• Work together, not separately. Don't follow the world's default plan of husbands and wives living in separate spheres. Instead, share your responsibilities, with both of you helping to provide for the family and nurture any children God gives you. Contribute equally and hold each other accountable.

• Be open and honest with others. Don't try to hide your marital challenges from other people or pretend like your marriage is perfect. Understand that every marriage has its share of difficulties, and the only way you can influence others for good is by admitting that your marriage has flaws and showing how God is using your challenges to help you and your spouse grow.

Adapted from Marriage Made in Eden: A Pre-Modern Perspective for a Post-Christian World, copyright 2004 by Alice P. Mathews and M. Gay Hubbard. Published by Baker Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.bakerpublishinggroup.com.

Alice P. Mathews is Lois W. Bennett Distinguished Associate Professor of Educational Ministries and Women's Ministries at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

M. Gay Hubbard has more than 30 years of experience as a Christian counselor. She currently is in private practice with Christian Counseling Associates in Osbourne, Kansas.