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Building a Foundation of Worship in Marriage

In lieu of Valentine’s Day, we thought it timely to consider how relationships, and marriage in particular, must be rooted in something other than romance.

Some of you already know that you don’t always feel romantic feelings toward your spouse, especially when he or she is not being particularly lovable. A healthy marriage of love, unity, and understanding must first be rooted in worship.

Worship in this sense is not an hour once a week full of songs and a sermon. Rather, worship should be our identity, the thing drives our every decision. We should not be driven by our career, our spouse, or our hobbies. It should be rooted in pleasing God in every action.

So what does this look like in marriage? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Worship God as Creator. Look at your spouse as an artistic creation of God. He designed every trait and talent your spouse possesses. Seeing your spouse in this light will help you treat him or her with the respect God’s creation deserves.
  2. Worship God as sovereign. He brought you and your spouse together through unforeseen circumstances. You bring different backgrounds and experiences into the marriage that should work together, not serve as points of conflict or ridicule.
  3. Worship God as Savior. It doesn’t take long to realize that you have married a sinner. As you reflect on God’s saving grace for you, you will be reminded that your spouse is not the only sinner in the room in need of redemption. This will allow you to be more graceful and forgiving toward your spouse and encourage their growth and redemption

Content from What Did You Expect? by Paul David Tripp. As a little holiday gift, we’d like to give away two signed copies of What Did You Expect. Here’s how you can win. Simply leave a note in the comments section telling us either 1. Practical ways you and your spouse worship God in your marriage 2. Tips or elements from a successful marriage that you’ve experienced or witnessed in others or 3. Why you’d really like a copy of this book.

February 14, 2011 | Posted in: Uncategorized | Author: Crossway Staff @ 10:23 am | (29) Comments »


  1. My husband and I communicate. I mean about everything. All the time. It makes for way less confusion, misunderstanding and drama. That makes our marriage better every day.

    Comment by Callie Adams — February 14, 2011 @ 10:31 am

  2. Openness and honesty is so important for marriage. Because my wife and I were up front with each other at the beginning, including the things we might have otherwise been left secret, we don’t have to worry about stunning revelations.

    Comment by Andrew Wencl — February 14, 2011 @ 10:43 am

  3. My wife and I have been married for a little over a month, so we are still in the honeymoon stage of our marriage. We are both employed in ministry and have found that eating meals together everyday, praying together, and reading Scripture together are incredibly helpful and I’d argue necessary for a healthy marriage.

    Comment by Andrew F — February 14, 2011 @ 11:09 am

  4. One great foundational truth my wife and I focus on is to reenact the gospel with each other in our marriage.

    Comment by Adam — February 14, 2011 @ 11:12 am

  5. I have heard great things about this book, I would love a chance to read it!

    Comment by Ashley — February 14, 2011 @ 11:19 am

  6. I’m a newlywed and have heard great things about this book. I earnestly desire to have a marriage that glorifies God. I would be excited to win a copy of this book!

    Comment by Peter Hamilton — February 14, 2011 @ 11:26 am

  7. #3 – LOVED this book. my copy is underlined and bookmarked all over the place. would love another copy to give to encourage & edify a married friend!

    Comment by bethany — February 14, 2011 @ 11:28 am

  8. My husband and I have worked with couples for lots of years encouraging them in their marriage and walk with God. I would love to have this material to be able to share with these couples.

    We’ve been married 47 years this summer. :))

    Comment by Loys — February 14, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  9. I recently got engaged and my fiancé and I are both active in ministry and looking forward to full-time ministry in the future. We’ve been searching for solid books that aren’t a lot of fluff and no Gospel message. Would love the opportunity to read this book!

    Comment by Hillary — February 14, 2011 @ 12:04 pm

  10. My wife and I have been married 11 years now and we also have 4 adopted children who are all very close in age. Keeping God central in all the busyness of life is a daily battle for us. I’d love a copy of this book to help my marriage, but also to potentially use it in our small group to help others as well.

    Comment by Jeremy Chambers — February 14, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

  11. My wife and I would like a copy of this book because we both struggle with formulating much too high of expectations in our minds of almost anything, especially marriage. We are newlyweds and believe that this book will greatly help us in forming Bible-centered expectations for the rest of our marriage!

    Comment by Ross Jelgerhuis — February 14, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  12. My wife shows me love and forgiveness constantly. I am not a very good leader of my family, but it is my greatest desire to be. God has changed me so much over the years in our marriage, but I need to continually change. I think that this book would be a great help. Thanks.

    Comment by Brence Minor — February 14, 2011 @ 12:22 pm

  13. We talk all the time. So much so that at night my wife has to tell me to be quiet so she can go to sleep…sometimes more than once:) We do family devotions and bring to gospel to bear on our kids when we have to discipline them. We are probably starting a young married class @ our church and this would be an awsome first book to go through!

    Comment by Craig Hurst — February 14, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

  14. I have just recently discovered Paul Tripp as a teacher. I would love to go through this book with my wife.

    Comment by Jonathan — February 14, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

  15. Last week I was listening to Bethlehem Baptist’s Pastor’s Conference on prayer. In one of the session, there was a panel of men talking about prayer, especially in their own lives. They began talking about the importance of praying with your wife daily. I was deeply convicted that I must begin to pray with my wife every day. By praying with her I am able to know her heart better and lead her well. At the end of the panel discussion John Piper challenged the listeners to start by simply holding your wife’s hand when you wake up and say a short prayer with her. This simple challenge has allowed me to grow deeper in relationship with my wife. This has started me on a journey to be a more gospel-centered husband. By reading Paul Tripp’s book, I hope to grow even more as a husband.

    Comment by Nathan Sloan — February 14, 2011 @ 2:23 pm

  16. My wife and I pray together and share what is on our hearts. We both have led corporate worship with her singing and I preach on a couple of occasions. What makes our marriage great is having time together away from the kids, being interested in each others interests (that is not always easy because we are different), communication even when it is hard to tell the truth, and forgiving each other when we are wrong (I mostly guilty of being wrong). I have heard great things about this book and I want to read it to gain insights from Paul David Tripp about how to make our marriage better and use it as a tool of newly married couples.

    Comment by Chris Land — February 14, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  17. What a great article! Here are a few things I took away. 1.Realizing the God has gifted my wife in a way that he has not gifted me allows me to worship God in new and wonderful ways. 2. Knowing that God has brought my wife and I together through unforeseen circumstances gives me comfort in knowing that God is using us for his glory. 3. In even our first year of marriage I was so amazed at how God was working on my sanctification through my wife.

    Comment by Matthew Wright — February 14, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

  18. I have wanted to get a copy of this book. I greatly respect Paul David Tripp’s writing (and speaking) ministry.

    Comment by Dan Brubacher — February 14, 2011 @ 3:33 pm

  19. 1. We mutually encourage each other to pursue our lay-ministries – worship and teaching.
    2. We revisit date activities that we did before marriage; if it was romantic then, it is likely still romantic now (maybe more-so).
    3. My wife and I are co-leading a small group on marriage in 3 weeks. This would be a great resource for us.

    Thanks for the opportunity!

    Comment by Jude St. John — February 14, 2011 @ 3:43 pm

  20. 1. I am not currently married, but me and my fiancee are working through how to worship together once we are married. Right now we are working through a devotional called Mosaic that includes readings from Scripture, theologians throughout history, and a small devotional based on the ecumenical season. It’s been really helpful. We also encourage one another to daily read Scripture and pray, but won’t do that together until we are married.

    2. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We’ve been told that over and over again by the married couples we have sought out for counsel during our engagement. The most practical piece of advice was given to us by my future brother-in-law and sister-in-law. They said during their marriage counseling they were told that marriage is not give and take, you never take, it’s purely give and give. This has been the most helpful thing we learned during our engagement and has made our relationship so much stronger.

    3. Me and my fiancee, Pamela, are reading any books on marriage we can get our hands on before we get married in June, but she works at a coffee shop and I’m finishing up my senior year of college so we don’t have money to buy books. I’ve been really wanting us to read What Did You Expect? since I heard about it last semester but haven’t yet had the money to buy it. I’d really like for us to get to read through it together and grow together and have more realistic, Biblical expectations going into our marriage.

    Comment by Dwight Davis — February 14, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

  21. I’d love a copy of this book because I’m reading it right now and learning so much. I would love to have another copy to give to another married couple.

    Comment by Jennifer — February 14, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

  22. Practical tips for marriage: don’t try and talk from separate rooms, go to bed together, talk about Jesus, pray with a for each other daily, say sorry regularly, and laugh & have fun a lot! Praise God for the wonderful gift of marriage!

    Comment by Jake Eggertsen — February 14, 2011 @ 5:50 pm

  23. My wife and I both struggle with constantly formulating much too high of expectations about almost everything, especially our marriage. We would love this book, as newly wed’s, to help inform us on more Biblical-centered expectations for marriage in the years to come.

    Comment by Ross Jelgerhuis — February 14, 2011 @ 7:31 pm

  24. These have been helpful for us: 1) Read books together; and not just any books, but books that force you to think and have to articulate your thoughts. For example, my wife and I read Knowing God by J.I. Packer while dating and it really helped us understand each others theology and devotion. 2)Do your “family devotions” right after or even during dinner. It makes for the best time for everyone to be together to read the Bible and then move to a time of prayer. 3)The reason I’d like a copy of this book is because I’ve read other Tripp books and have been constantly challenged by his gospel approach.

    Comment by Andrew — February 14, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

  25. struggling to see God’s purpose and plan in marriage right now.

    Comment by Brooke — February 14, 2011 @ 10:52 pm

  26. We pray together and we discuss our day before bed. Always makes a difference when we don’t. Keeps us in tune and blessed…

    Comment by Robin W — February 15, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

  27. What do i expect?
    I am not married yet, but i hope do it soon.
    I ask God to gift me with a virtous spouse like that described in Proverbs 31.
    I dream of a lady so special and beautiful that could only have been created by Him as CREATOR.
    I dream of a lady so elegant and adorned with His wonderful grace that could only have been prepared by His Holy Spirit.
    I dream of a wise woman to help me live every circunstances in order o praise God and exalt His SOVEREIGNTY
    I dream of a worshiper and humble lady that will encourage me and be encouraged by me in our spiritual growth; recognizing every day more our dapedence on God as SAVIOR.
    What do i expect?
    I expect to recieve this book to be taught and to teach my future wife in this amazing jorney called marriage designed by our Lovely Lord to give us joy and give Him praise.

    Comment by Adilton Júnior — February 19, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

  28. I would love to have a copy of your book because I really need to understand why God allowed my marriage to end up in such brokeness. When I first got married my husband and I both knew the Lord. We have 3 children together. Alcoholism and devotion to his (music)band more than to the family left us in despair. I felt so neglected and hurt in my marriage because of what happened and as a result we hurt each other more towards the end of our relationship and still today I haven’t been able to get over the pain. I have been in a backslidden state for the past 10 years. But in 2006 I met someone who is not a Christian and I have been with him since then. I have been witnessing to him and his family and now just recently (2012) some have given their lives to the Lord but the closer I get to God He is now showing me things that I need to change in myself. I feel like I have disappointed Him in a big way, and I hope that He can forgive me from my past failures. I need Him to show me where do I go from here? Is there any hope left even in the midst of this mess? I need His direction more today than ever before. I feel so helpless and ashamed.

    Comment by Marie — February 11, 2012 @ 6:39 pm

  29. God bless u man of God,there can be nothing more better than a marriage of worship

    Comment by kafui — September 3, 2012 @ 6:44 am

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