Surround yourselves with the right people. When choosing what kind of people to allow into your lives, consider whether or not they’re living lives that you really want to emulate, whether or not their marriages are marked by love and respect and whether or not they influence your own marriage for good. Surround yourselves with people you admire and who are committed to encouraging and supporting you and your spouse as you work to improve your marriage.

Follow God’s model of love and respect for marriage. God intends for husbands to love and nurture their wives, and for wives to treat their husbands with respect and honor. When you and your spouse do this for each other, you usher God’s blessings into your relationship. Those blessings include lifelong attraction, released potential in both of your lives, and the Holy Spirit’s work disabling your sin natures and empowering you each to grow to become more like Jesus.

Become your husband’s dream wife. Ask God to help you help meet your husband’s most important needs in marriage: feeling honored and respected, enjoying sexual intimacy, enjoying friendship by doing fun activities together, and receiving caring domestic support.

Becomes your wife’s dream husband. Ask God to help you meet your wife’s most important needs in marriage: security (physically, emotionally, and financially), affection, open and honest communication, and family leadership.

Pursue agape love. The highest form of love – agape love – is what God intends for you and your spouse to express to each other. Agape love isn’t a feeling; it’s an action that involves choosing to serve your spouse, no matter what. Agape love reflects the way that God expresses His generous, unconditional, and fully committed love you to you every day. It is dynamic, fearless, and covenantal. Ask God to teach you how to express agape love for your spouse daily.

Adapted from Lifelong Love Affair: How to Have a Passionate and Deeply Rewarding Marriage, copyright 2012 by Jimmy Evans, with Frank Martin. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerbooks.com. 

Jimmy Evans is the cofounder of Marriage Today, a TV program that airs three times weekly on the DayStar Television Network and reaches more than 100 million households in North America. In 1994 he and his wife, Karen, founded Marriage Today Ministries as a way to bring help and healing to hurting couples. They are the authors of the bestselling Marriage on the Rock, and Jimmy is also the author of several other books, including The Keys to Sexual Fulfillment and Seven Secrets of Successful Families. He and Karen are popular speakers whose conferences on marriage and family issues regularly draw huge crowds. They divide their time between Amarillo and Dallas, Texas. Find out more at www.MarriageToday.com

Frank Martin is the author or coauthor of 19 books, including Furious Pursuit and Embracing Eternity. A frequent collaborator, he has written books with such notable personalities as Nicky Cruz, Bill McCartney, Dr. O. S. Hawkins, Wally Armstrong, and Dr. Robert Schuller. He has written articles for numerous magazines, including Marriage Partnership, Discipleship Journal, and Pray! and has served for the past 15 years as a family commentary writer for Focus on the Family. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with his wife, Ruthie, and their two children. For more information, please visit www.frankmartin.net.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles, at: http://angels.about.com/. Contact Whitney at: angels.guide@about.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer. 

Publication date: August 8, 2012