As much as movies and Hollywood would like you to think otherwise, there is no such thing as a perfect marriage. Every couple has their own issues they deal with. In fact, I don’t know of a single married couple who hasn’t had a fight before. Unfortunately, many couples choose to forego the fights and ignore their problems so that they fester. This weakens the relationship tremendously and inflicts lots of pain and emotional damage. That is why we see so many couples today filing for divorce or choosing not to get married altogether. As Christians, we should understand how important and sacred marriage is. We may never have the “perfect marriage,” but we can all do some things to make our marriages stronger to the glory of God.
Pray and Read Together
This one probably seems obviously, but I cannot stress just how important praying and reading the Bible together is in a Christian marriage. These two things totally affect the overall health of your marriage. If you aren’t regularly praying for your spouse, as well as, encouraging and reminding one another of God’s Word, you need to start today. It is important that a couple grows spiritually together, for the Bible says, “the two shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:31).” If I choose to neglect prayer and the reading of God’s Word, I am essentially neglecting and being unloving towards my wife. The Bible is clear that the more we love and pursue after God, the stronger our marriages will become.
Put Your Spouses Needs Before Your Own
I don’t know about you, but I can be very selfish at times. Not only that, but sometimes I complain about having to get up from the couch to do something for my wife. This is so wrong, and it shouldn’t be so! Ephesians 5:25-28 reads:
“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.
God has commanded us as husbands to love our wives with a passionate, sacrificial, unconditional love, that is, the love of Christ. And He has commanded wives to submit to their husbands as the Church submits to Christ, its head (Ephesians 5:22-24). In other words, selfishness and pride have no place in a Christian marriage. If the Bible says to “do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (Philippians 2:3),” shouldn’t that include our spouses?
Be Completely Honest
Not much needs to be said here other than “a healthy marriage is an honest marriage.” One of the major reasons couples get divorced is because of secrets and lies. Jesus said in John 8:32 that “the truth will set you free.” A marriage that glorifies God is one that is built on the firm foundation of Christ, who is the Truth (John 14:6). Are you telling your spouse the whole truth? Is there something you are hiding or need to confess?
Develop Intimacy With One Another
When many people think about the word intimacy they usually think about sex or physical affection first. While sex is one way Christian couples develop intimacy, it isn’t the only way. However, it should be said that strong, godly couples not only have sex, but they really enjoy sex as it is a gift from God. Sex is sacred, holy, and should be protected as such by both the husband and wife; Hebrews 13:4 says, “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”
As stated above, sex isn’t the only way to have intimacy with your spouse. Every husband and wife should think of ways other than sex to develop intimacy. Whether its spending quality time together, planning a trip, giving her a gift, or simply telling her how much I love her, I can do plenty of things to become closer with my wife every day. Ultimately, that’s what marital intimacy is all about; it’s about spending time with the other person in order to know them and appreciate them fully with love, specifically the love of Christ.
If it is your desire to see your relationship with your spouse grow stronger then take steps today towards seeing this happen. But let me be clear, nothing in your marriage will change apart from the work and help of the Holy Spirit. In our own strength, we cannot enact the change or growth we so desire. But God can and He will! So, take some time for you and your spouse to pray together and ask God to change you both from the inside out. Brothers and sisters, if and when we devote ourselves to Him, He will “do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us (Ephesians 3:20).”