The One Thing You Need for a Blessed Marriage – Part 2: Examples from Jesus

Last week we looked at the one thing we all must do to have a blessed marriage–give our lives to Jesus and follow Him and His teaching. We used several instructions from God found in the Bible that speak to this.

This week we will look at three places in the Bible where Jesus Himself talked about one thing we must do to have the life and marriage He desires for us.

The first of these is found in Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler (see Mark 10:17-22). While Jesus is walking, a man described as having “great wealth” (v. 22) approaches Him. The man asks Jesus: “…what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus begins His response by suggesting the man obey God’s commandments.

The man claims: “…all these I have kept since I was a boy” (v. 20). Jesus’ reply to the man shows His heart for us. He cannot let this man stop there because He loves him, and it would be short of where he needs to be to enjoy the true riches of God’s Kingdom.

We read in Mark 10:21: “Jesus looked at him and loved him. ‘One thing you lack,’ he said. ‘Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me’” (bold mine).

Another time Jesus spoke of one thing was during His conversation with Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38-42. Once again Jesus and His disciples were traveling and came to the home of the two women. As a meal was being prepared for them, Jesus was speaking to them. We are told that Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said” (v. 39). But Martha “was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” (v. 40).

Martha became irritated at her sister because she was not helping her. Martha even asked Jesus:Tell her to help me!” (v. 40). He answers Martha’s request in verses 41-42: “’Martha, Martha,’ the Lord answered, ‘you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her’” (bold mine).

A third time that we read the idea of one thing during Jesus’ ministry was when He healed the blind man in John 9:1-25. Again Jesus and His disciples are traveling. And they come across a man who was born blind.

Jesus heals the man, though in a different way than we see elsewhere in the Gospels (see vv. 6-7). This causes quite a commotion in the town where it occurred. All of this leads the people to take the man and their questions to the Jewish leaders for answers.

The blind man and his parents were questioned at length by the religious leaders. But they were not satisfied by any response given to them. You can hear the religious leaders’ frustration as they finally had the following exchange with the healed blind man in verses 24-25: “A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. ‘Give glory to God by telling the truth,’ they said. ‘We know this man is a sinner.’ 25 He replied, ‘Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!’” (bold mine).

The “one thing” in all three accounts is the same. The Jewish seeker, frazzled Martha, and the Jewish religious leaders were all missing the “one thing.” They were blinded to Jesus and the truth He was teaching.

Jesus told the rich young ruler that the one thing he lacked was putting Jesus above all of his money and possessions. What “things” in your life keep you from following Jesus fully? Whatever they are, are they worth not having the relationship with Him–and not having the relationship with each other–that God wants you to have?

We need to have the same attitude that Peter and John had in Acts 3:1-6. While walking to the temple in Jerusalem, they were confronted by a lame beggar. Acts 3:6 says: “Then Peter said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.’” 

Our attitude must be that everything we have comes from and belongs to God. This includes our lives and our marriage. It all must be used for His glory by serving others.

Martha was told by Jesus that the one thing she was missing was the one thing that her sister Mary had discovered. That one thing was the importance of spending time with Him. Have you made that a priority in your lives individually and as a couple?

Our lives are very busy–jobs, family, church, and on and on. These are not unimportant things and must not be neglected. However, we must be careful they do not become more important than God and spending time with Him.

In fact, spending time with the Lord will make our time spent with the other things more meaningful and productive. Jesus knew spending time with His Father was vital to His ministry, so He made time for it in His busy schedule (see Matthew 14:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16). We must do the same.

The blind man was made physically able to see by Jesus. He was also made spiritually able to see that Jesus was someone special—someone worth standing up for and giving His life to.

This man’s ability to now see spiritually allowed him–unlike his parents (see John 9:18-23)–to overcome his fear of the Jewish leaders and to stand for Christ. It led him to become a follower of Jesus (John 9:34-38), no matter the cost. This is what making Jesus our one thing will do for us.

Is Jesus your One Thing? Is He first above everything else in your marriage? Even above each other?

Making Jesus your One Thing is the only way to have the blessed marriage He desires for you.

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♦   Read this week’s teaching together. How did God speak to you through it?

♦   Which of the three biblical accounts about “one thing” relates best to your current situation? What can you learn from it?

♦   Making Jesus the One Thing above everything else in your marriage requires spending time with Him together. Reading this teaching together is one way to help you do this. Our Couple Connect ebook and designing tool can help you further. Here is the link to this free resource: Couple Connect.

♦   Close your time by praying together. Ask God to help you make Him the one thing in your lives and marriage.

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Until next week, may God bless you and your marriage in all His wonderful ways,

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Photo by Tom Pumford on Unsplash, (CC0), cropped/text added


About David Penley

A devoted husband and father, former pastor and seminary professor, who longs to grow closer to the likeness of Christ each day and share God's love and truth with everyone.