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How to Make Your Home a Marriage Sanctuary

  • Jennifer Waddle
How to Make Your Home a Marriage Sanctuary

For many married couples in today’s culture, and even in the church, the words marriage and sanctuary do not go hand in hand. After all, the term sanctuary is described as a place of refuge, retreat, and security. Sadly, many marriages do not fit this profile, nor do they foster a sense of sanctuary in their homes.

But don’t be discouraged. You can turn the tide of today’s culture and not only revitalize your marriage into a thriving, healthy state, but also make your home a place of retreat. 

Here are six ways you can turn your home into a beautiful marriage sanctuary.

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1. Make it a sanctuary of safety.

1. Make it a sanctuary of safety.

How awful to think that after a long day at work, many couples dread going home. Unresolved tensions, frequent quarrels, and unforgiveness can easily turn homes into unsafe, unwelcome places. 

In the first few verses of Isaiah 32, the Bible describes a king reigning in righteousness and princes ruling in justice. Those verses are followed by a beautiful description of the safe haven that is provided under their faithful leadership.

“Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.”

What if our homes became like that beautiful description? A sanctuary of safety would be cultivated by creating a shelter from life’s storms, a hiding place from the wind, and shade for our weariness.

If your home is a place you’d rather avoid, due to unsettled tensions, make every effort to turn it into a safe haven of peace and rest for your marriage. Here are a few practical ideas to make that happen:

  • Don’t go to bed angry. “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath…” (Ephesians 4:26)
     
  • Be honest without being hurtful. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.” (Proverbs 15:1-2)
     
  • Receive your spouse warmly. “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:1-3)

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2. Make it a sanctuary of listening.

2. Make it a sanctuary of listening.

In the marriage relationship, there is usually a listener and a talker. I, for one, am usually the talker. After all, communication is one of my God-given strengths. However, I’ve learned that listening is crucial to the health of my relationships, not only with God but with my husband as well.

When our spouses feel unheard, the lines of communication quickly shut down. Walls of indifference are built and fences of resentment go up. However, there are ways to be intentional in our listening.

  • Ask thought-provoking questions.
  • Listen without judgment.
  • Carve out daily time to connect. 
  • Truly value what the other has to say. 
  • Let the other person “vent” about their day.

Listening well can make all the difference in creating strong communication in your marriage. By making your home a place where everyone is heard, you will create a welcoming environment that fuels healthy conversation and closer relationships.

A good reminder for us comes from James 1:19: “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

Let’s build a marriage sanctuary of listening by becoming quicker to hear and slower to speak. It may be the start of a deeper, more fulfilling relationship with your spouse.

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3. Make it a sanctuary of giving.

3. Make it a sanctuary of giving.

If the thought of giving even more of your time, effort, or attention feels burdensome to you, you’re not alone. Especially in our busy hurried lives, adding one more thing to the to-do list can be frustrating at best. 

But what if we began to value and prioritize our marriages in ways that actually reinforced a heart of giving? In my book Prioritize Your Life and Get All Your Ducks in a Row, I share this: “Underneath the imprint of God, our marriages come first—above ourselves, above the children and above others. The culture tells us differently, but our God tells us truthfully.”

In order to make our homes marriage sanctuaries, we must give priority to our spouses. It might be as simple as making their lunch for them, having a hot meal waiting at the end of the day, allowing them some personal downtime in the evening, or engaging in romance even when we’d rather not. Once we look for ways to give, our spouses will take notice. And I’ll venture to say that they will begin to give back.

“So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:1-4 ESV)

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/David Sacks

4. Make it a sanctuary of thanksgiving.

4. Make it a sanctuary of thanksgiving.

When was the last time you thanked God for your spouse? Are you in the habit of thanking the Lord for your marriage? What a treasure of blessing we forsake when we neglect to be thankful. And, what a wealth of joy we can have when we make it a regular practice to thank God for our marriage.

Here are a few ways to make your home a sanctuary of thanksgiving:

  • Write love notes.
  • Appreciate the small things.
  • Pray with and over your spouse.
  • List a dozen things you are thankful for regarding your marriage.

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9:1-2)

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5. Make it a sanctuary of space.

5. Make it a sanctuary of space.

If the thought of “me time” seems like a long-lost dream, consider carving out time where you allow a bit of healthy space in your marriage. If you are an introvert by nature, you know how valuable it is to have time to rest, think, pray, and just be alone. But even if you’re not an introvert, having the space to wind down at the end of the day is instrumental to your health and wellbeing. Give grace and space to one another in small, healthy chunks. Then, when you do come together, you will be much more relaxed and unstressed.

Communication is key in this sanctuary of space. If one spouse takes advantage of the me time while the other is constantly carrying the burdens of the household, it won’t be a sanctuary at all. It has to be a mutual decision. Sit down together and plan times for healthy space to be alone, refuel, and refresh.

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him.” (Psalm 62:5)

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6. Make it a sanctuary of invitation.

6. Make it a sanctuary of invitation.

Without getting too personal in this article, I would like to mention the importance of invitation within the marriage union. Intimately, couples are strongest when they first invite the Lord into their relationship, and then display an openness with one another. A lack of openness and invitation can easily lead to feelings of rejection, which can lead to painful consequences if left unresolved. 

Let’s pray for a willingness to yield to one another in love, casting aside our own agendas in favor of our spouse’s needs or wants. Let’s develop a healthy sense of give and take, hopefully resulting in a sanctuary of loving invitation.

“With great delight I sat in his shadow, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” (Song of Solomon 2:3-4)

No matter the current temperature of your marriage dynamic, you can make your home a sanctuary. To promote a sense of refuge and security in your marriage, choose one of the above areas and begin to create a home that is a beautiful haven. It may be one of the most important things you could do for your marriage and your home.

Jennifer Waddle considers herself a Kansas girl, married to a Colorado hunk, with a heart to encourage women everywhere. She is the author of several books, including Prayer WORRIER: Turning Every Worry into Powerful Prayer, and is a regular contributor for LifeWay, Crosswalk, and Abide. Jennifer’s online ministry is EncouragementMama.com, where you can find her books and sign up for her Encourage Letter, “Discouragement Doesn’t Win.” She resides with her family near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains—her favorite place on earth. 

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/GeorgeRudy





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