11 PIECES of ADVICE for the CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE
What do you get when you join two broken, imperfect people together? Marriage. Marriage shows us that we are broken and need of a Savior. My first couple years of marriage were ROUGH. We didn’t seem to see eye to eye on ANYTHING. We still STRUGGLE with very different world views, and fight a lot, but have come SO FAR. Here are 11 lessons that I have learned in my first 5 years of marriage.
- We are ALL sinners and broken people
Everything starts with realizing that we are the same. We are all broken. When you realize that your husband/wife is a sinner, and you are also a sinner, then it leaves you with the realization that you are both equal. Then instead of always being critical, it leaves you with the question: How do I help my husband/wife GROW towards Christ? How can I daily grow towards Christ?“ For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”, (Romans 3:23)
- Your marriage should have one central goal-GROWTH in CHRIST
When you have the realization that all the faults of your husband, and all your faults accomplish one thing-GROWTH in the other person. Then you start to view your marriage as a refining place where righteousness and holiness is the GOAL. You see, sometimes the exact thing that irritates you about your husband/wife is the exact thing that pushes you towards growth in Christ-No one said the refiners fire wasn’t hot.“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.” (Isaiah 48:10)
- Your husband/wife isn’t here to meet your desires
When you understand that your marriage isn’t about YOU and your happiness then you will utlimatley be more fulfilled. When you understand that God is the great provider and not your husband/wife, then you won’t have unrealistic expectations for your husband/wife to be GOD. Your husband/wife doesn’t need to meet all your needs, God does. Lean on God when the going gets tough.“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4)
- It ALL starts with the Holy Spirit
When you realize that the Holy Spirit is the only one that can CHANGE the heart. You can’t convince, change, or make your husband/wife do anything, then you give the Holy Spirit room to be the VOICE that changes and convicts.“Guide [them] into all truth” (John 16:13)
- Trust GOD for the change
If you can’t give up your husband/wife to God and realize that your husband/wife matters just as much as you do, then you will always be holding on to your husband’s or wife’s growth with an iron fist. Trust God for your husband or wife’s growth.“… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
- God can CHANGE the heart
God can soften and harden the heart. When you understand that God is sovereign over the human heart, then you will start to see his/her “hard heart” as places to learn a lesson and for growth. Start praying for your husband’s or wife’s heart to be softened in areas that you desire to see them softened.“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone” (Ezekiel 36:26).
- It all begins and ends with prayer
Prayer changes lives. Prayer changes hearts. Prayer is the weapon of choice against the enemy’s schemes.This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14)
- Encouraging your husband/wife to have alone time/giving him space
If you never give your husband/wife space or quiet time without the kids, then you’re not allowing him/her to have quiet time to hear from God. The Holy Spirit speaks in a still small voice. Let him have space to hear that voice.35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
36 Simon and his companions went to look for him,
37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” (Mark 1:35-37)
- Realizing we are both on the same side
When we accept that we are PARTNERS, not enemies, then we can begin to see everything as a team effort. In sports, if I am playing well, then the team does well. Similarly, if my husband/wife is doing well, then we both are doing well. Encouraging him/her in their walk with Christ benefits the team.7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
8 and the two will become one flesh.’So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
- Always Strive for holiness, and rightness before God no matter WHAT
If it is blatant that your husband/wife is in sin, strive for holiness anyways. If your husband/wife isn’t seeing you, look to God anyways. You can only control your life and actions.“Be holy as I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16)
- Forgiving Quickly
Jesus said we must forgive always. That means no matter how many times you feel wronged, you must forgive. Without forgiveness, then we start to become resentful and bitter. Make sure you are forgiving your husband or wife, just as Christ forgave you.Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)