In a marriage there should be three people in the relationship, and both husband and wife should be more in love with the third party than they are with each other. That third party is God.
That’s the concept shared by licensed professional counselor and author Debra Fileta in an op-ed published Thursday for Relevant magazine.
Fileta says loving Christ more than your spouse should be the goal of every couple, and can result in a stronger marriage.
With 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States ending in divorce, according to research by the American Psychological Association, that might be a welcome concept for many couples.
A right relationship with Christ is the foundation for a good relationship with your spouse, according to the counselor.
“The more we love God, the better we are at loving people,” Fileta explained in an email to The Christian Post Friday.
Fileta, who has been counseling couples and singles for 10 years and specializes in dating, marriage and relationship issues, devotes a significant portion of her book on dating and relationships, True Love Dates, to this concept.
In her recent op-ed, the author talks about the relationship with her husband of nine years. “Our individual relationships with God trump our relationship with one another. And in my sincere opinion, that is the very truth that keeps our marriage alive, strong and complete.”
Every marriage has its up and downs and Fileta explains that during times “when each of us don’t feel like loving or giving or forgiving” is when a love for God helps to sustain them. “Our relationship with God is the supernatural relationship that pours into us so we can pour into each other.”
You may wonder: How do you know if your spouse loves God more than they love you?
“The truth is, only God truly knows the heart of a person and the extent of their relationship with Him,” the counselor told CP. “But I think a good indicator of a person’s connection with God is when someone displays the characteristics of His spirit. According to Galatians 5, when our hearts are connected with His, we exude fruit in the form of: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self control.”
Fileta believes that such characteristics can enable married couples to have a “romantic relationship on an every-day basis.”
“I believe it’s important to draw close to God and prioritize Him in our lives in order to allow those characteristics [from Galatians 5] to be cultivated. … Any counselor will tell you that two people displaying those qualities in their life on a consistent basis are two people who are sure to have a healthy relationship.”