A Marginal Marriage: 7 Margins to Put in Your Marriage

I’m a fan of movies. I like suspenseful movies that bring me into their world with great effects and story lines. But if there’s a type of scene that gets my anxiety up, it’s a scene of someone who is on the verge of drowning. Watching someone working with limited space to breathe, hoping for a miracle, gets my heart racing and makes me a bit uncomfortable.  Perhaps it’s a phobia I have deep down. Or perhaps, it’s all too descriptive for how I feel when I push my limits, on every level (physical, spiritual, mental, emotional) to the extreme leaving no breathing room.

Are you in that place where the pace you’re living doesn’t give you space to breathe? Maybe, just maybe, the reason why some of the frustration you’re experiencing has NOTHING to do with the issues you’re fighting about. Perhaps the irritability you are experiencing is resulting from the little to no margin built into your life to help your marriage breathe.

God designed your marriage to be the place where the “two become one.” And that “one” needs space to breathe. Because without breathe, there is not life. So for the sake of your personal sanity and your marital sanity, you need to build in that margin (breathing space).

Margin begins with a change of “ownership.”

Love Paul’s word to the church in Corinth,

Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. God owns the whole works. So let people see God in and through your body.1 Corinthians 6:20 (MSG)

If you have “margin” issues, you have an ownership problem. If you are looking at life from the view of an owner, life will be run in accordance to your personal feelings and limited/finite perspective.  BUT, if you see everything you have (including yourself) as belonging to the Lord, then you see yourself as a steward. And, when you handle something that doesn’t belong to you, your response has a different approach. Stewardship is about managing not owning. Therefore, you respond to what you have through the wishes of the Owner. An intentionally rundown life and marriage doesn’t glorify God; a margin-filled, healthy lives and marriages do.

Without margin, you find yourselves, not really fighting each other, but fighting to catch your breath. You begin to respond, not necessarily to the issue but from a place of “oxygen depletion.  I wonder if some of your conflicts looks like a fight but, they’re really two people fighting to get a fresh breath in their marital lungs.

Be Strategic About Margin.

I propose to look at your schedule and begin to take some intentional steps toward change. Ask yourself if you have any margin built-in. I submit that every couple should strive to build…

Margins for Expectation.
Anne and I have a standing 15 minute appointment on Sunday evenings. Most of the time we’ll take a walk and have the talk will we’re strolling through the neighborhood. If not, we’ll sit on the bed and have the conversation. The substance of the talk is simply about the forecast of the week’s schedule.  It puts us on the same page for the next 7 days. Usually, we’ll reconnect mid-week for another walk/talk just to see if anything has changed. Remember: Disappointment is the gap between expectation and experience. Do you best to close the gap. Which leads to #2…

Margins for Connection.
From dates with your spouse to time with the children, establishing a margin of connection helps it helps a family stay healthy. Passion is kindled by connection. And far too many people lose out on the passion simply because they lost connection. Anne and I are not legalistic about the exact times, but we use our Sunday night talks to make sure we keep our connection to each other and our children a very high priority. You want to breathe life into your fam, build a margin of connection points into your lives.

Margins of Deepening
So many couples are running on empty. You are wanting to draw some breath but nothing is breathing into you. There has to be intentional actions/habits that facilitate a deeper walk with Christ.  This will look different for everyone. The goal isn’t to go into a method that isn’t a fit. The goal is to take the simple (not easy) principles of Word, worship, and prayer and put the priority of developing strategic margins to deepen your relationship with Christ. Remember: The greater the passion you have for God will pour out in your marriage. You give out of what you receive (which I think is freaking cool).

Margins for Grace.
Do you have enough space in your marriage for people to make mistakes or is there a demand for perfection? I’m not talking about turning a blind eye to sin, but developing the heart of Christ regarding the imperfections we all possess. If your spouse has ANY fear of you finding out about ANY mistakes (even simple ones), then you may need to reevaluate how much margin you need to build in and communicate to your spouse. Constrained homes strangle life; Grace-filled homes breathe in forgiveness. 

Margins of Boredom
You don’t have to always have everything planned. Unplanned/open times are necessary.  Boredom or unplanned timeframes gives room for the you to relax and relinquish stress. It will stretch your creativity, not to mention, stills you better hear direction from the Lord. You may find yourselves taking a walk together or reading a book in a quiet place. Sometimes when you slow down, you catch what really matters.

Margins of Rest
Closely related to boredom, rest brings a reset to your system. Like technology, sometimes a reset changes everything.Rest gives you a chance to recover. Couples who do not engage in proper restful activities, engage each other with exhausted minds and spirits. Getting proper sleep, manageable schedules, meaningful vacations, and the periodic naps are great for the both of you to enjoy and rest together. 

Margins for Serving
Schedules can get so crowded with busyness. What I find couples doing, is filling their schedules with good things. There’s nothing wrong with hard work, ballgames, home projects, and the like. The things of life can be very good. But “good” doesn’t equate to the “best.” I believe that “serving” falls into the category of “the best.” Too many fill up their lives, and if there is any time/moment left, they’ll offer a token effort. I think of so many notes I’ve received from couples who stepped out to serve together and discovered the true joy in serving. I’m not asking you to volunteer for 10 different ministries at church or in your community. But choose ONE. Build some margin for serving others and watch a fresh breath get breathed into your lives.

Don’t let the pace of the culture dictate the margin you have. In a world that demands your time and promotes a frantic routine of life, be willing to stand up against the current, put your head above the busyness, and take a breath. Then purposely and strategically, begin to build margin back into your marriage.

Give your lives a fresh breath. Get some margin.

I love you all. I’m praying for you.


Thanks for letting me ramble…

Monday Kfirst Kickstart: Leveling Your Soul #Playlist

Today I want to give you a place to start your week. It’s Monday, and sometimes in the wake of a great weekend and long workweek ahead, you just need a “kickstart” to get focused.  So grab some coffee let’s start a great week together. 

Loved the day we at Kfirst yesterday. We continued our series “Playlist“as we looked at Psalm 131 (Read Psalm 131) as we put our focus on the pride we all deal with. It’s never an easy thing to deal with. That why Charles Spurgeon said of Psalm 131, 

 “It is one of the shortest Psalms to read, but one of the longest to learn.”

I’ll admit, yesterday’s message was working hard on me up till the service and has been pounding on my heart since.  I’ve been asking the Holy Spirit to give me greater revelation of the areas of my life where I am letting pride in. I mean, let’s all admit: Pride is a struggle for all of us. And, like carbon monoxide, it’s been a silent killer that goes undetected. It’s for that reason we said, 

Your pride will want to wrestle your vision aways from you to distract what Christ wants to do in you and through you. This natural and gradual inclination has no desire to co-exist with a move of God in your life. It wants to destroy anything God has built. That’s why we take pride seriously. 

The Psalmist did. And his answer for leveling his soul when pride wanted to throw him off was to be in the presence of God “like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.” So this week, would you take a couple Next Steps from Psalm 131?

  1. Spend time in the presence of God. Be in His presence just to seek His face without worrying about asking anything of Him. Listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Find a time to worship the Lord on your own. Get into the Word of God. If you need a reading plan to start, use this link from our youversion sermon notes
  2. Practice the AAA.
    • Admission. 
      • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see where pride has crept in.
    • Accountability. 
      • Who is a trusted person in your life you can confess pride to and who will help you overcome pride?
    • Actively pursuing humility. 
      • Two of the greatest ways to pursue humility: 
        • Worship. I know some who can worship without music. If you need some, here’s one of my favorite playlists right now: River Valley Worship
        • Serving. When you get beyond your pride and serve others, you both cultivate the character of Jesus and show the world who He is. 

Love you all.  See you on Sunday. 

BTW: Here’s a song to put on your #Playlist this week: 

2 Minute Devos: Crash – Day 7

Crash Prayer Card 2

Today’s scripture: Romans 12:1

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering.

2 Minute Devos: Crash – Day 3

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A rhinoceros; characterized by it’s tough skin, physical design, and pure power.  A large group or herd of rhinoceros is also known as a “Crash.”  A crash is especially dangerous because of the high amount of force and speed that is combined from the individuals coming together.

The words “one accord” in the book of Acts shows exactly what one accord will do when God is involved. The words “one accord” have a variety of meanings such as “togetherness, with one mind, harmony, united in purpose, unanimity.”   When the Acts believers reach a “crash” or a point of unity, powerful things happened.

What if the “Crash” mindset was applied to the prayer life of a church? While the prayer of an individual, according to James 5:16, “has great power and produces wonderful results.” A group, or a Crash, of those same individuals coming together to pray can have catastrophic results to the kingdom of darkness.  When people are “of one mind,” the prayer capacity of that unanimity can bring about unbelievable outcomes.

Today’s scripture: Psalm 91

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say[a] to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his pinions,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
5 You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked.

9 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place—
the Most High, who is my refuge[b]—
10 no evil shall be allowed to befall you,
no plague come near your tent.

11 For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways.
12 On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and the adder;
the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
15 When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will rescue him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

2 Minute Devo: “Faithful Judge”

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We started a new series this month called “His Faithfulness” We are looking at the faithfulness of God revealed to us in the scripture.  Take time to read the passage here on the blog or in your own bible.

Today’s scripture: Psalm 96

Oh sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;[a]
tremble before him, all the earth!

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”

11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12     let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13     before the Lord, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.

2 Minute Devo: “Joy from who He is” 1 Chron. 16:7-36

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September is our journey through the 2 minute series called “Restoring Joy”.  I want to invite you to join me as we. It’s as simple as viewing  the vlog and reading the passage for the day.  Today’s passage is 1 Chron. 16:7-36:

1 Chronicles 16:7-36

Then on that day David first appointed that thanksgiving be sung to the Lord by Asaph and his brothers.

Oh give thanks to the Lord; call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the peoples!
Sing to him, sing praises to him;
tell of all his wondrous works!
10 Glory in his holy name;
let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice!
11 Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually!
12 Remember the wondrous works that he has done,
his miracles and the judgments he uttered,
13 O offspring of Israel his servant,
children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

14 He is the Lord our God;
his judgments are in all the earth.
15 Remember his covenant forever,
the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,
16 the covenant that he made with Abraham,
his sworn promise to Isaac,
17 which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,
to Israel as an everlasting covenant,
18 saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan,
as your portion for an inheritance.”

19 When you were few in number,
of little account, and sojourners in it,
20 wandering from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another people,
21 he allowed no one to oppress them;
he rebuked kings on their account,
22 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones,
do my prophets no harm!”

23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Tell of his salvation from day to day.
24 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
25 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and he is to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the Lord made the heavens.
27 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place.

28 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
29 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come before him!
Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness;[a]
30     tremble before him, all the earth;
yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
31 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice,
and let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
32 Let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
33 Then shall the trees of the forest sing for joy
before the Lord, for he comes to judge the earth.
34 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures forever!

35 Say also:

“Save us, O God of our salvation,
and gather and deliver us from among the nations,
that we may give thanks to your holy name
and glory in your praise.
36 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!”

Then all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord.