Love is in the air. February is the perfect time to talk about love – especially since Valentine’s Day is here. God has revealed a lot to me about his love in the context of marriage. I am not a relationship expert, but I have seen the power of God’s love in my life and marriage. I want to share just a few tips that my husband and I have learned so you too can have a stronger, Christ-centered marriage.
1. Love like God loves
God’s love is summarized for us in 1 Corinthians 13. Really study the traits Paul is writing about in this chapter. You will become the person your spouse desires you to be, if you learn to love this way. It’ll be hard to do everything Paul describes, since mistakes happen, but it will help your marriage be strong enough to face even the greatest of tests. Remember that God’s love never fails.
2. Forgive and forget
God said it is important for you to forgive. It is equally important to forget the trespass too. If you hold on to the hurt your spouse caused, it eats at you. It becomes baggage that carries on throughout the relationship, coming back up again and again. Ask God to help relieve any hurt that is burdening you. It may take some time, but I have found freedom from this emotional baggage will help you feel a lot better. Remember to forgive as God forgives. See Colossians 3:13.
3. Pray together
As the saying goes, “A family that prays together stays together.” Praying together builds a strong bond between you, your spouse and God. So pray for yourself, your spouse and your family. As you see your prayers being answered, your relationship with God and with one another will grow. See Matthew 18:19-20.
4. Make Christ the head of your marriage
Christ should be the head and the center of your marriage. Think about a triangle. God should be at the top and you and your spouse on either side of the base. The goal is as you move closer to God, you will move closer to one another. When you know Christ is the head, you won’t be so quick to do things your way, but God’s way. See 1 Corinthians 11:13.
5. Don’t go to bed angry
Not going to bed angry is easier said than done. Angry feelings take a toll in the form of bitterness and hostility, and then the negative thoughts continue to build. Let Ephesians 4:26 be your guide to relieving anger, even if the problem still exists. Read it to defuse your anger and take control of your emotions, so you don’t say or do anything that you may regret.
6. Enjoy intimacy
Intimacy is something God wants every married couple to enjoy. It creates the strong bond you and your spouse need, whether physical or spiritual. You may come up with a million reasons why you can not be intimate with your spouse, but God gives you many reasons why you should. See 1 Corinthians 7:5, Song of Solomon 4:10 and Matthew 19:5.
7. Deal with finances from God’s perspective
Finances are one of the biggest subjects couples disagree about. Christian couples are not immune to financial issues. Pray about your finances and seek the Bible for financial guidance. You should be open and honest about financial decisions, even if only one person is earning the income. Finances should be discussed, so no one is left in the dark. See Matthew 6:24-33 and Proverbs 3:9-10.
8. Be humble
Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” God warns about pride and encourages a humble spirit. Pride will cause you to deny your mistakes, not apologize for your faults and disregard your spouse’s feelings. Worse yet, pride can cause you to harden your heart, which is the opposite of what you need in your marriage. Let go of your pride because God’s love can only be exercised in humility. See Proverbs 11:2 and Ephesians 4:2.
9. Encourage each other
Words can build up and words can tear down. That is why you must be very careful about what you say to each another. Your spouse’s success is your success and if you fail, you both fail. Marriage is a team effort. Remember to encourage your spouse in words and in action. Purposeful encouragement can soften the heart and ease pain. Encouragement can also give strength and motivation to move forward. God wants you to encourage your spouse, so each of you can reach your full potential. See 1 Thessalonians 5:11.
10. Be faithful
Being faithful should go without saying, but in case there is any doubt read Hebrews 13:4. It will remind you that marriage should be honored and the bed un-defiled. It is hard to recover from the hurt caused by infidelity. Trust will be lost. Trust is a major foundation of every relationship. Stay true to your spouse and the marriage vows you took before God.
11. Don’t give up
Marriage is filled with ups and downs; even the strongest couples have issues. Remember that no matter how big the problem, God can fix it. You may feel like you are at the end of your rope and nothing else will work, but I challenge you to pray and read 1 Corinthians 13. Ask yourself if the traits of God’s love are evident in your actions. Pray that both you and your spouse learn to exercise God’s love in your marriage. Remember God’s love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8).
There are so many scriptures and principles that can be used as a blueprint for a happy, healthy and Christ-centered marriage. Let’s be honest, we can all use a little tune-up sometimes. I encourage you and your spouse to read the scriptures discussed to find out what areas of your marriage can be strengthened.
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