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4 Lessons Michal Has for Building a Healthy Marriage

| Contributing Writer
26 Jan
4 Lessons Michal Has for Building a Healthy Marriage

The story of Michal is one that can be viewed from different perspectives. She was the youngest daughter of King Saul, and she was also David’s wife, then she wasn’t and then she was again. I know that seems confusing, but I will make it clear shortly.

As we look at her life, there are some great relationship lessons we can learn from Michal. In the Bible there are key moments in her life that give us important lessons about relationships and marriage. If you are in a relationship or considering getting married, then you may want to pay close attention to this article.

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4 Lessons Michal Has for Building a Healthy Marriage

Lesson 1 – Don’t Marry Someone Who Is Not in Love with You

What is fascinating about the story of Michal is that we are certain that she was in love with David because the Bible tell us.

“Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased” (1 Samuel 18:20).

Just to be clear, Saul wasn’t pleased because he loved David and thought he would be a great son-in-law. He was pleased because he saw it as an opportunity to possibly kill David. You can read 1 Samuel 18 to fill in the gaps.

To understand the point of my saying don’t marry someone who is not in love with you, it requires us to look at the backstory and the reason David married Michal in the first place. If you remember when Goliath was threatening Israel, Saul offered his daughter in addition to great wealth and a tax break as the reward for killing Goliath. Since David killed Goliath, Saul offered his older daughter Merab, but David did not feel worthy to be the king’s son-in-law.

When Saul discovered that Michal was in love with David, he offered her to David, but only after David delivered 100 Philistine foreskins. Saul hoped that David would die in the process of obtaining these foreskins, which could mean he had no real intention of giving his daughter to David in marriage. Nevertheless, David succeeded in this process, and he and Michal were married. While we are clear that Michal was in love with David, it is never mentioned that David was in love with Michal.

It is important to note that the customs of that day were different, and Michal didn’t have much choice in who she married, but you do. The first lesson we learn from Michal is don’t marry someone who is not in love with you.

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4 Lessons Michal Has for Building a Healthy Marriage

Lesson 2 - Be Prepared to Love Your Spouse More Than Your Parents

“When Saul realized that the Lord was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David, Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days” (1 Samuel 18:28-29).

Even after they married, Saul tried to kill David. In one instance Saul tried to kill David and Michal warned David and helped him escape from Saul.

“Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, ‘If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed.’ So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped. Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head” (1 Samuel 19:11-13).

Michal must have been in a very uncomfortable position, stuck between her husband and her father. However, she made the right decision because she chose her husband. This is such a critical lesson we can learn from Michal. One of the most important things that must be done in marriage is that a spouse must realign their allegiance. What I simply mean by this is not that you neglect or stop loving your father or mother, but your hierarchy of importance changes. This is critical to any marriage if it is going to be successful. This is what God intended in marriage when you go all the way back to Genesis.

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

If you are a parent, it is critical that you encourage your child to love their spouse and make that their first allegiance. Marriages that don’t operate in this fashion are highly likely to fail. As a child, you must also recognize that once married, your first obligation is to your spouse and not your parents.

This is a difficult switch for many people to make, but it is a necessary switch. It takes some getting used to and there will be moments where either you or the parent will want it to be as it was before you got married. While parents still can play an important role, the role must change and can no longer be the primary relationship in your life.

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4 Lessons Michal Has for Building a Healthy Marriage

Lesson 3 - When a Person Loves You, They Will Demonstrate It by Their Actions

I mentioned earlier that Michal was his wife, then she wasn’t and then she was again. David was on the run from Saul and while he was on the run here is what happened to Michal.

“But Saul had given his daughter Michal, David’s wife, to Paltiel son of Laish, who was from Gallim” (1 Samuel 25:44).

The next time we hear about Michal is in 2 Samuel 3, when Abner is attempting to form an alliance with David.

“’Good,’ said David. ‘I will make an agreement with you. But I demand one thing of you: Do not come into my presence unless you bring Michal daughter of Saul when you come to see me.’ Then David sent messengers to Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, demanding, ‘Give me my wife Michal, whom I betrothed to myself for the price of a hundred Philistine foreskins’” (2 Samuel 3:13-14).

When you read this again, we see that David wanted Michal back. However, it doesn’t seem to be motivated by love, but because of the price he paid for her. However, it is the actions of Paltiel that truly demonstrated his love for Michal.

“So Ish-Bosheth gave orders and had her taken away from her husband Paltiel son of Laish. Her husband, however, went with her, weeping behind her all the way to Bahurim. Then Abner said to him, ‘Go back home!’ So he went back” (2 Samuel 3:15-16).

It appears to be quite evident that Paltiel loved Michal in a way that David didn’t. When Michal was given to Paltiel, there is no record of David having such an emotional reaction.

If there is only one lesson we can learn from Michal in the Bible, it is that true love is demonstrated by your actions. Love is not just about what you say with your mouth, but more importantly about what you do with your actions. If someone says they love you, don’t just listen to what they say, watch what they do. This will give you all the evidence you need to know if what they say is really true.

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4 Lessons Michal Has for Building a Healthy Marriage

Lesson 4 - When You Love Someone Who Doesn't Love You Back, You Will Eventually Despise That Person

“As the ark of the Lord was entering the City of David, Michal daughter of Saul watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart” (2 Samuel 6:16).

It is interesting to see the change that has taken place in Michal. She went from being in love with David to despising him. One of the ways this is marked is by the way Michal is described early on, and how she is described now. I don’t know if you caught it, so let me make you aware of it. Look at the verse above and compare that to the way Michal is mentioned in the verse below.

“Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, ‘If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed’” (1 Samuel 19:11).

Somehow, she went from being described as David’s wife to being described as the daughter of Saul, and there was no mention of her being in love with David. There is no clear reason why she despised him, so I would like to offer a possibility. Is it possible she was angry because she was no longer the wife of Paltiel? It seems Paltiel was the one who clearly loved her, which was something we were never sure about with David. 

We have seen from this story that there is never any sense or confirmation that David truly loved Michal. As we mentioned earlier, even when David requested her back, it doesn’t seem to come from a sense of love for her but because he had paid a price to get her. David never went after Michal like Paltiel did and maybe that is why she began to despise him. She was taken from a man who loved her and given to a man who didn’t. I can’t say this definitively, but it is food for thought.

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4 Lessons Michal Has for Building a Healthy Marriage

Giving, and Receiving, Love Is Crucial for Marriage

So, what is the lesson we can learn from Michal in this aspect of her life? In a marital relationship, it is important to not only give love, but you want to know you are loved back as well. Because it seems like David never gave that type of love to Michal, eventually over time she went from being in love with him to despising him.

Whether you are married or thinking about getting married, you should do everything you can to make sure your spouse knows that you truly love them. Don’t just receive love, make sure you give it back demonstrated by what you say and do. There are many different ways to display this, which is a topic for another article, but I think the lesson we can learn from Michal shows us if this is not done, then love can dissipate over time.

If we are going to sum up the lessons we can learn from Michal, I think it is clear to see how important a role love plays in a marital relationship. Not just love that is received, but also love that is given. Marriage is a lifetime of giving and receiving love, over and over again. As you do this, that love continues to grow, helping you not just to start out in love but to stay in love throughout the years till death do you part.

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Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. He has also just released his new book The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. Do you want to go deeper in your walk with the Lord but can’t seem to overcome the stuff that keeps getting in the way? This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. To learn more about his ministry please visit

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