10 truths that I believe will help you create and maintain a successful marriage. These are lessons from my own personal journey. Marriage is a vast subject, but here are some truths to get you started.
Truth 1 : A Nation’s Foundation is Marriage
It requires healthy individuals who walk with God for a healthy marriage. When there is a healthy marriage, it promotes healthy families. Healthy families promote healthy communities. Healthy communities promote healthy nations.
That people don’t know how to do family well is one of the biggest causes of dysfunction in society today. I believe the restoration of Biblical marriages can change a nation.
Truth 2 : Marriage’s Foundation Is Unconditional Love
Marriage is to model unconditional love like the Trinity loves us. Unconditional love gives marriage a foundation that will survive any trial. The only way we can model this level of unconditional love is to think about how God unconditionally loves us. (Ephesians 5:25-33)
We all dream of someone loving us unconditionally. But how many of us have dreamed of loving someone else unconditionally. Dream about it. Aspire to it.
Unconditional love produces the stability. There is comfort that no matter what happens, the other person will not leave you. When things get tough and couples don’t know what to do, they need to hang in there and be there for their spouse. Time has a way of helping couples work things out by providing opportunities to reduce stress and overcome challenges.
Truth 3 : Marriage’s Purpose is Companionship
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18
Some of us are more introvert or extrovert than others. But we were created to be around people. The main person who we are to be friends with is our spouse. The Bible calls it being joined together. This means to leave your old ways and go on a new path.
“Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
Truth 4 : Your Spouse Complements You, They Don’t Complete You
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27-28
What I mean by your spouse doesn’t complete you is that they can’t fulfill needs in you that only God can meet. Marriage comprises 2 individuals growing up in God and then helping each other where they can. But there is no “one person” who will meet all your needs. Only God can meet your needs. As each partner goes to God to get their needs met, they can then, from a place of maturity, be a help to each other.
Truth 5 : Enjoy, Don’t Try to Change
Trying to change your spouse is like trying to push a rope. The only person we can change in our marriage is ourselves. Your spouse is different anatomically, neurologically, and psychologically—by design, not by accident. Enjoy the differences, don’t go for sameness.
Have you ever said this, “If only my spouse?” We enter marriage with specific, unspoken expectations. Many of these expectations are Godly and good, such as remaining faithful, speak the truth, forgive well, and prioritize the relationship.
But sometimes we cling to extra-biblical expectations: expect our spouse to prefer a hotel over a campground, intuitively know how to please us, agree with us regarding how often the bathroom needs to be cleaned, etc. We have to move from expecting to enjoying.
Here are 4 things that will help you to enjoy your spouse.
1. Is this a Biblical Issue or a Preference?
2. Don’t Take the Job of the Holy Spirit
It is the job of Holy Spirit to change others. When we try to get our spouse to change, we assume a role we have no ability or responsibility to do. Your spouse has a free choice. Here are some methods we often do to change our spouses that are not appropriate:
- Moralize – communicating in no uncertain terms that our preferences are superior to theirs.
- Shaming them in to doing what we want.
- Sharing our disappointment is okay, but now when we use a particular tone or deep sighs.
- Repeating ourselves assuming our spouses will react differently when they hear the 21st version of our requests. This is also called nagging.
- Using emotional consequences, like withdrawing in silence or threatening to leave.
3. Ask God to Help You Be Content
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Ephesians 4:11
Ask God to align your expectations with him. To be clear, I am not talking about sin that is happening like abuse or affairs, but preferences and styles that differ from our own.
It’s not that we need to stop desiring things from our spouses, but we need to allow our longings and desires to be converted into healthy expectations. This is hard work, and it should emerge out of a realistic assessment of our spouse’s abilities and limitations.
4. Concentrate on Changing Yourself
Truth 6 : Humility Makes A Marriage Go Round
We love winning and being right. But, it doesn’t make for a splendid marriage. Try always putting your spouse first – their opinions, their desires, etc. Marriage means you have come into the relationship to lay down your life for another person. It’s choosing to die to yourself every day for the sake of loving another.
“Let nothing be done out of strife or conceit, but in humility let each esteem the other better than himself. Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
Truth 7 : A Crisis Doesn’t Mean the Marriage is Over
Crises are like storms: loud, scary, and dangerous. But they eventually go away. Stick close to each other during crises. Don’t believe the thoughts that may come to you the marriage is over. It is not.
Never say divorce. We vowed this to each other early in our marriage. This helped when crises came.
Truth 8 : Children are Great, but They Require Work!
Children are great, but are stressful individually and to a marriage. Children are a blessing, but they take more than they give. Guard against the stress of children in your marriage. Knowing this can help you to not have unrealistic expectations. So spend extra time shining your marriage when you have kids and over time it will be a rich and rewarding experience that you both share.
Truth 9 : Don’t Live By Feelings but Biblical Love
Love as defined by the Bible. It is a series of actions, not a series of emotions. I Corinthians 13:4-8 says love is patient, kind, loves justice, loves the truth, patient, never stops believing, always hopes, and never gives up. It also says love is not jealous, doesn’t brag, not rude, not self-centered, isn’t irritable, and doesn’t keep grudges.
As we walk with Holy Spirit, he will give us the resources, help, and wisdom to love our partner. In this way, we reflect how the Trinity loves us the same way.
You won’t always feel attracted to your partner, and that is ok. So you live by love, not your hormones. When lack of attraction comes into marriage, many people panic. We’re an image-based culture and we’re taught through mainstream media that if you’re not wildly attracted to your partner, you’re with the wrong person. This simply is not reality.
You don’t have to ‘feel’ love to give it. Our culture says that love is a feeling. It’s easy to feel confused when the loving feelings fade. Love is more than emotions. We do not base Biblical love ion feelings but doing what is right, even when the feelings aren’t there.
Truth 10 : Water the Grass Continually
You may have heard the saying, “the grass is greenest where you water it.” Successful couples have learned to resist the grass is greener somewhere else than myth.
We love shiny new things – including shiny new people – we think the next model of car, phone, etc. is going to make us happy. But shiny new things do become old rusted things if we don’t learn to keep them shined. It is the same way with marriage. Successful couples continually put their energy into shining their marriage.
One way to shine your marriage is to apply the 4 As: Be Available, Attentive, Aware, and Appreciative.
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