By Dr. Randy Carlson

Donna and I have eight grandchildren. One of our grandsons was at our house the other day, and he said, “Papa, do you have any old keys?” You see, he collects keys. He has a little band around his wrist with a chain for his keys.

Do you have a box of old keys?  Maybe you have a drawer where you keep old keys. If you’re like me, you don’t throw keys away because we assume some day we are going to need that key even though we have no idea what it goes to.  Right?

My grandson’s inquiry got me thinking about the keys to a thriving marriage, and this month, I want to share three keys that are critical to unlocking the kind of marriage (or any relationship) that God intended for you. But these three keys I’ll share won’t work unless you have the right lock. So first, I want to talk about the importance of the lock.

Every lock has a different kind of key. And the lock for these three keys is humility. You can never have the kind of relationship God intends for you to have unless you have humility.

When the Apostle Paul wrote the Book of Philippians, he wasn’t at the Hyatt Regency; he was in prison. He wrote to the church at Philippi, exhorting them in this passage about the power of humility in the relationship.

Paul says, “Therefore, if there is any consolation in Christ, any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the spirit, if any affection and mercy fulfill my joy by being like minded having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind, let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in the lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philippians 2:1-3 NKJV)

I’ve marked this next verse in my Bible because it’s really profound when it comes to making relationships work. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests but also the interest of others.”(Philippians 2:4 NKJV)  That’s a humble way to live.

No matter what positive aspects there are to your relationship with your spouse, if you don’t have that sense of humility Paul talks about, it will be difficult to thrive.

If you’ve taken a marketing class, you learned it’s vital to meet the needs of the customer. That is where the connection is, and that is true in our relationships.  If I am more interested in myself than I am in you, long-term, we won’t experience a thriving relationship. Those kinds of relationships will fail.

The three keys to a thriving relationship require the right lock, and the lock must be humility. When you are intentional about these internal things, it makes it a lot easier to do those outward things. Unlocking the secret to a thriving marriage begins on the inside.

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