By Joel Comiskey, Living in Victory: 9 Spiritual Truths for Transformation and Renewal
The first link in my inner circle is my relationship with Celyce, whom I married on February 13, 1988. She knows how I react to life’s circumstances. She knows the why behind my life and ministry, and her counsel to me is based on patterns and experiences that only she knows. God uses her to sharpen me, and I do the same with her. We are still constantly fine-tuning each other. We overcome conflict, relax, envision, make decisions, and care for each other.
My Christian character is first tested in my relationship with her and only later with others. I need to succeed in this relationship to truly live in victory in the Christian life. Why? Because she knows me intimately. She knows whether I’m obeying God’s Word, walking in love, and becoming like Jesus. And the good news is that I’ve seen a lot of progress. I’ve had to confess a lot of sins, but Jesus is making me more like him.
My desire is to be the best husband possible and to develop the deepest, most intimate relationship with Celyce. She is my ministry. She’s not a part of my ministry.
I’m saddened to think that during certain periods in our marriage, I acted as if the main goal in my life was personal success and that marriage was for the support of my own good. I expected her to “fall in line” and help me in my ministry. God has slowly, graciously shown me that Celyce is my number one ministry. Therefore, the chief questions I need to ask are:
- Does she believe we’re improving in our marriage?
- Are we having fun together?
- Am I spending quality time with her?
- Are we growing in our friendship?
- Am I sensitive to seeing things through her eyes?
We must diligently work on our relationship. Conflict can spring up anytime. In fact, conflict is a key part of the maturing package—learning to be like Jesus. The intensity of marriage brings those conflicts to a new level. While we have each other, we need to be constantly growing in our relationship with each other.
In marriage, we’re both learning to ask God to give us the grace to apologize, forgive, confess our own sins, and then move on. We rejoice that our love and relationship is growing deeper all the time. I’ve had to confess and deal with the bondage of anger. I’ve had to come to the point to admit that anger is always a sin—at least in my relationship with Celyce.
God might be using your spouse to drive you to your knees. You might have to ask God for grace and forgiveness. Believe that God is molding and shaping you. This is part of the growth package—the way that God is making you more like him.
God is the God of hope. He loves to display his strength in weaknesses and failures. He wants to make you a relational disciple who will have an impact on the lives of many. But you must start from a secure foundation. God is the one who takes us and compels us forward. He leads us into the future.