If you're married, you likely have experienced the greatest joys that two becoming one affords, but you may also know all too well the desperate situations that threaten to tear your marriage apart. Married couples experience trials, hurts, and struggles. They often learn quickly that marriage takes a lot of work. We can look to the Bible for insight into what that work actually means.
Scripture includes a wealth of wisdom and narratives about how we should treat others. We find in God's word the urgency and command to love others, as well as specific ways to be obedient to that command (see Matthew 22:39, Colossians 3:12, and Philippians 2:3). We can learn from and apply these lessons to lead a loving, God-centered marriage. Here are four unique biblical concepts that will save your marriage every day.Photo Credit: Pexels/TobiasAeppli
1. Foster a Servant Heart
When Jesus was approached by the mother of two of His disciples to establish them as greater than the other disciples, Jesus concluded that He came not to be served, but to serve (Matthew 20:28). The point He made was that to be greater is to actually be a servant. If we’re to imitate Christ and His relationship to others, then to have a great marriage and to be a great spouse is to serve. When you have a servant heart and mindset toward your spouse, your marriage will begin to overflow with joy and kindness.
If you prioritize serving your spouse over your desire to be served, selfishness will dissipate and both you and your spouse will be satisfied. It’s when we fall into the trap of first looking out for ourselves and to be the recipient of servant-hood, that trouble makes its way into the marriage.
When the two of you create a habit of looking out for the other and putting the other first, then you’ll both feel fulfilled, secure, and well taken care of. Servant hearts lead both husband and wife to have the confidence that their needs are being met. You will enjoy each other more when you put the interests of your spouse first and above your own.
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2. Play on the Same Team
When Paul wrote to the church of Corinth, he addressed a common and dangerous misconception, and clarified that though we as believers each have different gifts, talents, and perspectives, we are playing on the same team; that of Jesus (1 Corinthians 12). The same can be said about husband and wife. You aren't playing against each other, but rather on the same team with the same goal to enjoy a lifetime of a vibrant marriage that glorifies God and seeks to further His kingdom.
What each spouse brings to the table is significant; both members are needed. As unique individuals, you and your spouse will have varying values, ideas, reactions, and desires. The hope is that the two of you can find a way to use your distinct identities to contribute to the marriage so that it flourishes. Two are better than one because if one of you falls, you will have the other to help you up (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
As troubles come your way, you and your spouse, when playing on the same team, will be able to endure and navigate your way through together, hand-in-hand, holding each other up by strength in Christ.
3. Be a Forgiver
When Peter, one of Jesus' disciples, asked Him how many times he should forgive, Jesus went on to instruct that he should forgive seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). When we read that, it sounds shocking and tough. You may even conclude it is impossible to forgive that much. Perhaps you believe that no one is deserving of such forgiveness. That's quite a tall order to forgive seventy times seven, no doubt, but marriage will take advantage of that number. Every day forgiveness is necessary to keep your marriage strong and healthy.
There will be arguments, frustrations, hurts, and betrayals. Forgiveness will help you let go of bitterness toward your spouse and help erase the tension between the two of you. Forgiveness will keep the tally of wrongs from adding up. Forgiveness will allow your spouse to repent and be free of guilt and regret.
We forgive because God forgives us (Ephesians 4:32). Forgiveness is a choice that when chosen will bring plenty of blessings. As forgivers, you and your spouse will experience a growth in your love and compassion toward one another. Forgiveness will allow your commitment and faithfulness to one another become deeply rooted, and neither will be easily shaken.
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4. Communicate Better
You've likely heard before that communication is key to a healthy marriage. But what does that really mean? The Bible gives us incredibly relevant and helpful advice: "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry" (James 1:19). If you've ever been in the thick of an argument, you know abiding by this verse takes a lot of strength and discipline, but with practice and God's help, it is possible.
When you listen, you will get to know your spouse better. When you remain silent, you will learn how to respond and care for your spouse in truth and love. When you don't get overcome with anger, you will be able to better love and show mercy to your spouse.
As you and your spouse work to practice and apply these three communication habits to your marriage, you will notice an increase in shared peace, understanding, and respect. Better communication will lead to a stronger bond and more intimate connection with your spouse.
If you find yourself struggling day to day in your marriage and want to change the tone of your family, practice these four biblical principles. As you foster them, your marriage will experience a restoration of unity, love, and hope. Marriage does take work, but it's work that will not only benefit your spouse and overall marriage covenant, but these spiritual practices will also help you deepen your love for and commitment to Christ.
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Pamela Palmer is a writer, chaplain, and the founder of upheldlife.com, the platform on which she produces weekly devotionals and faith resource articles to inspire keeping faith at the center of it all. She lives and thrives on Jesus, coffee, and music. She is in pastoral ministry and gets to share in the emotional and spiritual lives of many people, being a small piece of each journey. Pamela married the perfect man for her and they have two beautiful kiddos. She has been published on herviewfromhome.com and you can follow her at www.upheldlife.com, or on Facebook and Instagram.