This past weekend my wife and I attended a Christian couples conference that our church was putting on. They put on this weekend getaway every year as a way for couples to get away together and strengthen their love for each other, and to reaffirm that Christ comes first in their relationship.
I thought this year’s message was very practical, almost a road map towards having a successful and healthy marriage. Seeing how it’s Valentine’s Day today, I thought this would be a good time to share some of what was said as I think it can help others as well.
The message was given by Mark Darling, who is one of the founding pastors of our multi-location group of churches that we attend. To start the message off Pastor Darling admitted up front that not everyone who was in attendance had an amazing or even good relationship. Some people were struggling with years of hurt and disappointment in their marriages, and trying to overcome those hurts with God’s help. But today can be the start of the first day of the rest of your marriage. Why not treat it that way?
Habits Of A Healthy Marriage
Pastor Darling’s message started off with an admonition that many in the church are not actually being molded by the word of God, and because of that, we will see the consequences in our marriages, families and communities. You can’t ignore God and get away with having no consequences in your life. There will be consequences, most of which you won’t like.
In order to avoid the consequences of bad decisions, we must sow good habits in our relationships. Here are 20 habits of a healthy marriage.
1. Set Christ As Lord Of Your Life Daily
When we set the Christ as the lord of our life, it reminds us that we need to allow him to call the shots in our lives. How do we do that? By being in relationship with him daily in prayer, and by reading our bibles.
A survey of 40,000 mostly Christian persons by the Center for Bible Engagement found that there is a significant difference in the actions of those who read their bible 4 or more times a week than those who don’t. They are much less likely to give in to temptations such as pornography, gambling, adultery or drugs. All those things can be extremely harmful to a marriage! They found that reading your bible 3 or less times a week meant that your behavior wasn’t much different from that of a non-Christian person.
2. Stay In The Word Of God Every Day. Walk With Him And Obey His Word
Staying in the word of God every day and walking with him – and obeying his word is so important. The bible talks about it in so many places. Psalm 1 talks about how important it is to meditate on good things, and avoid being like those around you who aren’t Christ followers.
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. Psalm 1:1-2
Psalm 119 talks about how we can stay on the path of purity by living according to His word
How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.
Psalm 119 also talks in detail about how important God’s word should be in our lives. It gives us promises and hope, understanding, direction, commands we are to live by and helps direct us towards unselfish ways. Those are all things we need in Marriage.
So start reading your Bible daily. Get a 1 year bible, a journal and write down one verse a day from your reading. Pray for insights from the word.
3. Practice Humility And Self Examination
Because we are all human, we have a way of leaning towards selfish tendencies, and of always thinking that we’re right in most situations. Being humble and examining ourselves rarely works itself into the equation. We need a lot of God in our lives to change our harmful attitudes and habits.
Psalm 139 looks at how we need to remain humble and our motives examined both by ourselves and God
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
4. A Personal Commitment To Grow, Change And Strive After Godliness
It’s a painful process to be like Christ but it has rewards on heaven and earth. We must strive to be continually growing in Him, otherwise, we won’t end up in a positive place.
5. Think Good Thoughts About Your Spouse
Regularly thank God for all the wonderful things about your spouse. When you are thankful, instead of complaining, it’s harder to be upset and bitter.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phillipians 4:8
Slander separates best of friends. We need to stop slandering our spouse in our minds. Instead we should be thinking good thoughtsm, and verbalizing them whenever we can.
6. Forgive Readily And Easily Because Christ First Forgave You
Don’t let bitterness or resentment grow or it will damage your relationship. We need to give allowance for others faults, and be willing to forgive them when they fail.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13
Love will prosper when faults are forgiven, but there will be separation created when you dwell upon a wrong.
Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.Proverbs 17:9
7. Practice God’s Grace On Them And Extend It To Them Always
Remember that they are human. God gave grace to you why shouldn’t you give it to them?
8. Use Your Words And Mouth Wisely
You have the power to build up or tear down with the things that you say. Little snide remarks can cut like a sword.
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
9. Practice Praise, Honor And Appreciation Of Your Spouse
Take delight in honoring one another in marriage.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:9-10
Never let a card do the talking for you because it means so much more when it comes from your lips. When you refresh others you are refreshed.
The more you honor the more they will live up to it.
10. Practice Generosity
God so loved the world he gave…. We should follow his example and be giving in love, and in affirmation.
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25
Guys can be cheap when it comes to their wives, but generous when it comes to others. Don’t be.
God lavished upon us his riches of grace. We should do the same and be generous in forgiveness, in love.
11. Take Care Of Yourself For Your Spouses Sake. In Word, Deed And Appearance
While we should guard against vanity or allowing appearance to become too important, we should also do our best to remain physically fit and attractive for our spouse, and do only Godly things with our earthly body.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20
12. Write Hard Things On Paper, And Share Them With Your Spouse That Way
Sometimes we may be upset with our spouse, or have some difficult issues to speak about. In some instances we may even have a hard time keeping our cool when discussing certain hard issues. When those issues come up consider writing it down on paper and sharing it with your spouse that way. It forces you to think before you speak, helps to soften situations, and the written word allows less room for misunderstood looks, harsh tones of voice and other things that may poison the conversation.
24 Habits Of A Healthy Marriage: Part 2
First 12 of the 24 habits got your interest? Continue on to part 2 through the link below.
24 Habits Of A Healthy Marriage: Part 2
I think #5 is really good one. Our actions always start with a thought.
5. Think Good Thoughts About Your Spouse
Regularly thank God for all the wonderful things about your spouse. When you are thankful, instead of complaining, it’s harder to be upset and bitter
Jane Sanders says
Great post, Peter. I enjoyed it and I’m sure my partner will love it. I’m going to send this to him.
#3 is something I have to learn the hard way.
Good counsel for all our relationships within the body of Christ. My husband and I enjoy a great deal of compatibility. Usually we can pray together and talk things out. I find now that the kids are older and have their own minds however, these kinds of things you mention come into play. Thanks for sending on what you learned.