Genesis 2: NIV 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman, ' for she was taken out of man." 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Ephesians 5:22-33 22 Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church-- 30 for we are members of his body. 31 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." 32 This is a profound mystery--but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Mark 10:6-9 NIV 6 "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female.' 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. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."
Have you ever mentored an engaged couple and/or a single person who tells you what they want in a spouse and what they are looking for and how things are going to be? The expectations are the funnest things to watch because there is excitement and there are dreams and some are even good enough to have shared values and goals to help each other along the way. My favorite part in marriage mentoring is when we get to go over his expectations and her expectations. There are times when these expectations are not equally yoked - Controversy? What to do? How to solve it? How to walk through with them from our own experiences to what God has planned for them.
One thing that my pastors like to say (and I truly believe) are that when a man and a woman come together into Holy matrimony, you have to realize that there are two sinners with their own baggage that they are bringing to "until death do us part". That being said, we have to align ourselves with God's purpose for our lives and what he desires for us in marriage between one man and one woman.
My wife and I have been married for over 14 years now and it is my belief that we are and have grown stronger. Do we always get it right? Of course not! Do we exemplify the perfect marriage? No way! So how do I say what I am saying and tell you that I have a great marriage:
Ways to build a healthy and vibrant marriage:
- Be humble
- (if you are single, purse holiness and avoid sexual immorality)
- Die to self and serve the other
- Treat your spouse with the utmost respect
- Do not talk down to your spouse or talk bad about them to others
- Protect your spouse and your marriage
- Stay connected in community (both intimately, physically and emotionally with your spouse)
- Stay connected to church community (to hold you both accountable)
- Set healthy boundaries (flee temptation and loose individuals that are not God-centered)
- Stay rooted in the word of God (read the Bible daily)
- Pray often (and more often)
- Pursue your spouse (date them, study them, love them, accept them for who God made them to be)
- Treat them and life as a gift (not as a burden)
- In all that you do, pursue God to have a Christ-centered, Holy Spirit filled marriage!!!
If you are in a place where you are just getting married, please study this. If you are newly weds, then stay focused on this. If you are like my wife and I, please re-visit this and commit it to your daily lives. If you marriage is not any of this, then start with prayer, repentance (if you are the man, own it! You are the spiritual leader and your wife is supposed to follow you - don't blame her - take some responsibility and plead for God's guidance in your marriage).
If you marriage is dead, then pray that God will bring it back to life. Lean on God and not on your own knowledge (where has that knowledge gotten you this far in your marriage?) and ask for the Holy Spirit to change in you a new heart to love your wife and to see her as God sees her - a treasure.
In all that you do, draw nearer to God and He will draw nearer to you.
In case you are wondering on ways to destroy your marriage and the intimacy that God has planned for both you and your wife, then this would be the list that can easily achieve that:
- Be abusive to your spouse (both mentally, verbally and physically)
- Withhold love
- Treat your spouse often and openly with contempt and disrespect
- Often compare them to others and put them down constantly
- Serve yourself and not your spouse
- Have no boundaries (with the internet, social media, television, movies, or other individuals)
- Do not read the Bible
- Do not pray often
- Do not read Proverbs (or even Proverbs 6) because if you do these things on this list and read God's word, then you realize the person that does these things instead of ways to build your marriage is considered a fool!
If you have any to add to either lists, then please email me at email@example.com