How to Keep Your Marriage Strong
- Wednesday, February 13, 2002
I have a 1957 Bel Air convertible that has been beautifully restored. My wife and I were sitting in this car at a stoplight one day when a guy pulled up next to us on a Harley. He said, "I can't tell you how many of these '57s we used to put bullet holes in."
"Really?" I said.
"But this is a nice-looking one," he commented before he rode off. (He was just being friendly in a Harley-kind-of-way.) His point was that even though he once did target practice on these cars, they could be turned into something nice.
The same is true of our marriages, but it takes loving, regular maintenance. Unfortunately, many people today are cashing in their marriages. They are trading them in for new models. But it doesn't have to be this way. Our marriages should last throughout our lifetime. That's why I want to share five principles from Scripture that, if applied, will keep your marriage strong.
First, turn on the light. Light helps you to see things accurately. The Bible says, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105). You must bring your marriage into the light of Scripture. Do you believe that the Bible is the Word of God? If so, are you obeying it? The question is not how the Scripture confirms what you want to do, but how you are conforming to what the Scripture says.
Husbands, can you look at the Bible and say, "I am loving my wife as Christ loves the church"? And wives, can you look at the Bible and say, "I am submitting to my husband as unto the Lord"? These are difficult commands to obey, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't try. It is a growing process that will take a lifetime as we aim toward this high mark that God has set.
Second, wake up. Awake from spiritual lethargy, and recognize that you cannot sleepwalk through life and marriage. Wake up to the fact that as believers, we are walking through a spiritual minefield in our culture today, where there are so many explosive snares laid out for our marriages. Our culture is no friend of marriage and the family. It's a culture that is hostile to the commitment between a man and a woman.
Let me take it a step further. Satan hates the family. He will do everything in his power to destroy yours. Place a firewall around your hearts, and do everything that you can to protect yourselves.
Third, walk circumspectly. Ephesians 3:15 says, "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise." The word circumspect carries the basic meaning of accuracy or precision. It is the idea of looking at, examining, or investigating something with great care.
Walk circumspectly and recognize that good marriages don't just happen as a result of mere chance or dumb luck. They are the result of work, commitment, and attention to detail.
Fourth, redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16). The word redeem means to make the most of your time. You may be thinking that you haven't really been the husband or wife that you should be. How long will you take to figure it all out? Set your house in order. Do it now. Take advantage of the opportunities that are before you.
Fifth, be filled with the Spirit. Anyone who honestly looks at these principles to which God calls us would say they are hard to follow. That's why you need to be filled with the Spirit. You cannot be what God wants you to be without the help of His Spirit.
In its original language, the idea of being filled with the Spirit was the same idea as that of the wind filling a sail to carry a boat along. The Greek verb speaks of a continuous action. We are to be continuously filled with the Spirit.
The Bible is true, and your marriage will not only survive, but also flourish, as you follow the principles in it. The world, in contrast, is not true. If you follow its ways and get away from God's plans, it will undermine the foundation of your marriage.
Why not take a few moments right now to ask God to fill you with His Spirit and make a new commitment to strengthen your marriage?
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