The internet is full of guidelines and tips on how to have a successful marriage, but some of this advice isn’t practical (and can even be considered questionable) from a Christian point of view. Here are a few principles that Christian couples can safely implement to lay the foundations of their marriage:
- Read the Bible together. Most parents will tell you that finding time for daily Bible study with the kids can be a big ask. If you have young children at home, then you probably already try to make time to read the Bible with them each evening. Set aside time for you and your husband to do Bible study together once a week. Take one Bible to church so that the two of you can read together. By reading together and discussing what you read afterwards, you will be able to stay connected with each other and God.
- Eat together at the table. Trying to get everyone at home at dinnertime can be a challenge in itself, but whenever possible, unplug the television and get everyone eating around the dinner table together. This will help you stay in touch with each other’s day-to-day lives and broach deeper, family-related topics.
- Keep your marriage problems to yourself. Don’t discuss any marriage related problems with anyone besides your therapist. Many women think it’s okay to gossip to their hairdressers about their husbands, or vent a bit to their girlfriends during a lunch, but remember that these people also have husbands and friends (and juicy stories travel). You will probably forgive your husband for whatever transgression you were discussing, but your girlfriends will remember and that type of negativity can linger.
- Pray with your partner. Some partners find this easier than others. If your partner isn’t comfortable praying out loud in front of you, offer to do the praying. Not only does this bring you and your marriage closer to God, but it also increases the intimacy that you and your partner will experience.
- Choose your friends wisely. Stay close to friends who have the same outlook on marriage and faith as the two of you. Friends who have different opinions about marriage and faith can have a negative impact on your relationship and your relationship with God.
- Take divorce off the table. Divorce isn’t an option. While there are certain instances where divorce is the only option (God never intended for you to be ruined by a partner), remember that you made a promise to your partner in front of God to stay together. If you are experiencing financial hardships, infidelity, or any type of crisis, the two of you – together with God – have the power to overcome the challenge.
- Have daily contact. In today’s fast paced life, it’s very easy to become disconnected from your partner. Make a point of booking weekends away, spending time together during the week, and creating enough communication touch-points throughout the day. Also make time for sex, even if it looks like something that never really fits into your weekly schedules. Don’t let any gap between you and your partner continue to grow.
- Never go to bed mad. Sometimes you’re still raging by the time bedtime rolls around and you reckon it would be wiser to have a glass of wine and go to bed early. Some relationship experts say that it’s often wiser to sleep on an issue that’s causing conflict, as you will feel fresher and perhaps be able to look at the situation from a different perspective the next morning. If at all possible though, try to avoid going to bed mad or announce a ‘timeout’ in love (Ephesians 4:26).
- Mentor a younger couple. You may think that you and your partner aren’t experts in marriage and that you continue to make mistakes as a couple, so how on earth could you mentor a younger couple? The truth is that you are exactly the type of couple that should be guiding other, younger Christian couples. No marriage is perfect and helping other couples in a discrete, safe and trusting environment can greatly enhance and benefit your own marriage, too.
- Discuss the division of tasks in your relationship. While some couples effortlessly fall into comfortable routines regarding household tasks, many others experience some sort of challenge about the division of tasks within their relationships. Discuss what each of your expectations are and how you can find a mutually satisfying middle ground.
These are only a few of the principles that Christian couples can use to lay the foundations of their marriage, but there are so many more. Focus on these 10 principles and you’ve got the hard work taken care of.