Author: David Robinson
Did you know that you and your spouse weren’t brought together by accident? God put you together for a reason, which is to fulfill His will on earth and to be a picture of Messiah and the Church. Marriage is important to God, and He desires your marriage to flourish.
Many of the problems we face in our marriages are ultimately rooted in an unrealistic expectation of what marriage is supposed to look like. Movies and TV shows have given us a distorted perspective. We wrongly believe that marriage will provide ultimate fulfillment, thus we demand that our marriage give us something it was never designed to give. We make an idol out of our spouse and blame them when they fail to deliver on our unreasonable expectations.
Sadly, as a result of this self-centered perspective on marriage, many couples live in misery and often get divorced. But it isn’t meant to be this way.
There is a better way.
God doesn’t promise that we’ll never face difficulties in marriage. In fact, marriage is most often the very means by which God challenges us and conforms us into the image of His Son! However, with a right perspective on marriage and using the tools He gives us in His Word, we can know how to handle conflict when it arises and have a happy marriage for His glory.
These three biblical keys aren’t the only tools available in God’s Word. But they will serve as a good introduction to help you on your way to a happy marriage.
In essence, respecting your spouse is valuing them and holding them in high esteem. This means validating their feelings—even when you disagree. Ephesians 5:33 says, “Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” To love your spouse as you love yourself is to value their feelings and opinions just as you value your own. (And we all value our own feelings and opinions.) Don’t disregard what your spouse shares with you. Don’t get frustrated or angry if you don’t like what they say. Be patient and listen.
Remember, your marriage is a picture of the Messiah’s relationship with the Church. When you fail to show your spouse respect, you distort that picture. Thus, respecting your spouse is ultimately connected to respecting God.
It might seem counterintuitive for many people, but being happy in marriage requires taking the focus off of ourselves. When you are selfless and focused on fulfilling your spouse’s needs instead of striving to get what you want, you’ll often find that your spouse is more than willing to reciprocate. Proverbs 11:25 says, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”
Support takes many forms. The simplest and often most needed form of support is encouragement and verbal affirmation. This goes back to Respect. If you value your spouse, you’ll value their hopes, dreams, trust, and sense of security. You’ll put their needs before your own.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
Most of the problems we face in marriage are due to not knowing how to communicate effectively. Conflict turns into bitter arguing and unresolved resentment. Instead of listening to our spouse and validating their feelings, we get busy formulating counter arguments and building our case against them. We listen to reply rather than listening to learn. But this response puts them on the defensive and makes it more difficult to resolve the problems.
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (Proverbs 18:2)
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. (James 1:19)
This key goes back to Respect too. If we truly value our spouse, we will value their opinions. It also goes back to Support. Supporting our spouse means working together as a team, not as opponents. You have the same goal, which is to resolve the conflict. Too often people get so distracted with “winning” the argument that they lose sight of the goal!
Marriage cannot flourish in a self-centered environment. It can’t flourish without mutual respect and support. But when you build your marriage on the foundation of Messiah and apply these biblical principles, you’ll discover that it is possible to have a happy marriage. The simple formula is to love your spouse more than yourself. Respect them, support them, and listen to them. And then watch as new life is breathed into your marriage!
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