Significant flooding occurred across Eastern Iowa, Norwest Illinois, and Northeast Missouri during the Spring of 2019. The flooding was caused primarily by three components: snowmelt, frozen ground, and an unusual amount of rainfall. Croplands, infrastructure, and businesses that were in the flood zone sustained devastating damage – some of which were never able to recover. Hundreds of volunteers showed up to sandbag the most vulnerable areas.
Anyone who has ever participated in sandbagging knows that there’s a lot more to sandbagging than filling and stacking. The right type of bag, the material used to fill the bag, weight, and proper placement of the bag is vital for the success of preventing or reducing flood water damage.
Marriage is a lot like sandbagging. In order to prevent damage in the storms that are certain to come, you must have strategically placed commodities in play.
Firstly, you need a solid foundation. If your marriage is built on the foundation of Christ the solid Rock, when the winds and waves beat against it, it will not crumble (Lk 6:48).
Secondly, your ‘sandbags’ must be filled with the correct materials:
- Commitment – Commitment is more than ‘I want to, I ought to, or I have to.’ It is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman that says, “Before God and these witnesses, I enter into union, and I commit to draw upon the continued strength of God as I continue in this union until death do us part.” What God has joined together, let no one separate (Mk 10:9).
- Humility – Since marriage brings our sinful nature to the surface quicker than any other relationship, we need an extra dose of humility. Humility is about admitting our mistakes, working through our sin with our spouse, and giving and receiving the same grace for each other as Christ extends to us. Ephesians 4:2-3 reminds us that we should have humility, gentleness, and patience, as we bear with one another in love, so that we can maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
- Forgiveness – Forgiveness can be tricky when we feel betrayed, disrespected, or wounded by the one we share the deepest parts of ourselves with. But God’s word is clear that not only is His work of grace hindered in our marriage when we refuse to forgive, but we need to forgive over and over. He never said it would be easy, but forgiveness is imperative to a healthy relationship. “Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends” (Prov 17:9).
- Gentleness – One of the I AM statements that Christ said about Himself is found in Matthew 11:29, “I am gentle and lowly in heart.” Gentleness and humility turn away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger (Prov 15:1).
- Kindness – What does kindness look like in a marriage? It can be difficult to define but not to illustrate. Generous acts, considerate behavior, and not gloating when you have the right to, are attributes of kindness. 1 Corinthians 13:4 says it like this, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.”
- Healthy Communication – Communication is not just about talking to each other. It is the quality of being able to speak to each other in a respectful, honest, and productive manner. It’s about hearing and being heard, understanding and being understood. Proverbs 18:2 cautions us to not be like the fool who takes no pleasure in understanding but only in expressing his opinion. And Colossians 4:6 reminds us to “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each other.
- Teamwork – As husband and wife you are designed by God to be joined together in body and spirit. When joined together (even as complimenting opposites) you can become a powerful unified force working towards a common God-honoring goal (Prov 27:17, Ecc 4:9).
- Love – Corinthians 13 (commonly known as the love chapter) defines a love that is not just poetic words or fuzzy feelings. It is a picture of selfless love that is as close but not equal to God’s love for us as is humanly possible. This is the kind of love we need to weather the storms that will come at our marriage. 1 Peter 4:8 sums it up pretty well by saying, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”
Don’t wait for an unexpected or sudden storm before you start ‘sandbagging.’ Begin today to lay a foundation in your marriage that when the rains come and the winds blow, it will not be shaken or overtaken (Lk 6:48).
If you, or someone you know would like more information visit Refresh Your Marriage.