Part 1: Communication, Consideration and Commitment:
The keys to a successful marriage will not be found on Dr. Phil’s how or on Oprah.
The keys to a successful marriage are found in God’s Word.
The sad thing is that most marriages start out as ideal, turn into an ordeal, and then one partner begins looking for a new deal. This is not what God intended, so here are some biblical truths and tips for an “ideal” marriage.
#1 – Communication
The first key to a successful marriage is communication. Donald Bell wrote: “After twenty-one years of experience in the field of marriage and family counseling, I still find communication the basic problem…”
The important keys to communication are:
- Stop lying and start telling the truth. Telling the truth builds bridges while lying builds barriers.
- Loving and not angering. Anger pushes people away but love and forgiveness draws them to you.
- Stop stealing and start giving. You can give by actually listening to your spouse instead of cutting off their thoughts with interruptions, and avoid criticizing or attacking vulnerabilities! Stop manipulating, controlling, yelling, walking out on the middle of a fight and giving the silent treatment.
- Stop overreacting and start acting like a Christian.
- Bitterness leads to rage, rage leads to anger, anger leads to brawling, brawling leads to slander and slander leads to malice. Always be thankful for the little things and always say “I love you” every day.
Communication is a learned skill; it does not come easily for most of us. One of the major purposes in dating, I believe, is to develop communication skills. If you do not learn to communicate during your dating years you will have trouble communicating in your marriage.
Just remember—if you don’t schedule time to communicate with your spouse—it won’t happen!
#2 – Consideration
In any interpersonal relationship, we cannot think merely of ourselves. To be considerate means that we listen to what our partner says and show them common courtesy with respect.
Marriage is not about “me”—marriage is about “we.”
How to be considerate:
- Live by the Golden Rule.
- Love your spouse unconditionally.
- Think before you speak.
- Be intentional.
- Pray with your spouse.
- Compliment your spouse.
- Don’t retaliate.
- Lift each other up.
- Look for the best in them.
- In a discussion, once you have made your point- shut up.
- Discuss the issues but never attack the character.
- Never deliberately embarrass your spouse.
- Give credit where it is due.
- Don’t ignore problems.
- Six most important words: “I am wrong. Please forgive me.”
The bottom line in all interpersonal relationships is to practice the Golden Rule: “Therefore all things whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (Matthew 7:12).
I know this sounds like I am talking to a two-year-old, but please be NICE to each other. Remember, if you can’t get along with others, it’s not a people problem, it’s a personal problem!
#3 – Commitment
If I could choose one word that would best summarize God’s intent for marriage it would not be the word “love,” it would be the word “commitment.”
Commitment does not say, “If it doesn’t work out, I’m going to bail out.” Commitment says, “I cannot pick up my marbles and go home—I am home!”
Commitment is what makes a marriage a marriage and it’s meant to last a lifetime.
Jesus (Mark 10:7-9), Moses (Genesis 2:24), and even Paul (Ephesians 5:31) said that a husband and his wife were to “cleave,” or “glue” yourselves together.
When a couple takes their marriage vows, they both make a commitment to one another and a promise to love one another “until death do us part,” not “until someone better comes along.”
God describes marriage as a covenant (Proverbs 2:16,17; Malachi 2:14), a solemn and binding agreement. It is a final act that says that from this point on, and for the rest of my life, I promise to meet the needs of my spouse.
There is just one safe approach to this covenant promise:
Marry someone whose commitment to you is exceeded only by his or her commitment to God.
The truth is that some do not want to save their marriages.
Some reach the point where the grass looks greener on the other side. But remember, the grass is always greener where you water it!
If you water your marriage relationship—you’ll have a great one. If you don’t—you won’t!
The Bible is very clear that we should love God first, our spouse second, and our children third.
Richard Cohen, a secular marriage counselor, remarked: “One of the ways you measure love is not with words, but with actions—with commitment, with what you are willing to give up, with what you are willing to share with no one else.
We must remove the word “divorce” from our vocabulary and our thoughts.”
You will never have a great marriage if you leave yourself an escape route. Your marriage will never be all that it could be if in the back of your mind you are thinking, “If it gets hard, I can bail out.”
Copyright © 2019 by <Jeff Swart> @ <Jeff Swart>. Used with permission.
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