Marriage–as my husband and I have been learning–is to be a picture of Christ and the Church. Through God’s Grace and mercy and faithfulness to cover and teach and heal us under our pastors and others to whom He has divinely connected us, we are making excellent progress.
Marriage is definitely a journey, and our marriage is proof that the LORD can turn “the bitter waters sweet.” Amen and amen!
Here are a few tips that have strengthened our Covenant relationship, and we believe they can help strengthen yours!
- Be thankful. Colossians 3:15 (AMPC), says: “And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].” The root of many wrong attitudes, words, and actions is unthankfulness. Ask me how I know! And, feelings don’t always match, especially if there has been much hurt from the past before a marriage. We want to feel thankful. But thankfulness is a choice, and the LORD will help you to voice that, and take other actions to prove that, even if you don’t feel like it. Thankfulness goes a long way in helping one show honor and respect and consideration to others, which is what every human I know wants–and especially what your spouse wants, and deserves. Ask the LORD to open your eyes and help you to be thankful, even for the little things. Your life is amazingly good, especially compared to millions in this world, and even in the USA!
- Pray for your spouse. James 5:16 (AMPC), says, “Confess to one another therefore your faults (your slips, your false steps, your offenses, your sins) and pray [also] for one another, that you may be healed and restored [to a spiritual tone of mind and heart]. The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].” The LORD will lead you to Scriptures that apply to your particular marriage, although the Bible is written to every Believer and is relevant through the ages for every situation. The spoken Word of God is extremely powerful, and never returns void. It may seem like nothing is happening when you speak, and it may be like a waterdrop hitting a mountain (Ask me how I know!), but trust me, things are changing, and if you will continue to speak the living Word of God, the LORD will work and positive changes will occur. Even if you think you have the most stubborn spouse on the earth (you think), you will be changed, drawn closer to the LORD, made more sure of His love, and thus have more peace and joy–no matter what.
- Pray with your spouse. This may not happen at first; it takes cooperation. And if your spouse does agree to pray, it may not be as often nor exactly as you’d like. But do #1 (Be thankful.) and choose to be glad and know the LORD is working. He is very patient with us all (Praise Him!) and only He understands what it takes to heal and restore a heart. Once a person receives Christ as their Savior and LORD, He starts the lifetime process of exposing and removing the rubble/UNChristlike things in our lives, and starts drawing us to desire more of the things of God. Ask the LORD to give you Grace and give your frustration to Him. Trying to demand that your spouse do something, especially for God, rarely works (Ask me how I know.). The LORD is a Leader, not a driver. He does not demand. But when we truly give things to Him and let Him do it, things can turn around fast–and much better than if we’d tried to handle it ourselves (Ask me how I know!). Your spouse may have fears that he or she has never revealed to you. But continue to pray for them in love, and God will work. He is faithful!
4. Know that you need to change some things about you. Ask the LORD to help you. Trust me, you are not the perfect spouse you would like to be (Ask me how I know this too!). Your spouse may be the type that does not cricitize (Hallelujah!) but sooner or later, (probablyl sooner!), you will understand some things that need to be adjusted in yourself. That just happens when there are two people spending much time together, simply because we are each unique in some ways and have to adapt, or persuade the other to become like us. It is human (fallen) nature to judge–and find the other lacking. It takes effort to judge and find the other glorious! Anyway, when we judge, it can boomerang upon us, and often what we judge others harshly or quickly about it what we have been guilty of ourselves (Ask me….!). See Matthew 7:1-5 (“Judge not, that you be not judged…”.
5. Find the ultimate comfort, peace, satisfaction, and joy in the LORD Jesus Christ. Only the LORD is perfect, and is perfect Love. When we put Him first–and He has to help us through His Spirit understand even how to do that in the right balance to investing time and energy in our spouse and family, jobs, business, other ministry, etc.–He puts His Grace all over everything and gives us faith that all is well, and will be.
Acts 17:28 (AMPC), says, “For in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your [own] poets have said, For we are also His offspring.” (See also Acts 17:24-34.)
Marriage is God’s idea, and as my pastor, Apostle Tracy Harris (www.experiencehim.org), marriage was created before any other institution. May the LORD use these tips and other wisdom He will give you to strengthen this most divine of earthly relationships!