A sweet and successful marriage that honors God and respects and values each partner is truly something to be thankful for. And no matter when or how your marriage began, or the challenges that have beset you since, the possibility of creating a sweet and successful union exists because with God nothing is impossible.
Now, it requires two repentant, humble hearts that are absolutely committed to honoring God. And two-as-one who determine to honor the vow and stay the course, face the issues, and work hard to improve the marriage.
If only one of you is working on your marriage, please keep seeking God daily, increasingly becoming the woman or man God has destined you to be. And pray for your mate. Remember, the things you see in him or her that you dislike, may be in you, too. Pride is a foundational sin that runs rampant in humankind. It presents in many different guises, including anger and self-pity. So keep working on yourself, and your obedience and trust in God.
Then detach in love from your spouse until they catch the flame of God’s will for marriage and life.
But if your marriage is seriously troubled by abuse (get out now!), adultery, abandonment or addictions, you need to seek qualified professional care. And make some difficult choices.
For those who want to make a good marriage better, here are ten of 20 tips that can help:
- Keep God first. Begin and end the day with Him, speak to Him in your heart throughout your day. Know He is with you always and nothing will ever separate you from His love.
- Seek the wisdom found in God’s word and apply it with increasing obedience, knowing that when you fail, if your heart is truly sorry, you are immediately forgiven and God wants you to move forward, forgetting what lies behind because he is ever making all things new. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1
- Praying together is a fabulous practice. Keep making that quiet time together a regular priority. Especially when stress puts the squeeze on or you don’t feel like it, remembering that feelings fluctuate and sometimes lie to us.
- God has brought each of you to the other with various strengths and weaknesses. While He wants you to keep developing and reaching for His excellence in your choices, words and actions, God is not a demanding perfectionistic faraway parent out to punish you, or constantly bring up your mistakes. By staying close to God you will be able to discern His voice from the lies of the adversary.
- Be quick to say, “I was wrong. I am sorry. Will you please forgive me?” to each other and God. When we humble ourselves, admit our error, and ask forgiveness we set in motion a lifetime habit of increasing obedience, increasing blessing.
- Remember that while there is great beauty and mystery in the marriage union, there is great beauty and mystery in the amazing person you each are. While marriage draws two people increasingly closer into the deepest bond they will ever experience, it is not a cloning process. Remain true to the man and woman God has made you. Accept each other as you are. That may involve times of disagreement and that is okay. Iron sharpens iron, and fire burns away the dross in your souls. Never let your unique voice be silenced.
- Keep the lines of communication open and learn to listen better and not interrupt. This comes as you mature and put spouse before self. Trust that God will allow you opportunity to share your perspectives. Consider this quote from Stephen R. Covey in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “To relate effectively with a wife, a husband, children, friends or working associates, we must learn to listen. And this requires emotional strength. Listening involves patience, openness, and the desire to understand — highly developed qualities of character. It’s so much easier to operate from a low emotional level and to give high-level advice.”
- Be alert. You have an adversary who despises God and all His creation. But God…your mighty good true God…will always and forever be bigger than the bogey man. God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of love, power and a sound mind. Yet when you are afraid, call upon and trust Him. And Psalm 91 is a prayer of protection.
- Nurture each other in countless ways through all the years ahead. Protect your marriage spirit, soul and body. Date each other regularly. Be aware of the devil’s distractions that come in the form of a member of the opposite sex.
- Remember that sexual intimacy is a great gift from God that often serves as glue, binding two into one, and can help ease frictions that will inevitably arise. It is also a weapon of spiritual warfare, protecting your marriage. So keep it precious, forsaking all others.
Please return for part 2 in this series and until then,
God bless you and keep you and your marriage always…