At the risk of putting off people who aren’t interested in him, Jesus is a good place to start when we’re talking about what has made our marriage strong. When we were just starting our relationship, I remember thinking that if Rick really believes in God, and believes God is watching and involved, then he would probably be more trustworthy, and less likely to lie to me – especially when we would pray together. We used to joke that if we were in a conflict, one of us need only suggest that now would be a good time to pray. Ha! It was a little like saying, “Oh yeah? That’s still your story, even before THE LORD GOD ALMIGHTY?!” Oh, that’s just so wrong.
Of course, there’s much more to it than that, and if you want a book about Jesus, I know there are plenty. What I know was and is true for us is this: it only works if both people actually, authentically, seriously, and really believe in a God who is not only a person, but intimately involved in the ins and outs of their every-day lives. This is the God we both have followed, and trust with the big stuff as well as the minutia.
We hope to write something here that is helpful to all people, regardless of their beliefs, or disbeliefs. But, it’s also probably helpful to know this is what we think is the best starting point. We think God made a lot of toys and prizes (in the form of spiritual and relational laws — kinda like a metaphysical version of physical laws – like gravity), and anyone can play with them. Anyone can abuse and mistreat them, too… and many of those people are people who profess to believe in God, which is unfortunate.
We would even go so far to say that marriage can absolutely be happy without belief in God. Many churchy-ish people will disagree, but the fact remains, anyone can agree with, and implement, a good idea. For me, the believe part just makes it richer; a little like sharing a beautiful sunset with a good friend (who happened to create it).