It has been said that marriage doesn’t solve or create problems but that it magnifies what is already there. When we first are enamored with someone we can’t stop smiling or thinking about them. We find our minds drifting off during the day thinking about the next time we will see them. Eventually this lead to an engagement, marriage, family, overtime, kids activities until we wake up being distant from our spouse. Why do we lose that “loving feeling” and how can we get it back.
In order to get back to the marriage we began with we need to look at why God created marriage. We can start to build our marriage back up once we understand God’s plan and His design.
God created a beautiful relationship with mankind and He wanted this to be copied in marriage building loving relationships so people can love unconditionally. Unfortunately most people believe a marriage is between 2 people, a man and a woman but it’s not. It takes three for a beautiful marriage; a man, a woman and God. No marriage will be successful without these three elements. It is well proven when a couple moves away from God they will also move away from each other. The good news is that the closer they become to God the closer they become to each other. Broken marriages are caused by one or both partners leaving God and shrinking the elements of marriage from three elements to two and eventually to all separate elements.
More good news is available for those suffering marriage difficulties. When the two join back together in daily prayer and resume their walk with God their marriage will begin to grow and become strong again in God’s design for marriage. It truly is that simple!
Ecclesiastes 4:12: “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
God also designed marriage to grow His family. When a man and a woman love each other deeply they share an intimacy that draws them more in love. The design of intimacy was not by chance. God recognized this as another way for a marriage to blossom and add to His family when children are conceived. It is so important that couples find time for intimacy because there is a spiritual connection that is shared that cannot be obtained any other way. It you are too tired for intimacy just hold hands, kiss and look into each others eyes. The tiredness cause by overworking or daily stressors will pass and you can be intimate again within a few days. Marriages without intimacy are just relationships. Strive for that deep spiritual connection a marriage needs through being intimate with your spouse.
Marriage produces children whether naturally, adopted or through foster care. Your marriage is the source for the protection for those children. You are parents to nurture, love and protect God’s special little ones. A strong marriage with a daily presence of worship and prayer shows children early God’s love and His design for their future through marriage. Children that pray, are hugged regularly and are complimented have less incidence of insecurity and tend to be healthier.
Psalm 127:3 Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.
Knowing that we understand God’s reasons for marriage let’s look at how to have a strong, lasting and loving marriage while living in such a chaotic world.
First, we need to listen to each other. We have talked about this many times. It is critical to any relationship that we quiet our mind while the other is talking. Don’t worry about what your response will be, just take a deep long breath as your spouse says what they need to say. I would like to emphasize that you not make noise on this deep breath because it will seem as if you are irritated or bored. I am saying just breathe deep to open up your mind and heart to what is being said.
You need to open your heart to listen before you respond or start to think. Try implementing a 5 second rule in your house and I don’t mean the 5 second rule for dropping food. When you spouse is talking let them finish and then wait 5 seconds before responding. I was once told by a friend not to say the first thing that came to my mind but to wait until what my third response would be. This allows your brain to get rid of the initial reaction to what was said and the emotional response before giving a thoughtful response. This definitely takes work but you will be amazed how easy it becomes after being aware of your answers.
James 1:19-20 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
Forgiving is also critical to a lasting marriage. We all know that two sinners marry since no human is perfect and that sinners require much forgiveness. Billy and Ruth Graham always said a successful marriage requires two sincere forgivers. That is so true. Humans make mistakes so learn to not take mistakes to heart and forgive. There is no reason to be mad at someone forgetting to take out the trash or for spilling makeup on the floor. Forgive yourself first for feeling the way you do and forgive your spouse for being a mere mortal. You are both God’s creation and both flawed.
A marriage will also benefit from a component of humility. When we put more importance on others than ourselves we are serving God. This doesn’t mean you are any less important but that you are practicing being more unselfish in your thinking. When we think of others it promotes a serenity in us and a more peaceful life. If there is a disagreement in your marriage it’s okay to make the first move to say it’s fine to disagree. You are not conceding but you are just moving past the disagreement. Don’t ever hold grudges in your marriage instead act humbly and move on.
2 Timothy 2:14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.
The last piece advice I can give you for that long and lasting marriage is to love God with all your heart. When you are connected fully with God you can fully connect to your spouse. If you aren’t right with God, you are right with anyone. Always place God first in your life because He gives you love and enrichment that your heart needs to love your spouse. Your love with God has to be first because God is love and to live in God allows you to live in love. Read your Bible, live in God’s Word and live the life He has blessed you with.
I pray that if you are having marital problems that you get your three elements back in sync to begin to heal your marriage and family. If you are in a loving and beautiful marriage then I pray you continue to be blessed by God’s love.