Four Instructions for a Successful Marriage
Yesterday, we treated you to the first part of a wedding sermon. Today, you get the conclusion!
There are many scriptures related to the union between a man and woman, but I will just touch on two. In 1 Corinthians 7:2, it states, "…let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due goodness: and likewise also the wife unto the husband."
Ephesians 5:25-33 reads, "Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it … So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church … For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh … let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she love her husband."
In these scriptures we find four important instructions that form the bedrock of any good marriage:
1. Be good to one another (the way we treat one another)
2. Nourish each other (the way we help the other to become stronger)
3. Cherish one another (the way we value one another)
4. Love each other as you love yourself (unselfish consideration of the other)
How wonderful is the thought of a marriage grounded in these principles. To have good intentions toward one another, to strive to care for and enhance and strengthen one another, to adore and value one another, and to love with an unselfish preference for the other is "marriage perfection." You would be the happiest of all. In particular with Christ as the centerpiece, it is possible to consistently have peace in your home and joy in your hearts —forever.
Here are some practical specifics:
Be Good to One Another
This encompasses the way we treat one another. Too many times in arguments or disagreements, our human nature is to cut and wound so as to win the battle. This mantra speaks of another way. Be wary of how you talk to each other. Do not be sarcastic or snide. Use kind words always. Speak with gentleness in your tone. Be kind and remember that our good actions are like precious gifts to the other.
Nourish Each Other
This is the way we help the other become stronger. To do this, one must first be looking for and aware of the other's weakness or need. This one is tricky because our nature is to despise and take advantage of weakness. The difference in this case is that when we find it, we sympathize with it and care enough to work hard to strengthen it. Now that doesn't mean "I'm going to fix you, so just do what I say," but rather, "I'm going to do whatever it takes to make you — and by extension us — stronger and better in a way that you want and need."
Cherish One Another
This is the way we value each other. Think of the good always. Focus on your spouse's good aspects, traits, characteristics, and intentions. All of us who get married look at the other as perhaps the most perfect thing God ever created. I call this "wedding glasses." It's wonderful, and you've got them on for about three days or three months or three years. Then the cracks and smudges and nicks start to show, and you can feel disappointed or let down. This can then change your view of the other, and they are not as valuable to you anymore. With all sincerity, it is of the utmost importance that you always look at the good in the other. Don't think of them as "trying" to do wrong. Seeing the good in them will smooth out every problem, every disagreement, every ill thought and "bad" intention. It supersedes all and overcomes all. With this, you will never forget just how much you cherish them. Value one another. You are both worth something pretty special right now — and you will be then, too. Don't forget it.
Love Each Other as You Love Yourself
This is unselfish consideration of the other. What's interesting is that this starts with loving yourself. Some people are really good at loving themselves, and others not so much. Don't be either extreme. Love yourself too much, and you feel superior to the other. Love yourself too little, and you spend your life punishing your spouse with tricks designed to prove their love to give you self-worth. Get it right in your mind; You are both valuable and worthy of Christ's love for you. You dishonor His love for you by not loving yourself. Recognizing that your spouse is loved and worthy of love is just as vital. After that is settled, now comes the unselfish consideration of the other. Being unselfish is the hard part, but it begins and ends with remembering why it is that the two of you are here today and why you are making this promise. It begins and ends with why you are in love.
In summary, remember the bedrock. Remember why you love each other. Practice it. Love the Lord with all your spiritual heart, love each other with all your natural heart — for in the words of Christ, "If you know these things, happy are ye if you do them."
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.