Marriage Unity

Marriage Unity

Marriage unity is desired by every newly married couple. Sometimes a few months or years later, a couple discovers they are not in as much agreement as when they were first married.

A married couple told me this story. I will call him Brad and her Sally. The decision to yield their lives to the Lord was postponed again and again because, to them, becoming a Christian meant giving up a lifestyle that gave them much satisfaction. They believed that life would be dull, uninteresting, and frustrating without these pleasures.

Gradually, the way of life that they were clinging to was becoming more and more burdensome. They wandered into a church one Sunday and responded to the pastor’s invitation to ask the Lord to come into their lives. Then they decided to explore the Bible for direction into a fulfilling life. They found some strange sayings. As they put them into practice, they experienced joyful contentment that made the old way of life drab in comparison. There was nothing to give up. There was a far better life to take up.

The first principle that caught their attention was Jesus teaching His disciples:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:45

They thought that the ultimate in Christian living is to be served. Their idea of first-class living was taking a vacation at a resort where everything was done for them.

As Sally thought more about this verse, she had to face some truths. She was becoming more and more aware of Brad’s tendency to look out for himself and ignore her needs in their marriage. He was coming to the same conclusion about her. They were beginning to nurse a growing and unspoken grudge against each other. For example, when she came home after grocery shopping, he used to come to the car to greet her and carry the groceries into the house. Gradually, his greeting shifted was delayed to when she came into the house. It seemed to her that he then reluctantly went out to bring in the groceries.

To move from avoiding being helpful to being willing to help each other has[Continue Reading]

The Beginning of Marriage

The Beginning of Marriage

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Philippians 2:3

“I want to be a better partner.” You say this, thinking back over a multitude of incidents that make up the history of your family. Some of them were funny when they happened; others are funny only as we look back on them. Still others were gravely serious. Some were puzzling.

There are months on end when husband and wife get along beautifully; and then, out of the clear blue sky, there are frequent disagreements. Then, just as mysteriously, things clear up.

This is the ebb and flow, the fascination, the never-ending variety, the multitude of moods that make up family living. How can we do our part better?

Seldom, if ever, do the circumstances of living together transform the two people of a marriage into an ever-loving, ever-agreeable, happy pair–fairy tales, popular love songs, and a gamble of fate notwithstanding.

A happy marriage involves a much greater challenge than simply finding a partner with whom you live happily ever after. It is more than some strange chemistry that draws and holds you together forever. Soon after the wedding day, you realize that marriage is a test of your character.

A happy marriage does not depend on perfectly matched partners. It is a lifetime process dependent on many choices made by two free individuals who deliberately choose the same harness and who continuously sacrifice personal freedom and self-interest for a mutually agreeable way of life.

Everyone has at least a few good points–ability, talent, a unique kind of charm, interesting mannerisms, or pleasing ways. Put two people together, and before long irritations, conflicts, or differences of opinion arise in spite of the assets. But why is this so? How would you counsel a person who asks you why we have these kinds of conflicts? (read more in the book, Marriage God’s Way)

Maintaining Good Communication in Marriage

Maintaining Good Communication in Marriage

The secret of good communication in marriage lies in two people applying the principle embodied in this verse:

And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.

Luke 6:31

Here is a workable formula. And amazingly, it is easier to carry out than to try to figure out the other person and treat him accordingly.

Scott and Ann found this out. Like practically everyone, each longed to be appreciated and have their viewpoint respected. They discovered that the rule Jesus gave is just as effective today as when He spoke it.

Scott sought counsel because he was puzzled over his unhappy marriage. He and Ann, his wife, never exchanged harsh words. He kept his complaints against her to himself. He had looked at her personality and her idiosyncrasies from all angles and tried to do what would bring a balance between them. They never argued. But with all their efforts at adjustment, there was little happiness. Their approach did not work because they simply could not figure each other out. Adjustments based on this faulty approach were bound to fail. To do unto others as you would have them do to you is the opposite of trying to figure each other out.

What is it that you would like others to do unto you?

• adjust to your likes and dislikes

• express appreciation for favors done

• praise you for your achievements

• forgive you for your failures

• pay attention when you talk

• not hold you accountable for your behavior

• let you set your own rules

• provide money to spend as you wish

• tell you the truth

• maintain a neat house

Such a list requires some serious self-examination. Perhaps you should eliminate some of them or add some others. As you put your desires into practice, you will discover some of them are not really in your best interest. Your list will keep changing.

When you have completed your list, then do just that toward others. When Scott and Ann proceeded on the basis of doing to the other what each wanted done to themselves, their frustrations disappeared and they found a happy life together. Try it.

Such an attitude puts a high premium on communication in marriage. The term is used in preference to “talking,” for people can do much talking and still live in a state of almost complete mental isolation. Communication means to overcome the desire to conceal feelings and thoughts and rise to the level of talking about money, fears, wishes, motivations, sexual feelings and responses, mistakes made, resentments, and misunderstandings with the intent to resolve them.

Attitude

In writing to the Corinthians, Paul says,

For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

2 Corinthians 1:12

Husband and wife ought to approach each other in like manner–out of a good conscience, in simplicity[Continue Reading]

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