I realize I am stepping out on a precarious limb today. You may ask, can a person who has lived most of their life single offer advice on marriage? Well, the Apostle Paul was unmarried and he had much to say about it. His advice came straight from God. The Bible is clear on what marriage should be: A beautiful picture of Christ and the Church. So how come the divorce rate is much the same in the church as outside the church? This statistic is very troubling and I wonder how that can be? I think it is because as the church has moved away from teaching directly from the Bible, marriage has suffered the conquences. That and the fact that nobody wants to yield anymore, we all want our rights. Even in the church, we don’t want anyone telling us what to do, and then there are all the outside influences that wreak havoc on relationships. Throw in blended families and the difficulties increase……
Marriage is extremely difficult, that much is clear, even Paul says: “But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” But marriage done God’s way is a beautiful picture of Christ and the Church.
There is so much focus on what people do wrong in marriage, here are some things I have observed from very strong marriages that are wonderful examples of things done right: (*note I said strong marriages, not perfect marriages!)
Go into it for life, and never threaten divorce. It would be even better in my opinion if divorce were not a topic at all, why go into something already defeated! (My folks have been married 60 years and it was never an option for them.)
Be able to apologize and not just say “If I did something wrong” but “Will you forgive me?” This I learned from a Bill Gothard seminar years ago.
Be best friends first, be able to talk to each other. Your husband or wife should be the first person you want to share something with. Passion is great, but it will not last forever. Sooner or later you have to talk.
A sense of humor is a must. Find at least one thing you can laugh about together every day.
Be aware of your differences. Yes, despite what our culture says, there are distinct differences between men and women as well as personality differences!
Kindness, kindness, kindness. A soft answer turns away wrath as the Bible says…….Treat your mate as respectful as you treat your boss, your co-worker, your friends. Sometimes I listen to how married couples talk to each other and I think, no wonder the divorce rate is so high. They bark orders and throw sarcastic barbs back and forth like they are participating in verbal jousting matches. To some people this is normal, but it is a destructive way to live, especially with children in the house.
Stay individuals….don’t turn into the same person. Don’t depend on that person for your well-being or happiness. Be happy by yourself first!
The best advice of all is taken from the book of Ephesians………..Reverence for one another as you revere Christ.
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
More thoughts on submitting tomorrow…..