or those of us who believe in the infallibility of scripture, we believe that God created us humans, from dust and breathe life (soul and spirit) into us (see Gen. 1: 27, 3: 19b) and we were created to fellowship with God. Sin however separated us from God, first spiritual (spiritual death) and eventually physically (physical death) and birth the desire to satisfy self-cravings or also known as sinful nature.
Marriage is one of the earliest (the first) institutions put in place by God, it is to be the coming together as one, spiritually, emotionally and physically of a man and a woman. Marriage then formed the basis on which the other institutions, Church (Universal) and Governments (whatever ideology) are based, as the institution of marriage goes, so goes the church and civil governance [close to or away from God].
The individual humans coming together in marriage are tripartite beings, according to Apostle Paul, each have a spirit, a Soul (mind, will and emotion) and a body (aka flesh) – see 1 Thess. 5: 23. The spirit is separated from God at birth (because of what happened in Genesis 3) and because of what Christ did, it has the opportunity to be rebirth (see John 3: 16 and Romans 10: 9-10) and be connected to the Holy Spirit (Romans 8: 16). Human soul comprises of our mind (where we process and store information or knowledge), our emotion (how we display outwardly what is felt within often propelled by hormones) and body (our physical unit that houses the soul and spirit, and is also what brings the external into our soul via what we call senses – eyes, ears, touch, taste, and feel).
Our marriages also function on these three beings, spiritually, in our soul (intellectually and emotionally) and in the physical as well (almost all form of attraction is based on physical features – not necessarily the best).
Over the years I have written on enriching our marriages intellectually and emotionally, when we go for pre-marriage counseling [or education], when we attend a marriage enrichment class, when we watch DVDs or listen to CDs, we are intellectually [acquiring] knowledge. When we have a dance on valentine, or do marriage games or learn 5 love languages or attend a weekend get-away, we are emotionally enriching our marriages. We enrich our marriages physically through romantic acts and through a good sexual [intimacy] relationship, which by the way is also God’s will for our marriage.
I’m not sure however, if I have written on the explicit function of the Holy Spirit as it specifically affects or relates to our marriages.
The Holy Spirit is God, not a lesser God, in John 14: 16, Jesus told the disciples that after He leaves (by the way He stresses the importance of Him leaving), the Father will send “another” advocate, not a lesser advocate. As Christians, we believe in one God, expressed in three ways, as God the Father, God the Son – came to the world as Jesus Christ (see John 1: 1) and God the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament we see all three expressions of God throughout God, dealing with Israel, we read about the pre-incarnate Christ and visitations of the Holy Spirit (see Num. 11: 29, Jud. 6: 34 etc.).
To fully understand the function of the Holy Spirit for the New Testament believer or the Church, we must read the entire John 14, were Jesus was informing His disciples about what is to come. He said, He will ask the Father to send another advocate, who will help humans, remind them of what He [Jesus] had taught them, He will lead them into all Truth, He will help humans against the wiles/schemes of the enemy, He will comfort, He will provide strength or whatever we need to Worship and bring Glory to the Father, the Holy Spirit will do all of these without pointing to Himself [kind-a low profile] but pointing to Jesus Christ and the Father.
In Acts 1, the resurrected Christ [in His new body – before ascension] warned/told the disciples “…do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…”. In Acts 2, we read of the coming of the Holy Spirit and how both Jews and gentiles now receive Him. In his letter to the church in Rome, apostle Paul, explained the ministry of the Holy Spirit in details (study the book of Romans), he explained in chapter 8, that once we [humans] accepts Christ, the Holy Spirit who quickens our spirit then bear witness [connects] that we are children of God [a new spiritual identity].
Here is a compilation (by a Frank Viola) of the some of the functions of the Holy Spirit to us; He convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). He guides us into all truth (John 16:13). He regenerates us (John 3:5-8; Titus 3:5). He glorifies and testifies of Christ (John 15:26; 16:14). He reveals Christ to us and in us (John 16:14-15). He leads us (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1). He sanctifies us (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rom. 5:16). He empowers us (Luke 4:14; 24:49; Rom. 15:19; Acts 1:8). He fills us (Eph. 5:18; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17). For all 50 functions compilation visit http://frankviola.org/2010/11/18/50-things-the-holy-spirit-does/
Once a human accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and ask for the infilling of the Holy Spirit [I’m aware of different theologies on the subject, I believe you ask or tarry for it like the disciples or as we read in Acts 10:24-48, Peter in the house of Cornelius]. I believe and teach singles, that one of the reasons, God commanded us not be “unequally yoked”, is the infilling of the Holy Spirit in the other person you are marrying. The Holy Spirit can only fill/lead/sanctify etc. someone who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (see Romans 10:9-10).
Even with the infilling of the Holy Spirit in those who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we can still grieve or ignore Him? In his letter to the Ephesus church, apostle Paul wrote them not to grieve the Holy Spirit (who is the seal of God on believers) by doing things that are contrary to God’s word, such as anger, malice, un-forgiveness etc. I believe when we chose to lean on our understanding (or that of other humans), when we satisfy the cravings of the flesh, we grieve the Holy Spirit.
As the Holy Spirit indwells us, He brings us gifts (see I Corinth. 12) and fruit (see Gal. 5: 22-23). The gifts are spiritual offices that blesses us in our worship of the Father and to encourage the body of Christ, while the fruit are attributes of God exhibited through us [by the Holy Spirit as we surrender] that brings glory to our Father in heaven (see John 15: 1-8).
The marriage institution for true believers is the coming together of two people [a man and a woman – Gen. 1, Matt. 19 and Eph. 5] who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior and have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, even with this however, we still contend with our sinful nature, our flesh and emotion (along with the enemy), seeking to dominate our lives rather than us yielding as described in Galatians 2: 20, to the leading of Christ within us.
As stated above, I’m a firm believer in Christian marriages studying and understanding intellectual studies on making a marriage better, I thank God for both secular and Christian books and studies (I have read), that have helped increased my knowledge, I’m a firm believer in doing things that feed our marriages emotionally, I thank God for Christian psychologists like Dr. Gary Chapman, Dr. Gary Smalley, Dr. Kevin Lehman to mention a few, that God have used to explain human emotion and how to feed it. However, we can learn all we want, we can attend all the classes available, without the help of the Holy Spirit, we will not be able to put into use what we have learned.
I have shared in many conferences how the Holy Spirit dealt with me in my marriage. I was born into Christian home, but God was never personal to me in-spite of regularly religious practices. The personal relationship and rebirth of my spirit-man came in March 1989 as a young-man serving his country (what is called Youth Corps in Nigeria). On my wedding day in August 1992, I had a lot of zeal for God, was under a good teaching at FGBMFI Ikeja, I was heading the prison/hospital ministry, I was on the prayer team and a host of other “works” for God. I did not fully understand relationship with and dependence on the Holy Spirit till 1997 December.
In December 1997 after 5 years of marriage, I wanted out (divorce), but because I knew the Word and I had the fear of God, I knew that was not what He wanted (perfect will). So in desperation I sought whatever it is I don’t have? God made it clear to me that I had tried running my marriage in my strength and wisdom, and that I now needed to cede control of my marriage (really my life) to the leading of the Holy Spirit (this is documented in my book – the Enemy Within). The Holy Spirit started to teach me how to die to self, and the words I have read all my life became Rhema to me, verses such as Gal. 2: 20 (which is now my life verse) and Romans 12:1-2 became not just memory verses but words I pray over myself and do, even when it hurts.
The Holy Spirit would not contend with us, neither would He tolerate sin, He resides as a gentle power within us and responds when we ask for Help (in Truth). Help to be a helpmate, help to forgive a spouse when he/she is not asking and still defiant, help to love unconditional, help to honor an underserving husband, help to apply known Truth, help to renew mind, help to pull down imaginations that is messing up our homes – we need the Help of the Holy Spirit, period.
It is my prayer today, that we all would start to see the Holy Spirit more than a spooky feeling we have at prayer-times, or some goofy emotional display, but as God that exist within us, and is ready to help when we call upon Him. May the lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering on our behalf and through our marriages - Amen.