If you and your spouse are a Christian couple, it doesn’t matter whether you are young or old, there is something categorically different about your relationship than just marriage as it is understood by the secular world. It is not just the union of flesh and assets, but one of spiritual significance as well. Marriages must be understood any marriage advice given in their covenant context.
This is another thing you do. You are covering the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning, because he no longer respects your offerings or receives them gladly from your hands. And you ask, “Why?” Because even though the Lord has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, you have acted treacherously against her. She was your marriage partner and your wife by covenant. – Malachi 2:13-14, ESV
A Christian marriage is between two followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. The uniqueness of being a follower of Jesus is a good way to see the foundation of a Christian marriage. Look at Jesus’ pointed definition of discipleship and make it your supreme guide in all things.
When you look at your marriage in this way, things come together and everything that happens in your marriage becomes understandable in terms of your ultimate direction as a follower of Christ.
If a marriage doesn’t work, it can be the loneliest relationship in the world. The wedding union requires that we love, honor, trust, and cherish. If we don’t, we don’t have a basis for standing up. Every argument we ever have is a trust problem.
When we violate trust, we are telling our partner that our love is not important and that they are not important. You can love someone and not trust them, but if you trust, love will always follow. In Christian marriage counseling, we work on trust. There’s nothing we can do about love because it’s an emotion.
The security of listening to each other and validating each other’s perceptions does not require an agreement. It is a true act of love. It gives us a place to work on difficult problems with empathy and respect. No secrets are needed when both parties can listen and validate each other.
Marriage Advice for Christian Couples
Be Each Other’s Best Friend
The first piece of marriage advice is to understand that marriage is a spiritual agreement to meet all of your spouse’s friendship needs. Let that sink in, ladies and gentlemen.
Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”…The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. – Genesis 2:18-24, ESV
How do we serve God’s design for marriage shown in Genesis 2:24? Understanding this is essential, both for your marriage and how you tell others about marriage.
First, you leave. To build an adult relationship. You need to be more concerned with your partner’s ideas and practices than your parents. They make the relationship between man and woman a priority over any other human relationship
Second, you cleave. Or you “be united.” It is the idea of loyalty, the priority of affection. This means that I have to wake up in the morning and ask: Lord, how am I going to serve you and insert spouse’s name here?
Last, but not least, you weave. We do not just mean sexual intimacy or unity here. Sexual intimacy issues usually begin with daily friendship routines.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. – Ephesians 4:1-3, ESV
In general, men and women have different basic needs. Women generally take the temperature of marriage based on how “appreciated” they feel. Appreciated means: “She’s my best friend,” “I don’t know what I would do without her,” and “I’m so lucky to have her.” When women don’t feel valued, they start to wonder who you are. They also feel a breach of trust because you promised to keep them in your vows.
To all husbands: If you want to be bugged until the end of time, don’t value your partner. Men take the temperature of marriage by feeling respected (or heard). If a man feels he is not being heard, he will either shut down or explode. He feels emasculated because his voice doesn’t matter. He comes to hate his wife and battlefields begin to form.
She stops listening and he stops sharing. They begin to hate and hurt each other by breaking up their marriage piece by piece. Their intimacy fades and they begin to shift their personal energy elsewhere (work, children, activities, friendship). Their conversations become trivial and distant. Their time together becomes boring and uneventful.
Forgive One Another as God Forgave You
Perhaps the most important piece of marriage advice is to forgive one another. Forgiveness comes from the ability to examine intentions, not results. So many people prefer to tackle the bad results rather than the process that led to the bad result. To be able to forgive, we must renounce the “why” and start asking “how” or what.”
“Why” is a reasoned question and usually invites a defensive response. “What” means that you are willing to listen and maybe forgive. In marriage, we often see the best and the worst in each other. Being able to heal through forgiveness gives the marriage the ability to trust and to speak the truth.
To earn trust, we need to be accountable for what we have selfishly and mindlessly (consciously or unconsciously) done to hurt others. To regain trust, you have to apologize and then ask your partner to trust you not to do it again.
Faith is the bridge to trust. First, you are not asking for trust, only belief. Once you’ve consistently demonstrated that you’ve consistently learned and changed over time, your partner can choose to trust them. Faith is the only way to do this.
The Bible teaches how to get married, raise children, meet friends, help others, instill values, and become a person of love and integrity. The marriage covenant requires us to be good Christians. When we screw up in our marriage it should cause us to reflect on our relationship with God. Talk to God and think about your life.
Exercise your faith in your marriage and great things will happen. They say: “Couples praying together, stay together.” It’s so true. If you want good things to happen in your life, you need to get out of yourself and accept your partner for who he is. Pray for them and ask God to make changes. Even better, do it together.
Another fundamental piece of marriage advice is that marriage is not just a covenant but also a legal contract. You don’t take the vows; you don’t make the contract. This means that everything and everyone who comes into contact with this marriage will have to adapt to two people who are not willing to work “hard.” Commitment means constantly doing what we think, without nurturing and doing what we feel.
Get Marriage Counseling
We have a responsibility to take care of our mental health for the sake of our partner and our family. It is our responsibility and not that of our spouse. Nobody makes you feel anything, you do it all by yourself by choosing how you react to life. If you need marriage advice to be a better partner, try individual counseling or couples counseling. Contact our offices to receive assistance.
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