Many of us have been in the back yard in the heat of the summer, hose in hand and kiddie pool at our feet. As the water splashes into the pool little droplets bounce up and hit you on the legs, instantly cooling you down. After a while the pool is full and ready to be enjoyed. Soon the heat of the sun will have the ice cold water adequately warmed up and ready to enjoy. Happiness occurs when the pool is full.

The imagery of filling a pool, water class, bucket, or any other container helps bring to life a Biblical concept that can seem abstract and difficult to understand.  You may have heard the phrase, or something similar in the past, that emphasized a Christians need to “fill our empty lives” with Christ. Instead of trying to dig into all the things we can “do” in order to accomplish what we think that means we need explore what it looks like to personally allow ourselves to be filled with God in our marriage. What we choose to do after we have the vision is up to each one of us. The design and purpose is the same for all of us.

Ephesians 5:18-6:1-2 outlines may of the practical “How To’s” of a marriage relationship. Love, respect, honor, selflessness, and attitudes are all addressed in the passage. Focus your attention to verse 18 because it gives a backdrop for the whole relationship. When Paul says to be “filled with the Spirit” he gives a pre-requisite not only for believers in general but for two people in a covenant marriage relationship. So, why is it important to be “filled with the Spirit”? Until we fill our “empty lives” with the Holy Spirit  we can never remove the emptiness and searching we were created with. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit we have the ability to experience fulfilled marriages and fulfilled relationships. Until then we can’t do it.

Go back to the empty pool illustration. If we enter into a covenant marriage relationship with someone expecting to experience a “full” life and find happiness in the other person we will always be let down. That is not to say that we can not experience any amount of happiness in our marriage but the kind of happiness that extends beyond a temporary experience can not be fully grasped unless we are willing to be filled with the Spirit and allow Him to be our source of happiness. To many young couples enter into marriage hoping their spouse will give them a sense of purpose and happiness. As the marriage continues to go they both become less happy with their spouse and search for someone or something to make them feel happy again. Hence the high number of divorces and infidelity in our society. The problem isn’t one of happiness, it is a problem of source. Seeking happiness from the wrong source will always end in disappointment.

How do we experience the happiness we long for in life?  Things will be as we want them to be ONLY if we are fully pursuing righteousness in Christ. Not because it’s what “we want” but because our relationships and marriages will be what He designed them to be. If we are willing to pursue a growing and empowering relationship with our Creator and Maker we will also be able to pursue and experience a vibrant and growing relationship with our spouse. The righteous pursuit of God will by default cause us to act and think in such a way that promotes change in our relationships. When that change is rooted in the truth of the Gospel and Christ’s work for us on the cross it will produce a heart and mind that are filled with happiness, forgiveness, peace, and perseverance. Our marriage is the perfect setting to begin working out our salvation!
The family is the place where your spiritual growth should be lived out the most because it is the environment God has created for us to most learn to be like Christ.
Someone once said “Marriage isn’t primarily supposed to make us happy. It’s original intent is to make us holy.” They are correct because our happiness comes from God. He uses our marriage to help us become more like Him, holy. A man’s spiritual manifestation should be seen most at home. A woman’s spiritual growth and health should be seen most at home. From there it is seen to the world around them.
The design of marriage won’t work very well when there is sin. Personal pride and fulfillment destroys marriage and relationships. Seek God’s forgiveness for attempting to find satisfaction and happiness on your own and choose instead to pursue Him. Happiness isn’t about doing certain things, it is about being “filled with the Spirit” and allowing Him to change your life.