Whew! It’s been almost a week since I blogged. What a week it’s been. My husband’s birthday was Monday and our anniversary was yesterday. That would be our 32nd anniversary. I am so blessed to be married so many years. I am even more blessed to be in what is probably the best marriage I’ve ever seen. I say blessed because neither my husband or I had examples of good marriages around us as we were growing up. We give all the credit for our great marriage to God and a very few couples we’ve known over the year.

I’d like to honor just one of them here – Phil’s Uncle Earl and Aunt MaryLou. We moved to California the day after we got married and were blessed to have Earl & Lou already living out there. Without intending to do so, they “parented us” in our early years of adulthood and marriage. Their marriage was an illustration to us of what a good marriage could be. Uncle Earl went on to be with the Lord on June 30th. Although we’ve lived thousands of miles apart for the past 27 years, will will miss him. Please pray for his wife MaryLou and his son and daughter.

A few months ago, a new friend asked what we did that made our marriage work. I thought about it for a week or so before I answered because I considered it an important question and didn’t want to give a glib answer. And I’ve thought about it a bit more since then. Let me share a few thoughts with you.

1. Always serve God and His purposes.

I don’t mean always be busy with God things. I mean have the attitude that you are serving God in all you do. This helps to frame the petty things that happen. Jonathan Edwards, one of the primary great preachers/evangelists of what is referred to as the Great Awakening, had a list of “resolutions.” One of them was to “never do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.” One of the things this resolution did was help him view circumstances of his days and life from an eternal perspective. It was his way of keeping focused on purpose and letting go of the everyday “stuff.” My concept is the same, but I prefer to frame it as always serving God and His purposes.

2. Always know that God is working in you to make you a better person than you are right now.

You will have minor and major disagreements with your spouse. Pause. Take a breath. Maybe even a walk. Ask God “What’s going on here? What are you working on in me?” You can ask “what are you working on in my spouse” – but only so you can pray about it. Let God point it out to them (at least most of the time).

3. Always appreciate your husband or wife – who he/she is and what he/she does.

Even the routine things. Perhaps especially the routine things. Yes, it’s “his job” to take out the garbage. I try to sincerely thank him every time he does it. That’s called being kind. Do it every day. Multiple times a day. It’ll change the atmosphere in your home and in your marriage.

4. Always appreciate the gifts God has put into your husband or wife.

It’s highly likely those gifts are the exact opposite of yours. That means that your approach to most situations is quite different than your spouse’s. Guess what: Your way is not the right way. So give your spouse some “breathing room” to do things his or her way. To do otherwise disrespects not only your spouse but the gifts God has put into him or her. Be sure to let him or her know how much you appreciate what God has put into them (i.e., tell them so).

5. Make time for rest and fun regularly. (The Sabbath provides an excellent opportunity for this.)

It doesn’t have to be expensive fun, and it doesn’t have to be over-the-top fun. But there must be leisure and enjoyment, along with those times of over-the-top fun. Life will give you lots of headaches. Don’t let your spouse become associated with the headaches in lieu of being associated with the fun. Hold hands like you did when you were dating. Sneak a kiss when he or she doesn’t expect it like you did when you were dating.

6. Let your husband or wife make mistakes and love them all the more.

That’s when they need love the most. Never rub their nose in their failure. Never hold it over them. Laugh over it with them (when they’re able to laugh at it). Help them change their perspective from being a failure to having made a mistake. And pray for God’s grace for them.

7. Always be careful of the tone of your voice.

When things come out more harshly than you anticipated or intended, apologize. Right away. When you say something and see your spouse shrink in front of your eyes, apologize. Right away.

8. Love your spouse.

Always. But that was my last blog. Check it out here.

I didn’t intend to write two blogs in a row on love. I guess someone needs to read it. Have I covered all it takes for a happy marriage? Absolutely not. I haven’t even mentioned reading God’s Word or praying together. Start there and add these things and I am confident that your marriage will be better than you hoped it could be.

I actually sat down to blog on 1 Corinthians 15:58! That will have to wait until next week because tomorrow’s blog will be the next RARE schedule.

If you are married, I pray that you will take to heart these lessons and those of 1 Corinthians 13. I pray that God will blossom your spouse, helping them grow into the man or woman He intends for them to be. I pray that you will be blessed beyond imagination as your watch your spouse grow in love and grace and the goodness of God. I pray that through this, God will grow in you qualities of hope and faith and trust as you become more like Christ.

One Response to “8 Steps to a Great Marriage”
  1. Pastor Larry Klaiber says:

    Wonderful insight! Happy anniversary, Phil & Sandy!

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