My husband never knew what I’d be like each day. One day I was loving and caring, and the next day I was a raging lunatic. I was completely unreliable. He could never count on me to be stable. I didn’t know how to be faithful because I didn’t have a good character.
We can’t develop the fruit of faithfulness unless we build a good character. And the way to build a good character is to walk in integrity.
Three definitions for INTEGRITY are:
- the quality or state of being complete or undivided : completeness
- firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility
- an unimpaired condition : soundness
First, to develop faithfulness in our marriages, we have to keep our hearts undivided toward God and then our spouses.
In 2 Chronicles 19:9, Jehoshaphat instructed those he appointed as judges saying, "You must always act in the fear of the LORD, with faithfulness and an undivided heart.”
To be faithful in our marriages we first need to be faithful to God. In Ezekiel 6:9, God said, “… how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols.”
People often think of adultery as only the act of an extramarital affair. Adultery is breaking a covenant vow, breaking ourselves away from our union (oneness) with God (or our spouses). We break our union with God (or our spouses) when we turn our hearts away from them.
James 4:4 in the Amplified Bible explains, “You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]!”
To have an undivided heart for God means that He has our whole heart. It’s not shared with anyone or anything else. Nothing gets first place over Him.
In order to be faithful to our spouses, we can’t divide our hearts from them. Some couples divide their hearts from their spouses by putting their careers, their friends, their own interests, or even their children first. Other couples separate their hearts and unite them with others through physical affairs or mental affairs (lust/pornography).
Just as God grieves for us when we commit adultery against Him, our spouses grieve when we turn our hearts away from them.
…how I have been grieved by their adulterous hearts, which have turned away from me, and by their eyes, which have lusted after their idols….
God doesn’t give up on us, though. He calls our hearts back to union with Him as Jeremiah 3:14 explains, “Return, faithless people," declares the LORD, "for I am your husband….”
God can do the same for us if we have turned our hearts away from our spouses. God calls our hearts back to Him, and then He brings our hearts back to each other.
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
Second, to develop faithfulness in our marriages, we have to adhere to the Word of God and not to the world.
1 John 2:15 says, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
The more we allow ourselves to be influenced by the world, the more we will take on its character. The more we allow ourselves to be influenced by God, the more we will take on His character.
Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
If we want to have an incorruptible marriage, we have to listen to God and do what He says, regardless how we feel. For instance, James 1:27 tells us to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world. I have to be careful what I allow myself to watch, listen to, and read. I can’t watch the same kind of shows I used to watch, or read the books I used to read, or listen to music I used to listen to, without them filling my heart with junk.
What we feed our eyes, ears, and minds goes into our hearts, and then our hearts direct our actions. Matthew 15:19 says, “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.”
The more junk we allow in our hearts, the more we hinder the Holy Spirit from developing His fruit in us. These negative things we allow in are like weeds that choke the fruit in our lives.
If we're going to have a fruitful marriage and walk in integrity, we have to follow God’s ways and not the world’s.
Last, to develop faithfulness in our marriages, we have to maintain a sound mind.
John 14:27 says to stop allowing ourselves to be agitated and disturbed. It says not to permit ourselves to be fearful, intimidated, cowardly, and unsettled (AMP).
I used to get agitated by every little disagreement my husband and I had. I never wanted to fight with my husband but I couldn’t understand why he seemed to always disagree with me. I didn’t understand why we saw things so differently. I just wanted him to understand me, and I would get frustrated when he wouldn't.
God helped me by teaching me that my husband and I are created differently, so we see things differently. We see things from different perspectives.
God tells us to believe the best of every person (1 Corinthians 13:7, AMP). There are many times when I’m on fire and ready to explode at my husband and I have to walk away and say a prayer for God to help me keep my mouth shut. When I calm down, I begin to see how stupid the argument was and that my accusations and assumptions may have been wrong.
Many times we argue with each other over what we believe the others intentions and thoughts are. How do we really know what the other person is thinking? We can avoid many arguments by listening to God and believing the best in our spouses. We'll enjoy our differences when we stop allowing ourselves to be agitated and disturbed.
A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones.
—Proverbs 14:30, AMP
I encourage you to be faithful in your relationship with God, and be faithful in your relationship with your spouse. Jesus said, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities” (Luke 16:10, NLT).
If we want God’s best for our marriages, we have to be faithful and do what God tells us to do. God is faithful to us, and we need to be faithful to our spouses. God never changes. He is always consistent. Our spouses need to see that we are consistent. No matter what they do, no matter their failures, mistakes, or down times, they need to know we are faithful and love them unconditionally. They need to be able to count on us to help them rise up when they fall, carry them when they’re weak, and support them as they grow.
As we stay faithful, and strive to walk in integrity, we’ll see an abundance of fruit develop in our lives, and our marriages.