God’s design for marriage is that it be a unique union between a man and a woman in a covenant for life. In the New Testament, marriage is used as an illustration of Christ and His relationship with His followers, the Church. It is the picture of His unconditional love and unbreakable union with His people. As the designer, God is the only One qualified to give us instructions on how to have a successful marriage. Here are four keys to a successful marriage:
God is Your Foundation
The success of any structure depends on the foundation. When God is the foundation, the center on which your marriage is built, you will be able to weather any storm. God and marriage go hand in hand if you desire to have a successful marriage. “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1a). With God as the foundation, all other keys will be grounded properly. A marriage built on God seeks God, serves God, honors God, and pursues God.
Take Action: Pray with each other every night before you go to bed to help keep your focus on God as your foundation.
Love is an Action
The word “love” is tossed around so frivolously in today’s world. The Bible defines love this way: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
(1 Corinthians 13:4-7) A godly marriage doesn’t give love on an “if – then” basis, and it doesn’t base love on feelings alone. Both measures can be unhealthy. The love we’re to show our spouse is to be reflective of the love God shows us every single day. Christ loves us with an everlasting love that never ever runs dry.
Take Action: Schedule a weekly date night to keep you and your spouse connected.
Forgiveness is Expressed
Forgiveness is another powerful way to cultivate the characteristics of a healthy marriage. You aren’t perfect and neither is your spouse, so it is important to understand the role of forgiveness. This is possible because of Jesus Christ. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32) Forgiveness plays such a huge role in marriage. If not dealt with, bitterness, resentment, and dissension take root. It’s important to note: forgiveness in marriage isn’t only between you and your spouse. Your ability to forgive yourself God’s forgiveness will also significantly impact your marriage. Take this need to God and receive His forgiveness. He is always ready and willing to forgive!
Take Action: Every night before bed, have alone time with your spouse so you can talk through your day and clear up any issues before bitterness sets in.
Support is Applied
If you’re looking for biblical instructions for marriage, find a church family! Seek out others who are like-minded in developing a godly marriage – those who are willing to be real, celebrate with you, encourage you, and pray with you when it’s a tough season. When it comes to a successful marriage, Christian support is essential. We were created to be in community with others!
Take Action: Join a connect group, serving team or connection class and build your support system.