8 Ingredients to a Strong, Godly Marriage
A Guest Post by: Kris Reece – Counselor, Coach, Speaker, Author
After my second marriage failed, I thought, Maybe I’m not cut out for this marriage thing. But up until that point, I hadn’t done so well in the relationship department. No man measured up to what I’d hoped he’d be and I was no closer to happiness than I was when I envisioned the man of my dreams at the age of 12.
Still, deep in my heart, I desired to enjoy life’s journey with a God-fearing man.
One day when I was talking to a friend (OK, it was more like complaining) about my ex-husband and where I was in life, he said something that changed my entire outlook on relationships. He said, “Kris, God didn’t create relationships to make you happy, they are to make you holy.”
Was it possible that all of my attempts to find happiness through my relationships were exactly what was keeping me from having the relationship I craved?
From that moment on, I was on a mission. I spent the next several years studying how to be the wife God called me to be. I took a considerable amount of time to reflect over my past relationships and discovered that God really does use relationships to shape us into the men and women he created us to be.
Most importantly, I discovered 8 key elements that make a strong Godly marriage.
- Friendship. The love, emotional intimacy, and vulnerability that develop out of a spirit of oneness is an example of Christ’s unconditional love (Amos 3:3). Friendship with your spouse brings a level of enjoyment that serves to deepen the relationship further.
- Agreeable conflict styles. Disagreements are impossible to avoid. The sign of a strong Godly marriage is not whether you argue, but how you argue. God created us with all different temperaments (and this includes different conflict styles) but if you and your spouse can disagree in an agreeable and respectful manner you will grow in strength.
- Forgiveness. Unforgiveness creates a shaky foundation for any relationship. Ask anyone who feels that their partner constantly throws their past mistakes in their face and they will say, “I just don’t feel stable.” A strong Godly marriage requires a willingness to forgive daily (sometimes hourly).
- Commitment. Love and marriage are more than just feelings. They are a covenant. Just as God is committed to always loving us, we are called to always love our spouses. When we do, we model God’s love for us. Divorce should never be a viable option just because you can’t get along.
- Guarded hearts. To have a strong Godly marriage, each partner must guard the marriage as if the life of the marriage depends on it—because it does. Avoid any potential temptations and resist acting in accordance with what the world considers acceptable behavior. If you want a strong, Godly marriage, anyone and anything that could potentially be a threat to your relationship needs to be cut out. (More on guarding your heart)
- Unity in Christ. If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand (Matthew 3:24). Your home is your kingdom and if the two of you are not standing together in Christ, there will be division or a compromise of your values and beliefs. This does not build strength.
- Emotional Health. Two broken people cannot make a whole marriage. Each partner needs to work on their own emotional development to continue to grow in the marriage. God will often use the challenging times in your marriage to show the cracks in your emotional health.
- A Servant’s Heart. Just as Christ came to serve, not to be served (Matt 20:8), we too should look first to the needs of our spouse. In doing so, we eliminate strife, striving, and selfish gain—all of which weaken the foundation of your marriage.
I’m so glad I took the journey of discovery because God blessed me with a wonderful God-fearing man. Had I looked for a shortcut, I would likely still be trying to find happiness in all the wrong places. Instead I am enjoying a strong Godly marriage and happiness.
It is true that when you follow Him, he will take care of all of your wants and needs.