A strong marriage is founded upon Jesus Christ. Both spouses need be spiritually healthy. One spouse alone cannot be strong enough for both (2 Corinthians 6:14). Marriage will not be a cure for either spouse’s life struggles, and each person brings into the marriage relationship the same baggage they carried as singles.
Don’t Marry Someone Who Is Not Married Well to Christ
To prepare well for marriage, focus fully on pursuing God. Have you committed fully to serving the Lord, removing anything or anyone that interferes or diminishes your relationship with him? Your relationship with Christ should have the best qualities of a good marriage: commitment and faithfulness.
Select a person who is already compatible with you, not someone who has the ‘potential’ to be the right person for you. Many women choose a man they intend to change into the right man and then later, after marriage, find he never changes. Many men choose a woman, expecting that woman to not ever change her appearance or attitude, yet, she does. Choose the person for who they are, not what you hope they will become or think you can mold them into.
Participate in premarital counseling. Use this counseling to confirm that your decision to marry is wise and godly. A broken engagement is painful, but a broken marriage is devastating.
Educate yourself. Continually study so you understand God’s purpose for marriage. Learn the biblical principles and standards for marriage so you can implement them into your marriage.
Evaluate yourself. Honestly assess your marriage readiness. Evaluate how ready your partner is. The key is an honest assessment based on God’s ways, not on human attraction and desires.
Marry well. Determine to have your marriage reflect God’s glory in your marriage. Be married before God’s people, your church, and have them involved in growing and maturing your marriage. Treat your marriage like a journey. It is not over after the wedding ceremony, it is just beginning. Seek ways God would be honored in your marriage.
The Goal of Marriage Is Oneness
Oneness is a lifelong pursuit in a successful marriage. It won’t be attained instantly, but it could be lost instantly.
Chase the foxes. Be diligent in guarding your marriage. People and circumstances that threaten your marriage can appear at any time, like foxes in a garden. It is critical that you practice a daily conscious effort to grow in your pursuit of God and your pursuit of a godly marriage one oneness in Christ.
Avoiding conflict is the number one predictor of divorce. Within a successful marriage, the husband and wife do not avoid conflict. Rather, they learn how to resolve conflict together.
A solid practice is to connect before every meal to be sure there is no unresolved conflict. In the practice of communion, every believer is encouraged to search their hearts and ensure there are no unresolved conflicts between themselves and God or with other people. By implementing this same practice daily with your spouse, you will find you are daily strengthening your marriage.
Devote yourself daily to Christ. You cannot love or devote yourself to your spouse as the Bible teaches without a personal commitment to Christ. Daily, Christ will teach and lead you into a successful, godly marriage.
Pursue community. Surround yourself with people who are pursuing a deeper relationship with Christ. They will encourage, support, teach, and mentor you in the practices of a better godly marriage.
Live authentically. Learn to openly and honestly communicate with your spouse. The goal is to share your struggles. This will be difficult at first because it also involves being vulnerable, but if both work at it together, your marriage will be enriched.
Admonish faithfully. Never should sin be condoned. A spouse should never condemn or judge, nor should they hold back acknowledging sin as sin. To admonish faithfully involves a demonstration of God’s love and a commitment to make pleasing and living for God the highest priority. When sin happens, the goal should be reconciliation.
Counsel each other biblically. Avoid personal opinions that are judgmental. Base all your counseling for or towards each other on the Word of God.
As life progresses, distractions and events will challenge your marriage and the practices and habits you develop to keep it strong. The solution is to remain diligent in your marriage. If you find that you have lost your diligence, then work to reclaim and reinstate the things that will restore your marriage to a place that honors God. Look first to your own life and your personal relationship with Christ as the starting point of a strong marriage.
Written content on this topic by David Bassett.