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, because we are chosen and loved by God long before our spouse ever chose us our loved us. Out of this reality, Paul gives us four commands to create intimacy. His second command is to "let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body” (Colossians 3:15, ESV).
Before we look at the command itself, I want to take a moment to look at the opposite of this command. If the command is about building relationship and creating intimacy, the opposite is about destroying relationship and killing intimacy. We should be aware of these dangers. So, what’s the opposite of peace? Anxiety. Fear is a killer of intimacy. It erodes all of the characteristics listed by Paul in the previous three verses.
Let’s look at that last statement a little closer. In order to build relationship and create intimacy, Paul tells us to “put on” compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, steadfastness, forgiveness, and love. However, when anxiety is high in a relationship, how compassionate are we? When anxiety is high in a relationship, how patient are we? Anxiety erodes everything that leads to building relationship and creating intimacy.
Currently, I am employed full-time as a Youth Director at a church. Alongside my employment, I am also a full-time student, pursuing my Master’s degree. Oh yeah, I’m also a husband and father to a very active family with four daughters. There are moments in our home when anxiety runs high--when my anxiety runs high. I get consumed with the paper due tomorrow, the sermon I need to finish, the logistics of getting my daughters to hockey practice, etc. . . . In the midst of this, I find myself saying (or thinking), “I don’t care what happened in your day, we have to get going (or I have to get this finished). We don’t have time to talk about you. We’ll talk about it later.” In one fell swoop, compassion, kindness, patience, humility, meekness, etc... are all gone and the relationship is fractured.
So, what’s the solution? “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body” (Colossians 3:15, ESV). A solid relationship is built on the peace of Christ. You may say, “Well, that’s easier said than done!” You’re right. You can’t just force yourself to let the peace of Christ rule in your heart. You can’t convince yourself to let the peace of Christ rule in your heart. You can’t make this happen by the power of your own will. It can only be given to you.
So, how do you receive this gift? Here’s one way. A popular verse in Philippians gives us some direction. 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” (Philippians 4:6–7, ESV). The command is “do not be anxious” and the solution is. . . Pray. Paul says that we are to pray in everything--to make our requests known to God--and by doing this “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” So, when anxiety is on the rise in your home and in your relationship, pray. When you are increasingly feeling the need for peace in your home and relationship, pray. Lay it all on the table before God. He will give you the gift of peace and it will guard your heart and mind from attitudes and actions that destroy relationship.
It is important for you to regularly be in prayer as an individual, but it’s also important for you to be in prayer as a couple. I’ve always heard the saying, “the couple that prays together, stays together.” I’ve been given this advice from many Godly couples whom I respect. I have always believed this was true, simply because I trusted their advice and perspective. However, now I can see one reason why this is true. The couple that prays together--that is making their requests known to God in every situation--is a couple that is receiving the peace of God as a powerful gift, the peace of God is guarding their hearts and mind from attitudes and actions that destroy relationship, and the peace of God is building relationship and creating intimacy in their marriage on a regular basis. No wonder they stay together!
This is a powerful truth and a good reminder for newlyweds and those celebrating their fiftieth anniversary. If we want a solid relationship, we must fight against fear and distraction. One of the ways we fight anxiety is by receiving the peace of God through prayer. This is another foundational element to a solid marriage--a marriage that is continually building relationship and creating intimacy.