One of the best ways to see signs of God’s blessing on your relationship is to look at a marriage that wasn’t blessed by God. Step away from your emotions; take hold of the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Put your desperate (and normal!) yearnings for love aside; learn from the word of God.
In this article, you’ll find five signs of God’s blessing on your relationship. I was inspired by last Sunday’s sermon on one of the unhealthiest and unholiest Biblical marriages: Herod and Herodias. In Mark 6, we’re told the story of King Herod, his wife Herodias and her daughter. When we look at their interactions and decisions, we’ll see obvious signs that God did not bless their relationship.
Looking at this unhealthy, unblessed and even abusive marriage will give us more than the usual warning signs of a bad relationship. It can teach us how to love better, enjoy life more fully, and be filled with light and joy — even if we have to walk away from a relationship that wasn’t blessed by God.
Disharmony, disconnection and disunity are obvious signs God hasn’t blessed your relationship. Abuse, intolerance, disrespect, lying, cheating and stealing are more signs of bad relationships.
Simply spotting the signs God hasn’t blessed your relationship isn’t enough. It takes wisdom, strength and discipline to actually do something about it! “Doing something” might mean leaving a Christian marriage, or seeking relationship counseling.
You may have to learn how to break your addiction to a toxic relationship, and build a deeper relationship with God. You may have to change the desires of your heart, the habits of your life, and your expectations of your boyfriend or husband.
There are no right or wrong answers, and I can’t tell you if God has blessed your relationship. But, I can share what I learned in church last Sunday!
How to Know if God Has Blessed Your Relationship
The tricky part of discerning God’s blessing on a relationship is the discomfort and even pain that accompanies even healthy unions. Just because you’re struggling in a relationship or marriage doesn’t mean God has not blessed it. It just means you’re in a normal relationship with a human being who is just as weak, flawed and foolish as you are.
Put two weak, flawed and foolish human beings together, and what do you get? Strength, unity, love and wisdom — but only if God has blessed your relationship. And we’ve looped back to the first question: how do you know if God’s blessings are on you and your boyfriend or husband?
Let’s look at a bad marriage for insights into good relationships.
1. Your relationship brings life, healing, and joy to others
In the Bible, King Herod and his wife Herodias were seriously abusive to other people. They destroyed lives, damaged relationships, abused their children, and caused unbelievable pain and suffering. They weren’t just an example of a marriage unblessed by God, they were a couple who were ruled by greed, bitterness, hate and evil.
In comparison to Herod and Herodias, your relationship is probably light and loving — even if you’re struggling with conflict! But, look around you. How is your relationship affecting your family, friends, neighbors, and even your pets? Are your children learning good, healthy things from you and your partner? Are your parents supportive and comfortable with your relationship?
If you’re having an affair, your relationship is not blessed by God.
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Is your relationship bringing life, healing and love to other people’s lives…or are you and your boyfriend or husband negatively affecting or even destroying other people? An important sign of God’s blessing on your relationship is how it impacts other people.
2. You and your boyfriend have a unified vision
King Herod liked listening to John the Baptist’s preaching, teaching and prophesying about Jesus. Herod was confused by John’s words, but he liked having John around. Herodias, on the other hand, hated John the Baptist. John had pointed out that Herod and Herodias’ relationship was immoral and wrong (seeking God’s blessing on their relationship was the least of their concerns!). Herodias was bitter, angry and unforgiving; Herod was willing to shrug off John’s chastisement. Herodias and Herod had extremely different views about how to treat John the Baptist.
What about you and your husband or boyfriend — are you unified in your values, beliefs, goals and plans for the future? Do you agree on the most important thing in life: your relationship with God? Are you both faithful to Jesus, do you invite the Holy Spirit into your daily decisions? Those are all signs of God’s blessing on your relationship.
If you have a relationship with a “Higher Power” but not with God, read From Believing in God to Having a Relationship With Jesus.
3. You and your boyfriend don’t resort to control or manipulation
Herodias manipulated her husband into taking John the Baptist’s life. Herodias used her daughter to control her husband, kill an innocent man, and break the hearts of people around her. She’s still causing grief today — you’ll feel the pain when you read what she did in Mark 6! King Herod wasn’t innocent, but he was proud and easily manipulated. Being drunk didn’t help, either.
Do you tend towards control and manipulation in your relationship? This can be difficult to see, because manipulative people don’t necessarily realize they’re being controlling.
Passive aggressiveness and narcissism are forms of control and manipulation in relationships — and they’re definitely not signs of God’s blessing!
If you already know you tend to control and manipulate your boyfriend or husband, read How to Stop Being a Controlling Girlfriend.
4. You and your husband talk about important decisions
In the Bible, King Herod made a decision about John the Baptist that echoed loudly and painfully through the land at that time. And, it’s still echoing today. Herod’s decision — which Herodias schemed to make happen — wasn’t discussed or agreed on by them as a couple. They didn’t take time to think, talk, weigh the pros and cons, or consider the consequences. Instead, they forged madly and blindly ahead, ruled by their raging emotions and self-centered pride.
What about you and your husband or boyfriend? Do you talk through the important decisions in your life? You don’t have to agree on everything. In fact, it would be odd if you did agree on every topic or decision! Agreement isn’t always a sign God blessed your relationship. Honesty, authenticity, freedom to be open, and respect are signs of God’s blessing on your relationship.
5. You don’t compare your relationship to other couples
We’re looking at King Herod and Herodias’ marriage to learn how abusive, unhealthy relationships can be. There’s a difference between comparing yourself (“Well, I may be slightly controlling, but at least I’m not as evil or manipulative as Herodias!”) and learning from the mistakes and experiences of others.
Don’t compare your relationship to the couples you know. Your relationship with your boyfriend — or your marriage with your husband — is unique to you. Learn from the wisdom of other couples, but don’t make direct comparisons. And, don’t compare how God has blessed other couples with how God is blessing you and your partner. God treats us all differently because we’re all different.
What do you think about my “signs of God’s blessing on your relationship”? Your thoughts – big and little – are welcome below! I read every comment, but don’t worry: I won’t give advice or tell you what to do. It’s your turn to talk.
Help Seeing the Signs of God’s Blessing
In Sacred Marriage – What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy, Gary L. Thomas offers more than techniques to make a marriage happier.
Sacred Marriage contains practical tools, but what married Christians most need is help in becoming holier husbands and wives. Gary offers that help with insights from Scripture, church history, time tested wisdom from Christian classics, and examples from today’s marriages.
If you’re confused about your relationship, you’re normal. Relationships can be difficult — especially when you’re in love, or if you’ve been invested in years of marriage, or if you have children and financial entanglements and religious views that restrict your ability to hear God.
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Take a deep breath. Bow your heart to God, and ask for His wisdom for your relationship. Ask Him to show you the signs of His blessing on your relationship. Ask the Holy Spirit for guidance for the next step. You don’t need to see the whole road…just ask Jesus to take the next step with you.