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Show Me the Marriage!
Understanding the spiritual connection between marriage and your work will help you maximize your effectiveness in the marketplace.

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A most popular book back in the 70's and 80's was titled What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School. I am convinced that whether at Harvard or at Ivey or Schulich, you will find virtually no information on the effects of marriage on the success of businesses or on the growth or decline of the Dow or the TSX! Surprised? Of course not!

Business schools have bought into the systematic secularization of all things financial and have isolated, to a large degree, balance sheets from balanced lifestyles. Even many Christians over the centuries have endorsed the separation of work and family, resulting in the weakening of both institutions.

Consider the writer of another text who knows even more than Harvard about both business and marriage! On the subject of business he says: "Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you'll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you're serving is Christ…. Use your heads as you live and work among outsiders. Don't miss a trick. Make the most of every opportunity" (Colossians 3 and 4 The Message). In short, know who you're working for; work smart as a Christian; and be innovative in the pursuit of excellence!

The worldview of the believer must include God's sovereignty over all of creation. Therefore, as a strong witness of your faith in Christ, every aspect is expected to be aligned with the Word of God and the will of God.

Whether you serve in sales or as a CEO, business success and profitability is never enough to satisfy the God you choose to serve.

Your marriage is of great significance to God as you engage in the '9 to 5 window as His ambassador. God's first expectation is that you will know Him and choose to be transformed into the image of His Son. He created both male and female, and endorsed marriage as the perfect solution for His Church and the best environment for children.

The obvious conclusion of God's mysterious design and purpose is that for the Christian, an intimate marriage relationship with one's spouse is of great significance to Him and to His kingdom work. (Being called as a 'single' is a wonderful exception.)

Marriage is an unbreakable covenant and should never be entered into lightly. It is not about living together, nor about having sex. It is a 'mysterious' expression of Jesus who died for the Church — the people who choose to love Him as Saviour and Lord.

Remember, Jesus left a perfect home with His Father to gain a bride for Himself. While the work of Jesus was finished on the Cross, He still plans to return for His bride sometime soon.

Our work is to love our spouse as we are loved by Christ, and to do our work in the office or the plant in a manner that honours the marriage relationship of all associates, customers and employees.

This 'mystery' has eternal significance and therefore cannot be ignored by those who desire to honour the Lord at work or who expect God to bless their business. God will be asking the question... "So how's your marriage — how are you growing in your love life at home?"

A harmonious love relationship with God and with your spouse produces some pretty special 'fruit'. Is it a stretch of the imagination to conclude that a CEO or employee is in a better position to lead or to work when peace of mind and a contented spirit are present? Is it not also reasonable to assume that a man or woman distracted by conflict, frustration or even dissatisfaction at home, will be affected in their performance of their duties at work?

Ed Silvoso, a popular speaker and author who deals extensively with marriage and the workplace, claims that better intimacy in the bedroom produces better productivity in the boardroom! A healthy marriage reduces stress, eliminates most 'other gender' attractions and contributes to innovative and creative work habits. It guarantees nothing, but establishes a great foundation for success in the complex world of the work place.

Situation: A spouse sharing with a family therapist about the marriage:  "When I got married I was expecting the ideal. Then it became an ordeal. And now I want a new deal!" With diligence and determination, God will provide the real deal!

Loving your spouse implies a “knowing,” a solid awareness of belonging, trust, depth of commitment and duration. It is warm, tender and kind. It is one partner engaged in serving the best interests of the other. It is the best investment on earth!

A great relationship is one where Jesus is Lord, I can be me, you can be you, we can be us and we can grow in Christ together. A relationship on the A' list — mutual acceptance, affection, appreciation, approval, and attention will in all likelihood, produce an 'A' list candidate for any position at work.

A love for God and from God will enable you to love your spouse unconditionally. There is more however — remember that you also have to love your neighbour! This becomes increasingly more difficult as your spheres of influence and contacts expand.

Loving the neighbourhood truck driver is easier than loving the Taliban. How far does this loving others have to go? I'll tell you — Jesus said to love your enemies. Are you still on that 'A' list?

My wife Lore and I met Marion Parkinson and grew to love her and appreciate her immensely as a godly woman. Marion had been married to her husband Robert for ten years before they both accepted the call to go as missionaries to Trinidad. It was 2:00 a.m. January 19, 1942, when an enemy U-boat fired two torpedoes at the Lady Hawkins, a luxury steamship traveling from Canada to Trinidad.

The explosions produced havoc and total darkness. Marion and Robert jumped into the water. While Marion miraculously made her way to one of the few lifeboats, she never saw Robert again. He was lost at sea! Marion floated on that lifeboat for five days before a rescue ship arrived.

I will not be able to do justice to her courage and heroism but the essence of this incredible incident is that Marion served the people of Trinidad for the next 23 years! When you think about God's love for the world and His commandment to love others, perhaps thinking about Marion Parkinson might help. She and so many others from every tribe and nation have sacrificed much out of their love for Jesus.

As you continue your journey of life toward spiritual maturity, be aware that God is sovereign and has called you to love your family and your neighbour and to remain alert and diligent should He return soon to claim His own.

Marion's story is available as a book titled Plucked from the Sea by George R. Upton, published by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, 1977.

Gerry Organ is the director of national initiatives for OneWayMinistries.

Originally published in Business Life, Spring 2008.

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