Many people in today’s society have an unhealthy perspective of marriage.
Much of it is due to the lack of knowledge on how to build a biblical marriage (Hawkins, 1991, p. 9).
The Bible is the perfect manual that couples can follow to have a healthy and thriving marriage.
God’s Plan for Marriage
Adam and Eve were created to balance each other in both their physical and emotional differences. They were to work as a team, and exercise dominion over the earth.
Satan, however, caused division between the male and female due to his deception. Nevertheless, all hope was not lost because Christ came to reestablish order and restore man back to His Heavenly Father (Hawkins, 1991, p.15).
Marriage Statistical Data
Data are for the U.S.
Number of marriages: 2,245,404
Marriage rate: 6.9 per 1,000 total population
Number of divorces: 827,261 (44 reporting States and D.C.)
Divorce rate: 3.2 per 1,000 population with 44 reporting
States and D.C. (Centers for Disease Control, 2019)
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Graph for remarriage statistics.
Bible’s Definition of Love and Marriage
”The man said, ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.’ That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:23-25).
Apostle Paul's View on Marriage
The Apostle Paul told husbands to LOVE their wives as Christ loves the Church (Ephesians 5:25). Couples who plan to love as Christ loves the church must first understand what love is in order to have a firm Christ Foundation.
God’s love and man’s love, at least in how it is taught and viewed secularly, is not the same as God’s love. God’s love is wrapped within His commands of obedience and faithfulness. This is why couples that try to consider themselves as being married outside of the laws of God are being deceived by the enemy, for that which HE established, no man can change and that which goes against His decrees can never be blessed. Therefore, marriage is between One man and One woman.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a,13
What is Love?
“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; Love never fails...And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
Let’s breakdown each of these elements.
Love is Patient
Patience requires that we do some waiting. But just because you are waiting does not mean that you are meeting the requirement of having patience. How we wait determines if we are embodying the virtue of patience. Patience means that your mate is worth the wait while doing it humbly and calmly. A person who takes for granted their spouse’s patience should show leniency when they become impatient. (Omartian, 2008).
Love is Kind
Kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking creates profoundness, and kindness in feeling creates love (Lau Tzu).
A good marriage flourishes with acts of kindness, generosity, encouragement, and a pleasant behavior. Kindness is an essential element in a healthy and happy marriage. Marriages gain strength when the couple treat each other with love, respect, dignity, understanding and kindness.
Kindness is when a person puts the needs of his or her spouse over their own self-interest. (Mulhall, n.d.).
Love Is Not Envious
Where there is envy present in a relationship, it erodes the foundation like termites. This is often caused by insecurities within the relationship together or individually by a spouse. This spirit is very damaging and if it remains, it cannot hide for long even if it tries. It is very dangerous and needs to be dealt with in order for the relationship to be restored and replaced with confidence (McSellers, 2015).
Love Does Not Boast
If there are over inflated egos and feelings of grandiosity within the marriage, it will be sure to make the marriage suffer. A Christian marriage should be based on humility. As a couple, both party’s ideas and expectations should be taken into consideration and not just one party. Both party’s feelings matter and should be equally taken into account. Biblical love means esteeming your spouse over yourself, and when both parties operate like this, it makes for a strong marriage (Marriagemoment.org, n.d.).
Love Is Not Proud
If you want a date with the divorce court, allow pride to take root in your marriage. Pride causes recklessness, adultery, emotional affairs, and selfishness within the marriage if not dealt with. Pride justifies the need to be right and give way to arrogance, intolerance, anger, and grief. It is always defensive and dismissive of the other person’s feelings. Pride ultimately DESTROYS.
Pride causes there to be a lack of love in the marriage. One or both parties feel alone, isolated, and unforgiving. One or both will fail to take responsibility for the breakdown of the union, and if issues go unresolved, there will be a total disconnection with feelings of bitterness and animosity (Johnson, 2016).
Love Does Not Dishonor
Dishonor takes place in the marriage when the couple begins to lose sight of the value in each other and take one another for granted. They forget what brought them together to begin with, and what they saw in each other that led them down the aisle. When dishonor takes place, it brings a shadow over the marriage and then the couple find themselves in a relational crisis.
Dishonor is debilitating when it comes to the marriage. It looks for problems instead of trying to find solutions. It seeks to blame instead of taking responsibility. It always speak but never takes time to listen. It dictates rather than respect. Dishonor degrades rather than build. Dishonor hurts (Camsey, 2018).
Love Is Not Self-Seeking
Selfishness has no place within the marriage union. God called a husband and wife to become one. Selfishness is like drinking arsenic and it poisons the entire body. There are many reasons why marriages fail, but one can be sure that the underlying infection was selfishness.
When a couple gets married, they are no longer two people, but they are united in heart, mind and body according to God. Therefore, the Lord desires for you to operate as a unit and think of each other rather than self.
A successful marriage requires two selfless people giving of each other with no selfish ambition in their hearts (It's All About Yeshua, 2015).
Love Is Not Easily Angered
Emotions should be controlled by both spouses in the marriage. Inappropriate expressions of anger can cause problems and a breakdown in communication. Finding ways to handle stress and frustrations such as going to the gym, taking a walk, dealing with problems when both parties are calm, praying and fasting about an issue first will help with keeping anger to a minimum.
If you know that you have anger issues, be honest with yourself and your soon-to-be spouse, so that you can get help in anger management. There is hope where you can experience joy, peace and harmony in your marriage. Being honest about your short-comings improves the chances of a positive outcome (Milam, 2018).
Love Keeps no Record of Wrong
When a couple fails to forgive and focus on past wrongs, it can have a negatively impact on the marriage. Holding on to grudges prevents the relationship from growing. It prevents the couple from fully appreciating one another and clouds their ability to communicate effectively.
Instead of holding on to past hurts, mistakes, or failures, communicate your feelings to your spouse in a timely manner and immediately begin the process of forgiveness (Marriage Gems, 2010). Forgiveness helps you individually, as a couple, and your ability to model your marriage after Christ who intercedes for His bride.
Love Hates Evil
Evil exists all around us and the devil is always trying to cause havoc in marriages. Failure to be mindful of this can set a marriage up for failure. Evil is always in the heart of man. Therefore, the couple must allow God to fill their hearts with righteousness to avoid the pitfalls of evil that comes with yielding to the temptations of the flesh that comes in many forms.
Evil comes when the couple forgets about God and become seduced by self. Prayerfully submit all desires to the Lord and allow Him to direct your path (Thomas, 2018).
Love Rejoice in Truth
“A major step in the destruction of any marriage is rejecting the truth of any situation” (Jerry, 2016).
Honesty within the marriage is vital in having success in marriage. However, a sure recipe for the destruction of a marriage is to fill it with lies, infidelity, sneakiness, and gaslighting. These ingredients will wreak destruction on your marriage and it will flop in no time. Real and complete honesty is an absolute must for a successful marriage (Tupy, 2013).
Love Always Protects
The couple should make a personal commitment to protect their marriage by making God first in their lives. Just as Job had a hedge of protection around him that the enemy knew that he could not penetrate without the Lord’s permission. Likewise, the couple must continuously pray, study, fast, and praise God individually, and together for the protection from any assault of the enemy.
A couple never wants to allow their defenses to be down for the enemy to come in. The couple must put on the whole armor of God to protect themselves against demonic attacks, for the devil looks to gain entry any way that he can. If there is even the slightest crack, he will exploit it to the fullest. Protect your marriage with prayer (Milam, 2018).
Love Always Trusts
A good marriage is not able to stand without there being TRUST. You should always be able to trust your spouse. When trust is broken, the whole relationship suffers. You should be able to trust that your spouse will be faithful; trust that your spouse’s word is reliable; trust that your spouse will not abuse you; trust that you are not getting the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde affect.
You should be able to trust that your spouse always looks out for you and has your best interest in mind. Successful marriages are built on trust (Townsend, n.d.).
Love Always Hopes
Hope is believing that your spouse will succeed. Hope waits with great anticipation for them to accomplish their dreams. Hope celebrates their accomplishments. Hope encourages your spouse when they are doubtful concerning their God-given talents and abilities. Hope helps them to believe.
Hope is having faith to believe that you as a couple are not alone and that God is always at work in your marriage (Build Your Marriage, 2019).
Love Always Perseveres
Perseverance is focused on growth and endurance. Your marriage needs perseverance when times are good and when they are filled with challenges. Perseverance looks for opportunities to see progress and not failure.
Because marriage is a journey — there will be the best of times and sometimes the worst of times. There will be times filled with joy and times of pain. There will be fun times and times of seriousness. With each mile of the journey, it gives your marriage the opportunity to deepen and grow together (Smalley, 2017).
Love Never Fails
Many couples enter marriage with rose-colored glasses on and they have a romanticized view of what love is. This may often be contributed to children’s fairytales, romantic movies, and music. Couples must understand that real love must not be based solely on emotions that fluctuate with the seasons. Real love requires work, perseverance and determination.
Marriage is a covenant with God to follow His path for love regardless of where the emotional tides may be on any given day.
True love not only doesn’t fail, it cannot fail because God is Love. Love is an action word and when the couple puts action to their expressions of love then this action will not fail. It only fails when one or both parties stop performing the action (Fierce Marriage, 2016).
Effective Communication That Matters
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).
You can be Right but WRONG at the top of your Voice.
(Eggerichs, 2004, p. 10) .
There is an old saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” If you say or ask something in the right way, you will get a more positive response.
Posing questions in the appropriate manner can steer the direction of your conversation positively. It takes skills to communicate which consists of both talking and listening (Bechtle, n.d.).
Effective communication begins...
Effective communication begins with active listening. Many people mistakenly believe that they are good listeners, but this is often not the case. They have a need to win and prioritize themselves over actually listening to what the other person has to say, so that they can express their feelings and feel heard.
Have you ever had someone talking to you while you were mentally preparing your rebuttal? If so, you were not actually listening. You were preparing your defense Perry Mason style and this does more harm than good in a marriage (Petersen, 2015, p. 7).
Force yourself to actually hear...
Force yourself to actually hear what your spouse is saying and then occasionally repeat some highlights of it, so that they can know that you were listening. This also helps you to be sure that you were hearing them without being tempted at preparing your rebuttal while they were in mid sentence.
Everyone wants to feel as if they are important enough for you to care. By listening, you are showing that you care about the feelings of your spouse.
Be open and honest...
Be open and honest with your spouse. Sometimes people have a hard time communicating with others, but your spouse should be the one person with whom you can share your innermost feelings and thoughts with.
Even if you do not agree with them, allow them to explain why they feel the way they do and encourage them in love. Sometimes just being able to express oneself settles tensions and allows for the marriage to thrive.
Here are some things...
Here are some things that Life Hack recommends couples communicate about, so that when the hard conversations come, they can have something to fall back on to soften the stress.
*Talk about your vivid memories.
*Reminisce about your childhoods.
*Laugh at inside jokes.
*Share your happy feelings.
*Talk about your role models or heroes.
*Tell stories about embarrassing situations.
*Debate world event.
*Discuss your shortcomings.
Spousal Roles and Goals
“But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3).
Who is going to bring home the bacon?
Who is going to bring home the bacon? Will it be both spouses or one? Who will cut the grass? Who will do the cooking? Who will walk the dog? Who will do the cleaning? Who will take out the trash? Who will gas the vehicles? Who will lead out in family worship? Where do we expect to be 5, 10, 15 years from now as a couple?
These are just a few of the questions that couples should address before you say, “I do.”