Two of our favourite guests, Dave and Ashley Willis, joined Robbo and Becci on Rise and Shine to discuss the outworking of the fruits of the spirit in the context of marriage.
Sometimes we forget how much we need the Holy Spirit in our marriages, and we can so easily fall into a dynamic of negativity with our spouses.
Ashley believes that we should think about our vows and how they are based around the fruits of the spirit. “We are supposed to love and cherish each other, and we really need to be intentional about cherishing our spouse. We have to learn to be patient during all the different seasons of our marriage. It’s so important to look for the best of our spouse, assuming good motives when we can. Then when we have to address something, they are much more likely to accept it because they know they are loved and cherished.”
Dave says, “We offer kindness to strangers and co-workers, but often just give our spouse the leftovers. We can sometimes be cold, even cruel at home. We all need a safe place to let our guard down, but we need to be intentional about giving our best to our spouse. I think one mistake we often make in the Bible is believing that a verse is only a marriage verse if it has the word marriage in it. But who is a closer neighbour than your spouse? We need to remind ourselves that to sustain the fruits of the spirit, we need to really let God lead and sustain us. It will become more natural as He’s doing his work in us.”
Ashley adds, “As believers, the fruits of the spirit are gifts that God wants us to have. We have to pursue them actively. In our frailty as human beings God is the only one who can help us to have more patience and peace. Often times we can be kind with word choices, but not gentle with our tone. We need to pray that the Lord will help us to be gentle, or our spouses might feel that we don’t love them.”
Dave believes that the recipe for divorce is selfishness, and that it is at the root of most of what goes wrong in a marriage. “We need to be constantly asking God not for our will or agenda, but for His will for our hearts. Our prayer should be for God to help us see our spouse through His eyes, and to show them the same patience and love that God has for us. We need God’s help for us to have that for one another. No marriage is beyond repair. God’s love can always bring healing and restoration.”
Ashley talks about the first word that God ever spoke to Adam and Eve, ‘parah’. It literally means to be fruitful and multiply. “Often, we think it means just go and have kids, but it’s so much more than that. God is telling us to bear fruit individually in our hearts so that we can flourish together as a couple. We are supposed to bear fruit in each other’s lives.”
Dave and Ashely agree that when couples are growing so much in their faith, the outpouring is the fruit of the spirit, which enable us to continue growing and flourishing in the Lord as well. There is nothing more important than that in a marriage.
Listen to the rest of Dave and Ashely’s message below.