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Monday, February 22, 2016

Biblical Advice for A Better Marriage

Genesis 2:18-25

We were made for deep relationships.  A deep relationship is a profound, caring connection of mutual support, cooperation, and trust.  Deep relationships can be with family, friends, someone we date, a spouse, or a co-worker.  However we find them, our souls yearn for deep relationships.  Today, I want to offer some biblical advice to help strengthen the deep relationship between a husband and wife.
In the beginning, God created a man named Adam as a living, breathing being to have a deep relationship with God.  God also made a woman named Eve because God wanted people to have relationships with each other.  Let’s read the story from Genesis of how God made the first woman.

Genesis 2:18-25
18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.” 19 So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. 20 He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.
21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.
23 “At last!” the man exclaimed.
“This one is bone from my bone,
    and flesh from my flesh!
She will be called ‘woman,’
    because she was taken from ‘man.’”
24 This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.
25 Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

Women and Men
God made Adam and Eve because deep human relationships are as important as a relationship with God.  Adam and Eve were so much alike.  The story says Eve was made from Adam’s own rib.  Yet Eve was also different from Adam.  She was a woman, not a man.  Even young children splashing around in a bathtub together perceive there is a very basic physical difference between boys and girls.  Then as they grow up, they perceive the differences are more than just physical appearance.  For instance, men tend to be logical and rational and women tend to just be completely crazy...  :)
Of course, I jest, but jokes like these are funny because of the deep differences we perceive in the way men and women tend to think, communicate, and view life.  It almost seems as if we are from two different planets and speak different languages and have different customs.  Yet, these mysterious differences between the sexes makes for one of the most complicated and rewarding deep relationships known to humanity.
It’s important to remember that the differences between the sexes was designed by God.  So when you get frustrated that your spouse thinks or acts so differently from you, take a moment to relax and remember God made them that way for a reason.  Ultimately, you need them to be different and their differences enrich your life.  Yet it also means you have to be patient and be diligent to build a deep relationship with your spouse. 

Biblical Advice about Marriage
            The best very place to get marital advice is from the God who designed the human heart and created the institution of marriage.  Here are four passages from the Bible about marriage I think will help improve your marriage. 

Matthew 19:6 – "Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” 
These words, spoken by Jesus, remind us that God unites husband and wife as one in marriage.  It is a deep and mysterious union meant to last a lifetime.  Therefore, when it comes to your spouse, keep a lifelong perspective about everything.  As you are choosing a spouse, understand that you will be with this person for the rest of your life.  As you argue with your spouse, remember you will be with them for the rest of your life.  As you make decisions about your friends, your career, your children, your church, remember you will be with your spouse for the rest of your life.  Always have an attitude of life-long commitment in your marriage.  Avoid people, situations, or attitudes that threaten to split apart what God has joined together.  Work hard to invest in a happy marriage, knowing you are investing in your own happy life. 

Ephesians 5:21 – "And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."
The love between a husband and wife is meant to be an illustration of the way Christ loves the Church.  Remember, Christ laid down his life in sacrifice for the Church.  That was true, sacrificial love.  And that is the kind of love we aim for in our marriage. 
Sacrifice for your spouse as service to Christ.  You won’t always feel like it, and your spouse won’t always deserve it.  Do it anyway, out of reverence for Christ.  Make your own desires secondary and put your spouse ahead of yourself.

Hebrews 13:4 – Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
Honor your spouse.  Speak well of them—to others and to them.  Point out the very best in them and look for ways to show them how much you appreciate their best qualities.
And be faithful to your spouse.  It almost goes without saying that you shouldn’t cheat on your spouse.  Few would argue with that.  But faithfulness is deeper than just sexual faithfulness.  Guard your eyes that you don’t seek enjoyment from other people in ways you should only find in your spouse.  Guard your emotions; don’t seek emotional and relational fulfillment from other people in ways you should only receive from your spouse.  Be faithful to protect, honor, and respect your spouse.  Be faithful to the life-long partnership you are building together.  Ultimately, don’t put anyone or anything above you marriage—not kids, not parents, not friends, not hobbies, not anything.  Only God has primacy over you marriage.  And the truth is, God is not really above your marriage, but an equal part in it. 

Proverbs 5:18-19 – "Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you.  Rejoice in the wife of your youth.  She is a loving deer, a graceful doe.  Let her breasts satisfy you always.  May you always be captivated by her love."
That verse is a little risque for church! But it’s from the Bible so...   Find reasons and ways to keep falling in love with your spouse.  Meditate on the ways you are attracted to them.  Remember often the qualities that initially attracted you to them. 
I once had a husband and wife come to me for marriage counseling.  The husband wanted a divorce because he said he no longer loved his wife.  He admitted he had already kissed another woman.  His wife was devastated, but she still loved her husband and they came to their pastor as a last resort.
I asked the husband what initially attracted him to his wife and what he had loved about her before he "fell out of love".  He talked about the way she had made him feel special, the way she had made him feel like her hero, and many other qualities that he had been so important to him.  Through our discussion, I helped the husband to see that his wife was the same person she had always been and he just had to remember not to take those important qualities for granted.  The couple agreed to give the marriage another try.  They both spent time intentionally loving each other and focusing on what they loved about each other and it brought real healing to their marriage.  It has been several years and I still get emails from the couple sharing how happy their marriage is now.
Remember why you fell in love and find ways to let your spouse know how deeply attracted you are to them. 

            You will struggle to have a good relationship with God if you do not have deep relationships with other people.  If you are married, work diligently to have a strong, healthy relationship with your spouse.  If you are not married, work diligently to have strong, healthy relationships with other people—friends and family.  God designed you for deep relationships with other people and you will not find satisfaction in life without them—even if you have a relationship with God.
You will also struggle to have deep relationships with your spouse or with other people if you neglect your relationship with God.  He is your creator and you will not find true satisfaction in life without a deep, personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  Yet when you submit and let Jesus be your Lord and Savior, all your other relationships will begin to fall into place.
So I encourage you today, get your heart right with Jesus and then delve deeper in your relationships with other people.

Click Here for more advice about marriage shared by other people - 62 Words of Advice About Marriage

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