Relationship Goals: Are You on The Same Page?

We’ve been exploring relationships and the reality that no one enters a relationship expecting for it to fall apart. Yet, we’ve all experienced brokenness and dysfunction. 

So, why is it we want one thing but get another? It turns out that there are habits, attitudes, and actions we ‘slip or trip’ into, and even though they are unintentional, they still cause damage. This series is meant to help us avoid painful pitfalls in our relationships that matter most. 

Outside of your relationship with Christ, your marriage is the most important relationship you have. It will produce your most lasting memories. It will dictate your most important decisions. It will be the biggest influence on your quality of life. For these reasons, it will also face the most opposition from your spiritual enemy. Marriage is more than a social contract. It’s a spiritual statement. 

God’s original design for marriage was NOT a man and woman only. The Bible says that in the garden of Eden, the first picture of marriage was man, woman and God. God reinforces that picture in the book of Revelation describing Jesus as the groom, the church as the bride, and God - together enjoying eternity forever. At the beginning it was a groom, bride and God. At the end it’s a groom, bride and God. Your marriage carries the image of God and that is why the enemy hates it. 

Although there are many ways to damage relationships, your spiritual enemy works one strategy over and over called, “Divide & Conquer.” This explains why the most common phrase I hear from couples on the brink of divorce is “We’re not on the same page”. It’s not adultery or abuse – its disunity.

The enemy knows when a husband and wife are on the same page with God that they are insurmountable, but if he can get that same couple to allow conflict and dishonor to become the atmosphere of their home then destruction is inevitable. His goal is simply to divide your house in order to wreck your house. 

One of my favorite things about the Bible is that it is timeless. In Genesis 16:1-5, Abram and Sarai had a major marriage misstep that reads like the latest episode of your favorite reality show. “So Abram had sexual relations with Hagar, and she became pregnant. But when Hagar knew she was pregnant, she began to treat her mistress, Sarai, with contempt. Then Sarai said to Abram, ‘This is all your fault! I put my servant into your arms, but now that she’s pregnant she treats me with contempt. The Lord will show who’s wrong—you or me!’” As crazy as Abram sleeping with Sarai’s maid seems, the part that is mind blowing is that scripture says Hagar and the son she bore, Ishmael, would live in that home for the next 17 years. Marriages are made of two different people and moments of disagreement are natural; the danger is when we allow the things that come between us to stay in our homes. 

This is where so many couples are, allowing pain to go unresolved and words that hurt just hang in the air. We let the same disagreements reoccur, never being bold enough to talk them out and put them to rest. And we think by avoiding them, pushing them to the back of our minds, or letting things go unsaid, that we are “keeping the peace” but we are actually giving room to our spiritual enemy. 

What you may not realize is this was not the first attempt to divide Abraham and Sarah. King Abimelech in Egypt nearly came between them, prior to Hagar, because the enemy wanted to prevent God’s promise from coming to pass. You may not realize it, but the day you said “I do,” the promise of God for your marriage was activated. It’s a promise of peace, contentment, intimacy, strength, growth, and godliness. God has never created anything to fail, including your marriage. 

Like Abraham and Sarah, you have a promise at stake, and you’ll only receive it if unity becomes something you work for instead of something you hope for! Do you have a house divided? Ask yourselves:

  1. Where do we have UNRESOLVED CONFLICT? 

Nobody is surprised that conflict exists in relationships and in 95% of the conflict we have in marriage will be worked out in a reasonable amount of time. The problem is the other 5%. Even the smallest amount of unresolved conflict is cancer to marriage. Do whatever it takes!

Resolution requires IDENTIFICATION. Don’t deny that issues exist and employ the word of God to serve as a CT scan of your soul. In Ephesians 4:2, Paul lists the indicators of unity. 

  • Humility: Do you regularly serve your mate? Whose interest gets more attention? When was the last time you apologized?
  • Gentleness: Are you argumentative? Do you find yourself responding harshly when challenged? How gracious are your words? When you are frustrated, how is your tone? 
  • Patience: Are you willing to wait on God to change your spouse? Do you rush them into decisions before they are ready? Is your pace hand-in-hand or do you drag them?
  • Tolerance in love: Do you give your spouse your full attention? Do your friends or coworkers get grace easier than your spouse? Are you keeping a list of wrongs, or do you give mercy every morning? 

Unity is not a byproduct of ignoring issues. Unity is the byproduct of identifying issues and being brave enough to handle them in a godly way. 


86% of people who divorce say their core problem is communication. This means that either we learn the skills for effective communication, or we’re doomed. Now, we could take weeks to unpack the power of tone, active listening, and how to ask quality questions. But none of that matters without TIME. To learn a new language, you have to immerse yourself in the culture. If you want to be fluent in your spouse, you must immerse yourself in their world. The best strategy I’ve found is: 

  • Pray together every day. 
  • Have an interrupted 2-hour conversation every week. 
  • Date every month and have fun together.
  • Go on a 3-day getaway every year. 

Invest time in your marriage.

  1. Is our pursuit of CHRIST UNEQUAL

In marriage, two people are joined together. If one is passionate about growing in their faith and the other is stagnant or one wants to serve and the other doesn’t, there is disequilibrium. A person’s faith forms every area of their life, their money, time, parenting, etc. If your faith is out of alignment as a couple then every part of the marriage will be out of alignment. This is something that must be addressed – otherwise you will live your entire marriage as opponents instead of partners. 

Statistically, men are the ones dragging their feet. Yet, God intended that you not only go in a spiritual direction, but for you to lead the way. Did you know that kids stay in church 72% of the time if both parents attend, 55% if only the father attends, dropping to 15% if the mother is the one attending, and 6% if neither parent attends.

Another survey found if a child is the first person in the household to become a Christian there’s a 3 to 5% probability everyone in the household will follow. If the mother is the first, there is a 17% chance everyone will follow, but if the father is first, there is a 93% probability that the rest of the household will be saved. Men, your impact is huge.

Additionally, spirituality is sexy! In worship you display humility. Without worship you display pride. By serving you display compassion. Without serving you display selfishness. By reading God’s word your integrity grows. Without God’s word your issues never change. Let me ask you, what’s more attractive – a humble, compassionate guy with integrity or a prideful, self-centered guy with issues?

The Holy Spirit is the great unifier. “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17 ESV). I love counseling and curriculum, but the Holy Spirit can do in moments what would take us years. When we cannot agree on anything else we can agree we need Him. When we cannot get through to each other, He can get through to each of us. When we pull apart, He pulls us back together!


What is motivating your marriage? Your marriage is for God’s glory, God’s purpose. Seeing God’s purpose in your marriage is how you endure the most difficult moments of marriage. How did Abraham and Sarah stay together? They knew they were called to produce Isaac. And thank goodness they did because Isaac produced Jacob, Jacob produced 12 sons who produced tribes who produced a nation, who produced a savior who provided salvation for the whole world by dying on a cross. 

Your marriage is called to more than white picket fences, shuttling to soccer games, a boat on the lake, or saving for retirement. All that is good but it’s NOT your purpose. You and your spouse carry the image of God. You’re filled with the spirit of God, and have a calling from God. Dream together, step out in faith together, pursue Jesus and let Him show you the purpose He has for you together.