How Can I Have a Better Marriage?
When my wife and I married in 1960, neither of us had any religion, other than self. For the first 10 years of my marriage, I think I had what the world calls a “normal marriage.” There were disagreements, fighting, and unhappiness. Each of us wanted our own way. Then, in 1969 we began attending church and we grew into Christianity from that point on. Things began to change.
58 years later, we have never loved each other more. It just gets sweeter all the time. It has been 58 years, but it seems like only 10.
Many folks say, “You have to work at marriage.” Rather than work, it’s a pleasure for us. I do what she desires and she desires what is best for me. That works both ways.
Put the other person first
This is especially true concerning your spouse. Follow the golden rule, found in Matthew 7:12, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the the law and the prophets” (NKJV).
We should not indulge intimate thoughts concerning others outside of the marriage
We are to guard the avenues of the soul.1 In other words, avoid watching, saying, listening to, and even ingesting things that hinder you from being a loving and caring spouse.
- “I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman?” (Job 31:1, NKJV).
- “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28, NKJV).
- “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16, NKJV).
Never go to sleep angry with one another.
- “Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath” (Ephesians 4:26, NKJV).
- “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32, NKJV).
Be a “big enough” person to admit your mistake and sincerely tell your spouse that you are sorry. Making up can be very pleasant!
Make Christ the center of the home.
Do nothing to grieve away Christ, the Holy Spirit, or the holy angels.
- “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Psalms 127:1, NKJV).
- “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7, NKJV).
Praying together for each other solves many problems and prevents others.
- “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34, NKJV).
- “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16, NKJV).
Jesus said to love your enemies—we certainly should be able to sincerely love our spouses.
Let no man put asunder
God gave marriage to be a blessing. Sin in us has sometimes turned it into a curse. God’s ideal plan is for a man and a woman to be married for life.
It is sin and selfishness that cause divorce.
- “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate” (Matthew 19:6, NKJV).
- “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband” (Romans 7:2, NKJV).
No one should be allowed into the couple’s private lives
We are counseled to keep this family circle closed to all others. Telling others how bad the spouse has been or what the spouse did or did not do, is the business of no one else. They are not to know of it.
- “Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil All the days of her life” (Proverbs 31:10-12, NKJV).
- “He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 18:22, NKJV).
Do not make jokes at the expense of your spouse. Be truthful and defend your spouse.
Be determined to measure up to God’s standards–not the world’s
Charity is a word that means love. Agape is a Greek word for love. It is the kind of love God has for all humanity. My personal definition of agape is, “Doing what is best for the other person.”
Applying that definition to our spouse will ease or solve every problem.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8, NKJV).
Continual criticism or nagging makes it difficult to love a person
That is not how you won your spouse and it surely won’t keep them. You married the person the way they were. Do not try to change them now that you are married. It does not work well.
- “Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them” (Colossians 3:19, NKJV).
- “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman [or man]” (Proverbs 21:19, NKJV).
- “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman [or man] are alike” (Proverbs 27:15, NKJV).
Temperance goes a long way toward making a happy marriage
This includes temperance in every aspect of life.
- “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10, NKJV).
Speak kindly and softly to each other
- “A soft answer turns away wrath: but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1, NKJV).
- “Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest” (Ecclesiastes 9:9, NKJV).
- “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11, NKJV).
Show yourself to be a man [or woman] in the highest spiritual sense.
In money matters, counsel with each other
For my wife and I, it isn’t my money and your money. We share together in one pot. I tell her, “If you want it, get it!” She is more conservative than I am. She seldom buys needless things. She also takes better care of the money than I would. She shops for sales after searching the paper for the best buys. I would not make all that fuss. Because of her thriftiness, we have managed to save a lot. Even so, she is not stingy.
Follow His instructions
In designing marriage, God knew best practices that would make for a happy marriage. If we follow His instructions, we can count on His blessings. A happy marriage is not a marriage free of trouble. Instead, it is a union where the partners can support each other through the tough times and draw closer to each other and God as a result. Try these admonitions. God knows what He is doing.
 Ellen G. White, Adventist Home, (Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1952) p. 402.
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