Growing Better in Marriage
With committed marriages under fire and national divorce statistics soaring, it’s important to cement your relationship in the ways of the Lord. Here are five simple biblical principles to help you become a better spouse.
1. Be quick to listen and slow to speak.
Sometimes, in our marriages, all we need is an ear to listen. No advice. No debate. Just someone to listen to what’s happening in our day and be there – fully present – with us in the moment. Are you a present spouse? Take some time to really listen to what your partner has to say today. You may have a burning response, but instead of chiming in, just be there as a sounding board and a safe space for your spouse to vent and share about the details of their lives.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” (James 1:19).
2. Honor your spouse in public.
When you’re out with friends and complaining about your spouse’s annoying little habits, perhaps it is time to redirect the conversation and boast about their positive traits instead. How about the way your husband goes the extra mile to make you happy, or how your wife unselfishly takes care of the kids? Better yet, brag about your partner in their presence! Tell the world about the wonderful things your spouse does and watch them blossom.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen,” (Ephesians 4:29).
3. It’s the little things that count.
If you’re like me, you’re well beyond the honeymoon phase of big romantic gestures. It’s time to acknowledge that the small things do count. You don’t need to splurge on a limo and a bouquet of roses daily – although such grand gestures do have a place and may help you win the heart of your spouse. Small gestures of appreciation and love can also have a big impact.
Take some time to help your partner in the kitchen, cook their favorite meal, or offer to do the dishes or bathe the kids. Learn to share the load and allow the little acts of appreciation to speak out of the depths of your heart.
“The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will lack nothing of value. She will bring him good and not harm all the days of her life,” (Proverbs 31:11-12).
4. Don’t give up.
Marriage is a work in progress. It requires constant attention and hard work in order to stay committed as a team of two. Do not give up. When things seem difficult and beyond your control, present it to the Father, and present your concerns to your spouse also. Together, you form a strand of three that cannot be broken. Hold on and allow God to direct your path.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight,” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
5. Stay committed and love unconditionally.
According to a national US survey, 73% of divorced couples stated that a lack of commitment was the number one reason for their divorce. When the wedding glow loses its shine, do you walk away, or do you stay committed and remind yourself that you’ve chosen to love and accept your spouse for better or for worse? It is important to honor the vows we make.
Love is not simply a feeling or mood. In a committed marriage, love is the daily choice we make in order to honor, respect and cherish our partners.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs,” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-5).
So, What’s the Play Call?
When our love tank seems to be running empty, let’s remember those things that made us fall in love with our spouse in the first place. Let the unconditional love of God direct our hearts and keep us committed in our marriages.
About the Author
Tamsyn Cornelius is a wife and mother, as well as a writer and editor, based in her home town of Cape Town, South Africa. As a creative, she loves color, décor and crafting beautiful things with her hands. Her first love is Jesus and she takes great pride in sharing her passion for God through the written word. You can find out more about her at www.tceditorialservices.co.za.