Building a God-Honoring Marriage
Curt Grice, Associate Pastor of Educational Ministries
First Baptist Church, Arlington, Texas
No man pledges his marriage vows hoping to be miserable, frustrated and unfulfilled. No man wants to become part of a broken, hurting, dysfunctional family. But strong, healthy marriages don’t just happen.
Marriage is a mysterious union, established by God, in which a man and woman willingly bind themselves together in love and become one. Marriage is a sacred covenant. Marriage is a unique partnership. And marriage is hard work!
Here are 3 truths that you need to embrace and commit to…
Marriage is important. The Bible uses the marriage relationship as a symbol of the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church. Marriage is the foundation of a healthy family and a strong society.
Marriage is hard work, even for Christians. It’s easy to get married, but difficult to stay married. The goal is not simply to avoid divorce or separation. God wants you to thrive, not just survive. It takes two people committed and cooperating to make marriage good. Sadly, it only takes one person being selfish and uncommitted to make it bad. Anger, bitterness and withdrawal are not God’s intention for marriage.
Marriage depends on good communication. It’s vital for husbands and wives to talk with each other about hopes and dreams and spiritual things. Conversations must involve more than just work, kids and chores to be done. Couples need to develop a deep sense of intimacy in order to endure their sorrows, resolve their disagreements and celebrate their joys.
Marriage is a commitment that’s much bigger than your temporary circumstances or emotions. Marriage is based on love… and love is more than a feeling. Love is a choice.
Here are 3 steps that you can begin to act on NOW in order to build a strong, God-honoring marriage.
STEP #1: Commit to a Covenant Marriage
Too many marriages are like business contracts… easy to get into and easy to get out of. God’s covenant with His people was a promise to remain eternally faithful, even if His people were not faithful in return. In covenant marriage, each spouse is committed for a lifetime, in sickness and health, for better or worse. Divorce should never be threatened or even considered as an option.
STEP #2: Pursue a Passionate Marriage
Couples aren’t supposed to just “stick it out” and hope their relationship survives. God calls us to pursue a vibrant, passionate marriage. The Song of Solomon expresses the kind of love, joy and celebration God intends marriage to be. Stop now and go read it!
That passion is built on more than just infatuation and sexual desire. It’s rooted in the physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy God created couples to experience. And it’s a glimpse of the eternal unity, communion and intimacy we are intended to have with God.
STEP #3: Become Heroic in Marriage
Christ made the ultimate sacrifice to redeem us back to the Father. Writing to the Ephesians, Paul connected Christ’s sacrifice directly to marriage: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25) and “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands” (Ephesians 5:24). In other words, mutual submission to one another requires giving up our own interests to serve the other person.
Every couple will mess up. The challenge is to never give up! In the Bible, God fights for His relationship with His people, remaining faithful in the face of unfaithfulness. He forgives again and again.
No couple can avoid disagreement, but we can avoid “giving the devil a foothold” in our marriages by keeping short accounts and quickly restoring the relationship regardless of what happens.
Finally, men are called to take the initiative! We have a responsibility to “step up” and “step out” in our marriage. Sitting back passively – waiting for your wife to lead you – is not an option. You must choose to go first and serve her in love. Do it!
GOING FURTHER – Resources
It Starts At Home byKurt Bruner and Steve Stroope
Explains why marriage is a key path of our spiritual formation and provides practical advice for intentional couples (available in the Library).
The Marriage Masterpiece by Al Janssen
Unveils the beauty of God’s design for every marriage.
Love and Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Discusses a powerful biblical model for each spouse understanding and meeting the other’s most deeply felt needs.
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Describes how to discover and serve your spouse’s unique love language.
A Celebration of Sex by Dr. Douglas Rosenau
A guide to enjoying God’s gift of sexual intimacy.
GOING FURTHER – Church Support
Our church offers a variety of Sunday morning Bible study groups for every stage of life. These classes can be a source of spiritual growth and friendship for individuals and couples.
Additional “Marriage” resources are available online.
The Center for Counseling and Enrichment has a staff of clinically trained professional counselors ready to assist you and your family.