6 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage

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In this month’s series, Cheating: Breaking the Rules, we’re learning how we can step out in faith away from the faulty system of rules set up by society and break those rules to follow GOD.  Here are 6 ways that we can go against the flow of today’s culture and strength marriages by pursuing one another and trusting GOD.  

1. Hurry Home

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.” (Isaiah 53:6, NIV)

How many times have you been out to eat and seen a couple or family at dinner and each individual’s face is aglow from the backlit screen in front of them?  With so many distractions and so many different activities and products seeking our attention, it has become increasingly easier for families and couples to be isolated and distant from one another.  Society has trained us to each go our own way and do our own thing, which keeps us from experiencing the deep and meaningful relationships we were designed for all along.   

Instead, hurry home.  Make time to be with your spouse and with your family.  You certainly won’t simply find the time if you aren’t actively seeking it out and making it a priority.  An investment of time and attention is one of the most beneficial ways to make your marriage stronger.  

2. Cultivate Communication

“A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing” (Proverbs 13:7, NIV)

Communication is one of the most fundamental aspects of a relationship, but that doesn’t mean it can be taken for granted.  In the society we live in, communication must be intentionally cultivated.  Often times, we hold back or don’t communicate our deepest dreams or concerns out of a fear of rejection.  Therefore, we must create and maintain safe environments so that we can be vulnerable and honest in relation to one another.  Only then can we start to truly get to know one another more closely.  As the proverb suggests, communication, when consciously cultivated, can bring healing and strengthen a marriage as each spouse learns more about their partner, and themselves as well.  

3.  Nourish Romance

“Rejoice in the wife of your youth… may you ever be captivated by her love.” (Proverbs 5:18-19)

Pursue your spouse like you did when you were dating.  This idea is by no means new advice, but it bears repeating, for it has the power to renew a marriage that feels mundane and can provide a spark where the embers may have dwindled a bit.  It could be as easy and getting a baby-sitter and going on a consistent date night, or maybe planning a special weekend getaway.  If this doesn’t come naturally or feels forced, start small.  Even just a little post-it note reminder of what you love about your spouse can be a great way to nourish your romance.  The important thing is to constantly remind your spouse that you’re crazy about them and captivated by their love.  

4.  Celebrate Differences

“If a house is divided against itself, the house cannot stand.” (Mark 3:25, NIV)

Believe it or not, your spouse was not created to agree with you on everything.  Even though you are now of “one flesh,” you were both still raised in different families with potentially different values, customs, and world views.  Balancing and reconciling these differences is one of the most sanctifying aspects of marriage, as each individual learns how to mutually submit to one another out of selfless love.  Instead of holding differences against your spouse, celebrate the areas in which you are uniquely blessed.  GOD intended for those differences to work together to be a blessing in the marriage and to those around you.  Embrace the attributes that make each of you special and find ways to gracefully meet in the middle when it comes to differences of opinions.  Celebrating differences can be a radical and powerful way to strengthen your marriage.  

5.  Finish Together

“So be on your guard, and do not unfaithful to the wife of your youth.  ‘The man who hates and divorces his wife,’ says the LORD, the GOD of Israel, ‘does violence to the one he should protect,’ says the LORD Almighty.  So be on your guard, and do no be unfaithful.” (Malachi 2:16)

Take divorce off the table, if it’s there.  GOD’s love is a fierce and unending love, and we are called to reflect and represent such abiding and unchanging love in this world.  Honor the vows you made at the beginning of your marriage.  Not only will refusing to consider divorce strengthen your relationship, your arguments will go smoother as well, because you both will know it won’t lead to someone walking out.  As the message paraphrases this verse, GOD hates the “violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.”  Even if divorce has never been an option in your marriage, make it a priority to remain faithful and finish together by pursuing and trusting GOD together.   

6.  Trust God

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)

In some ways, the five ideas above all boil down into this one over-arching way to strengthen a marriage.  In the end, if we don’t trust GOD, we’re going to follow our own way or the example that society has set for us, rather than the path GOD has ordained.  Furthermore, if we aren’t trusting GOD individually, it will become incredibly difficult to trust Him in marriage.  If we submit to GOD, and seek Him in all that we do, however, we’re promised that he will guide us and make our “paths straight.”  By trusting GOD, we can cheat on society and break out of the faulty system rules our culture has set before us, which in turn will strengthen marriages, deepen relationships, and unite families.  

  

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