Sometimes from the outside looking in, marriage seems like the best thing in the world. And it can be. But, if you are married you know that marriage is WORK! It is not easy! Especially during times like these where every day it seems like you hear about another divorce. So today, we are going to talk about ten ways to strengthen your Christian Marriage God’s way!
First we will look at some advice from the Bible, then we will share our favorite books & resources on the topic. (You can click any of the light blue links in this article to see more information or get the resources for yourself!)
You can also watch the video version right here:
So first off, lets just establish the fact that marriage is hard and marriage is work. Like anything in life, if you want to succeed in it, you have to invest time and dedication into it, and it is no different in marriage.
That also means if there are issues, they don’t just resolve themselves. You can’t just sweep it under the rug and hope they will go away. Because when you have two imperfect people all of a sudden becoming one and doing life together, obviously there are going to be issues. Even as Christians.
Because we all have areas in our life that God is working on in us. There are personal issues and there are relational issues that marriage can bring up. And a lot of times, God actually uses marriage as the means of exposing those issues so THAT we can work on them.
A quote from one of our favorite books on this topic is,
“What if marriage is meant to make us holy, rather than happy.”
Gods idea of marriage is using it to conform us into the image of Christ. But we have to say “yes” to the process.
So if this concept is new to you, make sure to watch this video we made, to really understand God’s purpose for marriage.
But what does the Bible say about this? Here are three tips from God’s Word that will help us in our marriages.
Tip #1: Strengthen your relationship with God.
The first thing that comes to mind is Psalm 37:4,
“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
We firstly must understand that it is not our spouses job to give us the desires of our heart and fill that void, it’s God’s! Only God can truly satisfy and so if we are not going to God and seeking our fulfillment from Him, we will constantly be trying to suck it out of our spouse.
But they were never meant for that. Marriage and our loving one another has to flow from Him and His love for us. That is why
“a three braided cord isn’t easily broken.” – Eccl. 4:12
HE has to be at the center. So find ways to strengthen your relationship with God, both separately and as a couple.
Tip #2: Serve one another in love.
The next passage in Scripture that comes to mind is Ephesians 5, where Paul is talking to husbands and wives.
First he says to ladies,
“Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord… as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.” – Ephesians 5:22-24
God has ordained husbands to be the head of our families, and when we submit to His leadership, even when he is not perfect, we are trusting and obeying God. And also, the Church serves Christ, and so when we serve our husbands in love, God sees it and it matters to Him.
Paul then talks to men,
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her.” – Ephesians 5:25
And if that’s not one of the hardest verses in the Bible, I don’t know what is. So when we lay our life down for our wife, and love her in the same way Jesus does, we are obeying God. And when we do that, it brings God into our marriage. But not only that, when our wife knows that our decisions are made so that we can best serve her and her relationship with God, it will be easier for her to submit to and trust our leadership.
This whole concept is laid our in a book we will talk more about later, called Love & Respect. God’s love for us was a sacrificial one, and so when we sacrifice for one another, we are displaying His love to one another. So wives, think of some ways you can encourage your husband in the ways He leads you to really show you respect and trust Him. And think of ways you can serve Him, to show you love and care for Him.
And husbands, take some time to pray and ask the Lord how you can best lead and serve your wife. This way she will feel taken care of and that you care about her relationship with God. Like we said, marriage is work, but it is always worth it.
Tip #3: Serve the Lord together through your marriage.
The last verse that comes to mind is
“without vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18
God created marriage as a way to put His love on display to the world and to partner with Him in His mission in the world. And He knew that sense of purpose would strengthen our bond together.
And even if you and your spouse have different careers, you can still be doing them unto a common goal for God. So take some time to dream together, pray together, and get a vision for making a difference, both in the Church and in the world through your marriage.
Now lets jump in to our favorite Christian resources you can go through together that will strengthen your Marriage.
And here is what we have done in the past! We would buy two copies, then we would read a chapter or two a week individually, and we’d come together and talk through our thoughts. So see what works for you!
Tip #4: Sacred Marriage Resources
The First one is Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. The quote we used earlier, about marriage being for holiness rather than just happiness is the whole concept of this book and how God uses marriage to make us like Him. It helps to give you God’s perspective of marriage, so when things get hard, you know there is a greater purpose. You can get this book on its own, or there is also a DVD and Workbook Study you and your spouse can go do. Theres also a daily devotional the two of you can go through together to grow in your marriage.
Tip #5: The Meaning of Marriage Resources
The second is The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller. This was one of the most recommended book for us before we got married. And like the last, you can just get the book, or get it with a DVD and workbook study as well. And again, there is a couples devotion to go with it.
Not only are these resources great for your marriage, they make great gifts to give newlyweds to start off on the right foot.
Tip #6: The Four Laws of Love / Marriage on the Rock
The next two resources are by a pastor and author we really enjoy, Jimmy Evans. He wrote the book, The Right One that we read to prepare us for marriage and we recommend it to everyone who is single, dating, or looking to get married.
But he also has The Four Laws of Love and Marriage on the Rock for when you are married. Both also have discussion guides if you like to work through it together and have discussions, or even do a small group with other couples.
Tip #7: You and Me Forever Resources
The next is You and Me Forever: Marriage in Light of Eternity by Francis Chan. And this deals with our third point of how to use your marriage for Gods purposes. It really gives you an eternal perspective, and how the two of you can be on mission for Him. You can also get it with a workbook to really write down and think of your vision as a couple.
Tip #8: The Five Love Languages Resources
And remember point two about serving one another in love? That is where this book comes in: The Five Love Languages Couples Edition. Because believe it or not, each of us has different ways that we need to feel loved by our spouse. So with this book you can take a test to see how you each can love one another best. And you can do it daily with their one year devotional.
Tip #9: Love and Respect Resources
And lastly, there is the Love and Respect Book, talking about how women need to feel loved and men need to feel respected by their spouse. This is such a popular book, so they have a workbook, a devotional, as well as lots of teachings that go along with it!
Tip #10: Christian Marriage Counseling
One last thing we want to mention is Christian Marriage Counseling, because sometimes marriages or individuals are in real need of deeper healing, especially if there has been hurt, a breaking of trust, or past issues you just can’t seem to work through.
Like we’ve said, marriage takes work and it is worth it to invest even the time, money, and energy into making your relationship whole and healthy. There is no shame in getting the help you need, and sometimes it just helps having an outside voice to speak in to your marriage.
So to see if perhaps Christian Counseling could be a benefit to strengthening your marriage, just go to faithfulcounseling.com/ronnieandmel to request more information or check out our article about it right here.
So hopefully that gives you some concepts and some resources to strengthen your marriage. During a time where everything seems harder, and it always seems easier to quit, lets FIGHT for the sanctity of marriage together.
And remember that you are not alone. Marriage has ups and it has downs, but its always a process and a journey that God uses and rewards. Keep clinging to Him and one another.
And we want to hear from you, what have you found that has strengthened your marriage? Whats been the hardest part? Let us know, down below.
As always we hope this continues to help you on your journey to find God and walk with Him and we will see you next time.
Love & Blessings,
Ronnie and Mel