ dwell in you, your marriage, and your home.
First, you must let the word of Christ dwell in you. This is where it all starts. You must be in God’s word, reading it, studying it, meditating on it. You must be coming to it regularly for the nourishment of your soul and for guidance. Also, if the word of Christ is going to “dwell” in you, it has to go with you throughout your day. God’s word must be guiding the way you make decisions, your attitudes, and the way you treat people. It’s always there, underneath everything you do. If the word of Christ doesn’t dwell in you personally, it won’t dwell in your marriage and it won’t dwell in your home. It starts with you.
However, it must move beyond you into your marriage. This is where my wife and I initially missed the boat. The word of Christ dwelt in each one of us, but hadn’t move out into our marriage. At a basic level, you can begin this by talking about what you saw/learned in your devotions each morning. Let your spouse know if God spoke to you in a powerful way one morning. Talk to your spouse about what God is teaching you, about attitudes that he is rebuking in you, about something he is calling you to do. The next step would be to begin studying God’s Word together. Pick a book of the Bible and go through it as a couple. Dig as deeply into each passage as you are able, then go to the next passage and keep working through it until you finish the book. Then, find another one. Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, in order for the word of Christ to dwell in your marriage, it has to be there all the time. It has to become part of what you do as a couple--part of your everyday life. This takes work, time, and perseverance. However, it will transform your marriage by drawing you closer to one another. It will center your marriage around the most important aspect of your lives--your Savior. It will also foster a deeper intimacy between each other.
It’s also important to focus on letting the word of Christ dwell in your home. This means having the word of Christ affect the way you make decisions as a family. Look to God’s Word as you make decisions about houses, money, sports, free time, etc... It will affect the way you speak to one another and the way you correct one another. If you have children, this means bringing the word of Christ into your daily interactions with them. Let the word of Christ be a part of the conversations you have with your children. Let the word of Christ affect the way you discipline and the things you discipline for. Focus on having family devotions. Study the Bible as a family. Make it part of your everyday life. Again, it will center your entire family around the most important thing--your Savior.
There’s one more aspect of letting the word of Christ dwell in your life, your marriage, and your home. Paul says, “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” When the word of Christ rightly dwells in you, your marriage, and your home, it should move you toward thankfulness and joy. It should not produce a dry, crusty faith, but one that overflows into singing and thankfulness. As you come to know your God in a deeper way, you should fall more deeply in love with Him and find yourself singing His praises more often.
Take opportunities this week to dive into God’s Word more deeply. Let it overflow into the conversations and interaction you have with your wife and children. Then, sing freely and openly with thankfulness to God.
Rev. Deb Koster
Rev. Dr. Steven Koster
Rev. Kelly Vander Woude