Building Better Marriages
God never revealed anything in His word just so we would know it. He revealed it so we would respond in obedience to it and recommend it to others. With that in mind, let me pass along some of God’s wisdom found in His Word that will help purify our thoughts and protect our marriages. And let me encourage each of us on an individual level…make it a journey in building a better you. You’ll be glad you did and so will your mate.
DON’T BE DECEIVED; TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN BEHAVIOR
Just like cars, we all have “blind spots.” We all at times have a hard time seeing what is reality and needs to be address both Biblically and boldly. Sometimes, we just don’t see things the way God wants us to see them. Spiritually speaking, we have “blind spots.” We allow ourselves to be deceived into believing something about ourselves or our marriages that is not true, and most likely it prevents us from seeing what we need to see, in order to do what God would have us do. Too often we want to talk about the faults and failures of others before we’re willing to honestly examine our own. Maybe because it’s easier to deal with others than it is self. Or maybe we’ve been so overwhelmed by the sins of our mate that it has become too easy to rationalize a wrong response to an obvious wrong behavior. Usually, there are two common mistakes when it comes to taking responsibility. First, it’s possible for someone to take too much responsibility. This can not only be discouraging but ultimately destructive. Second, it’s possible for someone to take too little responsibility. This is the one being warned about here. And from my experience, it has been easier to help a person stop taking too much responsibility, than it has been to help someone start taking more. In taking personal responsibility, I must take ownership for both the feelings and actions I choose. It’s always a toxic approach to tackling any tough problem when I start by saying, “My mate made me do it!” Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the devil [Gen.3:12-13]. As hard as it may be, I must not seek to escape personal accountability by blaming my mate for the attitudes and actions I choose.
ADMIT YOUR FAULTS – BE READY TO FORGIVE
Heart-felt and sincere expressions of “I’m sorry; I was wrong; please forgive me” can heal a broken marriage almost as fast as anything else. And even if your mate doesn’t admit his or her faults, still you must in order to be forgiven by God. Humbly admit your faults and resolve to do better. When your mate honestly and humbly comes seeking your favor and forgiveness, freely give it! That will be hard to do at times, but Jesus says we must (Matt.6:14-15; Lk.17:3-4). Revenge and retaliation will never solve any problems in a marriage. Ask the Lord for strength to forgive when you know forgiveness for you will be hard. Be determined to return good for evil. It’s the right course to pursue; it will make you more Christ-like, and just may save your marriage. Remember, the one who ends up hurting the most when I choose NOT to forgive is me.
FLEE WHAT IS FORBIDDEN, DON’T FLIRT WITH IT
Unfortunately, too often one or both in the marriage has made the choice to pursue what God says is either unwise or outright sinful. We must be advised…this will eventually weaken the marriage or worse still, destroy it! And while it may not end in divorce, it can still mean the eternal ruin of souls. We simply must stop feeding and fantasizing on what is forbidden [Matt.5:27-30; Prov.23:29-35]. We must stop drinking what is deadly! Adultery and alcohol are destroying marriages and it’s time for us to wake up and wise up!
SEEK GODLY COMPANY
It is very difficult to keep a marriage pure when your main associations are with impure people. You need friends who will encourage you to seek God first, love your mate, and be committed to your marriage. You don’t need to associate with those who will encourage you to “divorce” your mate when you have problems. You don’t need to associate with those who will seduce you to sin, or who will give unwise; unbiblical; unloving advice. Marriages will not get better as long as one or both in the relationship choses to pursue a path that leads away from God and His favor [Jam 4:4-10]. It may be that you need to clean up your companions and stop conforming to the corruption of this world [1 Cor.15:33]. But, for this to happen, you must be intentional and firm in your choices. You must sever the ties with the unwise and ungodly. You must actively pursue those who value what God values and who will be a source of spiritual strength and encouragement to you and your marriage. For some, this will be hard. But persevere! It simply could be a matter of life or death to you and your marriage!
As you lean on God and listen to His counsel, be impressed with how practical His wisdom is and how piercing His Word can be. It will help us, and in time…it can heal our marriages, if we will apply it consistently and courageously. We can build better marriages…or better still, God can through us! Let’s tap into His wisdom. Let’s treasure His counsel. Let’s take action today, one day at a time in doing what we can do, and controlling what we can control.
by Paul White