Adapted from Paul Chappell:
A marriage that endures is the result of God’s love and grace flowing through two people who are committed to one another. As time passes, it is always important to be reminded of the important basics of marriage. If we forget those biblical truths, we can easily make assumptions that, over time, undermine the marriage relationship.
Here are 10 basics—in no particular order—that every married Christian should remember:
1. We are passionate about the things we work on and think about the most
Good marriages take effort. It requires real work to understand your spouse and honor and love him or her. A spouse who is passionate about a strong marriage thinks about his or her spouse often and constantly invests in the relationship.
Peter ~ Husbands must give honor to your wives. Treat your wife with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered. — 1 Peter 3:7
2. Focusing on your needs only will ruin a marriage
Every husband has unique needs, as does every wife. Paul speaks to the individual nature of each spouse’s needs as it commands wives to honor their husbands and husbands to love their wives. But don’t miss the obvious—the command to each spouse is to meet the other’s needs, not to focus on his or her own needs.
Paul ~Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her. — Ephesians 5:21, 22, 25
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. — 1 Corinthians 13:4–5
3. Most marriages will hit a “wall”
Sometimes a couple is surprised by a season of difficulty in their marriage. Because they never expected it to happen, they assume their marriage is already as good as gone.
If you encounter such a season, recognize that every difficulty can be worked through by applying God’s wisdom and biblical truths (and perhaps including wise counsel). If you are both determined to strengthen your relationship, you’ll get through it and often be stronger for it.
God is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. —Ephesians 3:20
4. Refusing godly counsel is to reject God’s plan for safety
Early in our marriage, we made a commitment that if either of us ever felt we needed marriage counsel, we would both get it. During times of extreme pressure in ministry, we have occasionally gone to someone in ministry longer than us, with a strong marriage, to ask for counsel on keeping our marriage strong.
Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.. — Proverbs 11:14
5. Satan is a liar
And he will do everything he can to convince you that his lies are the truth. Distrust all “certainties” that don’t emphasize the power of God and permanence of marriage.
Jesus ~ The Devil has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies. — John 8:44
6. Good people go through difficulties
Are there marriages that you look at and just know are perfect? They aren’t. Every Christian marriage is composed of two sinners. Even godly Christian couples have difficulties. What sets their marriages apart is that they are committed to work through the difficulties.
Jesus (on marriage) ~ Two are united into one. Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” —Mark 10:8-9
7. God is against divorce
Actually, He hates it. Remember that before you throw the word divorce around in an argument. Make a commitment, even before you are married, that divorce is not option or even a part of your vocabulary. (If you have already been through a divorce, you know how devastating it is. But remember, God desires to give you help and healing. And for your current marriage, remember this truth.)
Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? … So guard your heart; remain loyal to the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty, so guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.” —Malachi 2:15–16
8. Children do suffer greatly when divorce occurs
Every couple I know who has decided to get a divorce, tried to downplay the effect it would have on their children. And they were always wrong. Children almost always perceive the divorce as somehow their fault, no matter how often their parents tell them otherwise. And they always suffer.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. — Ephesians 6:4
9. Church attendance is no replacement for Bible application
Weekly church attendance is very important. But, merely attending church does not make a strong marriage. It takes applying biblical truth to do that.
Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.. — James 1:22
10. Biblical love bears, believes and hopes at all times
Many of the tensions or disagreements that arise in any relationship can be overcome with biblical love. The world’s definition of love is based on feeling—how your spouse makes you feel. But biblical love is a choice—to bear all things, believe all things and hope for all things. This is a love that only God can give and that God does bless.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way… Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.. —1 Corinthians 13:4, 7
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