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Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. -John 15:4-5

What is an
Abiding Marriage?

Many folks have asked us the question, “What is an Abiding Marriage?” And that is, of course, a great question!


The simplest way to think about abiding is by using the word connection. God created us for two primary connections: 1) with Him, our Creator, and 2) with others. in the versea above, Jesus shared that there is a vital connection between a vine and its branches. And in the same way, God created us for connection with Him as our Creator, and connection to others also made in the image of God. 


The word "abide" basically means "to remain." Every Christ-follower is made to be dependent on and inseparably linked to Jesus Christ in all areas of life. We depend on Him for grace and power to obey. We look obediently to His Word for instruction on how to live. We offer Him our deepest adoration and praise and we submit ourselves to His authority over our lives. In short, Christians gratefully know Jesus Christ is the source and sustainer of their lives. (1)


So it is critical that we remain connected to Jesus Christ. To have a daily pursuit of Him. And it is that vertical relationship with Him that overflows into our horizontal relationship with our spouse and others. We cannot expect to be growing in our marriage relationship unless we are abiding and deeply connected to the Lord. As a fellow marriage counselor reminds me often, “Glen, marriages are always fixed vertically before they are fixed horizontally”.


We could share more, but let me close out our sharing on this page with what Pastor Bill Elliff has to share on having an abiding marriage:

The Abiding Marriage

By Bill Elliff

The bookstores are filled with marriage counsel. Conferences abound. Social media is flooded with tips on how to have a successful marriage. Many are good and helpful. But, if you want to have a marriage that lasts and is full of the life of God, there is one thing that Jesus said you must do.


You must abide in Christ.


“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5


To abide means to remain in a stable or fixed position. As Jesus was giving His final instructions to His disciples, He reminded them of their absolute inability to accomplish anything apart from Him. Oh, they could be fishermen, and maybe build a house, or have a ministry. But they couldn’t accomplish what God desired without God Himself! They needed to be connected to and filled with God! And they needed Him every moment of the day.



As Christ left the earth, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in each believer. We now can be joined continually to God! His attitudes can fill our minds, His affection fill our hearts, and His actions fill our steps. Christ can flow through us like “rivers of living water.” We can have the fruits of His life: “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). But, this only comes as we abide.


If a patient had a lifesaving oxygen mask on, it would be useless if it was taken off and on. They must abide in the stream of the life-giving oxygen to survive and thrive. For a husband or wife to survive and thrive in marriage, you must make the great determination of your heart to remain in humble, hourly, dependency upon Christ.


You must understand that His life flowing through you is the greatest gift you can give your mate! And, you must make any adjustment He directs to keep it so. The degree to which you will harm your marriage (or any endeavor), is the degree to which you pull away from Him, vainly thinking you can handle life by yourself.



This demands of us a daily attention to the Word as we listen to Him and an unceasing communion with Him in prayer. It is aided by being surrounded by the people of God in His body, the church. It is sustained by a refusal of all that would quench and grieve His Spirit within us—anything that would pull us away from the “simplicity and purity of devotion to Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).


If you want to work on your marriage, work on your abiding!



For going deeper on abiding:


Ligonier Ministries:


Bible Study Tools:


  1. Grace to You Ministry: What does it mean to abide in Christ?

  2. Bill Elliff: The Abiding Marriage, April 2019.

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