How can marriages be improved?

Question: “How can my marriage be improved? Marriages start out with love, wonderment, great expectation, and hopefully with God.  What went wrong and what can be done to save these marriages?”

Bible Answers

Why are 50% of Christian marriages ending in divorce? These marriages started out with love, wonderment, great expectation and hopefully with God. What were their mental pictures of their new spouse in the beginning?  In the beginning, each was making an effort to support and care for the other. Each was showing love and concern. Each had a great mental picture of the other. People typically respond in kind to the way they are treated. If each partner maintains the same mental picture they had in the beginning, they respond in the same way and the marriage grows. If one or both start taking things for granted, start letting their attitude and mental picture start to decay, they open the door to other pictures that create dissatisfaction. Recall that the devil is very sly and if you are not on guard, he will over time, give you new thoughts, attitudes, and pictures that your spouse is not very loving, not very interesting, and does not care about you any more. When you let these attitudes grow, you start to show less interest, care, concern, and love, and your spouse reciprocates. Problems grow – dissatisfaction develops – and if insufficient commitment exists – divorce is likely to result.

We can focus on our present picture of our spouse or we can return to the original picture. As you start to respond to your spouse in a similar way that you did in the beginning, putting them first, with them being the most important person in your life after Christ, they will start to respond, and be open to returning to their original pictures of you.  

It goes without saying that we should cover our marriage with prayer and God’s blessing and protection. Too often we forget how important it is to lift our marriage and family up to the Lord and to pray that the Lord protect and bless them. Way too many marriages have been lost because we have not prayed for our marriage and spouse and in ignorance, we have let the devil come in and destroy it.

Scripturally, the order of importance is: God, spouse, children, parents, job, and friends. For too many people, they think that they need to provide for their family, and this is true, but they mistakenly put their job first in their life. If we trust God to provide, then God and our spouse are at the top of our list.  Who is at the top of your list?

Divorce is not trusting God.  It is not pleasing to God and is not the will of God for His children. We need to remember that God said, I hate divorce, says the Lord God of Israel (Malachi 2:16), and the two will become one flesh.  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate (Matthew 19:5-6). We have made a commitment to God and our partner never to divorce; to do all that we can do to support our spouse with love and prayer. Honoring and upholding the marriage vows brings honor and glory to God.

Many misunderstand 1 Cor. 11:3.  But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. The husband’s position as the head of the home does not make him superior to the woman. Just as the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all one but have different function and characteristics, so the husband and wife team are one and are equal, but with different functions. The wife is not of lesser value or importance. The wife being under the authority of her husband is God’s plan for the husband to protect her and their home. And God designed the wife to bear children and to nurture the family in tenderness.

Steps to a Stronger Marriage

Step 1 - Read The Bible Together:

Reading the Bible together helps a couple to work toward the same goals for life.

Step 2 - Pray Together:

Praying together develops a greater intimacy with each other and God.  Pray for protection from the enemy for each other and the family, and bless each other and the family with God’s blessings.  As we Trust in the Lord with all our heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all our ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6), we draw closer to God and closer to each other.

Step 3 - Make Decisions Together:

Making decisions together develops a stronger relationship and trust.

Step 4 - Attend Church Together:

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).

Step 5 – Desire to Serve:

Humbly put the other person first, lifting them up in love. If each will lay down their desires for the other, there will be great harmony in the marriage.  Marriage is not a 50-50% arrangement, but a 100%-100 arrangement. It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

Step 6 - Continue the Romance:

Have special times to continue dating.  Find something the other person really enjoys, and within Godly limits, provide it or time for it.  Love is patience, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.  It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…love never ends (1 Cor. 13:4-8).

Part of marriage romance is sex.  But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife (1 Corinthians 7:2-4).

In one study, the average couple only communicates 20 minutes a week.  But those who communicate 4 minutes in the morning and say good-by with a kiss and do the same in the evening, have a much happier and productive day and marriage.

In these overly busy times, one of the greatest gifts we can give is time. Time to share and time to listen patiently to our spouses cares, desires, feelings, and point of view. If you really care about the other, here is a great secret; not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:4).

If you have wronged your mate, humble yourself and tell them you are sorry.  It will go a long way toward healing your relationship.

In a survey, eighty percent of couples who were considering divorce but chose to persevere in their marriage were happily married five years later.

Developing a relationship can be more important than love. For example, most of those in an arranged marriage are happily married and never get a divorce. Why, aside from cultural norms, those in an arranged marriages get married, develop a relationship, and then fall in love.

A marriage requires work, effort and commitment to succeed. It means working as a team and following the directions of the Lord. There will be obstacles and conflicts, but these can be overcome in Jesus.

Ask God to help you in each step of your marriage and in applying Godly marriage principles. Being a Godly example can have a great impact on your spouse.  Jesus said, My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you (John 15:12).

As these steps are applied in love, the love and intimacy of your marriage will grow.

Next Section - What is love?

Marriage and what is required in a marriage

Marriage Section

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