As I’ve been on the web lately, I’ve seen many ads such as “5 Steps for Better Abs” or “How to Lose 10 Pounds in 10 Days.” These all sound appealing to those of us who would like a quick fix, but they’re not usually as easy as they seem, which is why most of us don’t pay attention to the ads.

I’ve seen the same types of ads for marriage. They read something like “10 Ways to Safe-Proof Your Marriage” or “6 Steps to an Easier Marriage.” Alluring and inspiring, right? As I talk with newlyweds, I find that this is what many are really looking for: A step-by-step guide to marriage, something that will tell us exactly what to do, how to get it right, and has a plan of attack.

I have come to really understand that a foundation is the key to growth in relationships. Whether that’s in our relationship with Christ, our spouse, or others. A foundation gives us what we need to build and grow. Check out what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians:

“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.” 1 Corinthians 3:11-13 (ESV)

In our increasingly impatient world, we go for the quick “step help” to fix the behaviors and symptoms that cause pain in our marriage, instead of looking at the foundation. Biblical truth is the obvious foundation on which our marriages should be built and that truth is found in Jesus.

Our goal in marriage is to be a living picture of the gospel. There is a reason that the “step help” ads to losing weight and getting better abs are overlooked. Sure, the results require a change to our routine, discipline, and time, but the truth is that for many of us, it’s not that the steps wouldn’t work, it’s that we’d already have to be in decent shape. I’d love to lose some weight and have rock hard abs, but I would have to first be in a healthy enough place to accept the challenge of new disciplines. Our spiritual foundation is essential to growth, change, and results in marriage.

As newlyweds, will you seek to understand the foundation which God has already laid through the example of Jesus? Step by step help to make temporary fixes in patching up the holes in your marriage isn’t what you need. What you need is to know the heart of God. You need to know grace.

If this is you, check out our Newlywed Weekend coming up. We’ll dive into what this truly looks like and how we can ultimately grow closer to our spouse by having a firm and secure foundation in Christ first.