Marriage and Christ's Bride
Our culture minimizes the importance of marriage now more than ever. As Christian parents we have the opportunity to teach our kids about God through our marriage relationship.
Christ loves the church like Men are meant to love their wives.
I am not a marriage expert by any means. But I do have a very happy, beautiful marriage and our marriage is Christ centred which has made all the difference in the world to our success.
This does not mean we haven’t had our ups and downs but we have always worked through them with our eyes focused on Christ. And the older we get the more we realize how important it is.
It is so easy to take your spouse for granted. To get caught up in the mundane daily tasks of life and forget to show appreciation. It’s easy to hold resentment and not communicate.
But nnet to your relationship with the Lord, your relationship with your spouse is the most important.
My husband loves me so well and I like to think I love him so well But this hasn’t always been the case.
There has been times where other things were more of a priority, where selfish and sinful desires interfered in our marriage. But the more we choose Christ individually and together the closer we have grown, and the more in love with each other we are despite our “beauty and physical attraction” of our younger years starting to fade.
We get complimented on our marriage often and people will say they don’t how we can do things like foster parent or move to a third world country to become missionaries…. well we can only do those hard things and get through the stress of them by the grace of God.
So here is my practical marriage advice for you as we celebrate 17 years together and 12 years married.
Be Honest with Each Other
Be honest, even if it hurts. Dishonesty in a marriage is one of the hardest things to overcome. Dishonesty breeds mistrust and mistrust, breeds resentment, anger, and separation.
Even though conversations may be difficult being open and honest with each other builds trust and trust builds a deeper love. You are married you have the right to hold the other person accountable and call them out on their BS in a loving way.
God knows our heart but it is up to you to be accountable to your spouse. Deceit and lies breed in the darkness and are destroyed in the light.
I used to hide purchases in my pre minimalist days. I felt like my money was mine to spend and it caused a lot of strife in our marriage because it hindered us from big goals like the one we are living now!
I won’t get into reasons because it’s not my story to share but I didn’t trust my husband fully for several of our first years of marriage. I was always suspicious. It has been such a weight lifted to communicate, work through those things and move on and now I trust him more than anything and never worry about anything. I have full confidence in his love for me.
Love them More than you Love Yourself
There is no place for selfishness in marriage. It is always choosing him over you. But the beautiful thing is when you live this way and love this way he does the same thing. Don’t make this a competition or a reciprocal expectation. Love in a deep sacrificial way, communicate well, pray and I promise you will have a beautiful marriage.
Don't Put Your Kids Over your Relationship
The kids will be gone someday and it will be just you and him again. Don’t spend those year loving your kids so hard and forgetting how to love each other.
Date nights and intimacy need to be priorities. Even when you are tired, even you don’t want to. Find out each other’s love language and show love in that way.
Maybe sex is not what you need in this moment of momming a bunch of littles but it might be exactly what he needs to feel loved and important. Plus even if you don’t want to you have to admit you feel better after you do!
You might need more help with the housework or some time alone. Communicate that. He is much more apt to respond if his love tank is filled!
I have already hinted at this in the last two points but lack of communication is the biggest factor as to why marriages fall apart. Learning how to communicate is vital. Some women communicate very and talk and talk which can feel like nagging. Make sure it is the right place and time. Let him know you want to talk about something and make a time to chat about it instead of bombarding him with it the minute he gets home from work and is trying to unwind.
Marriage and family meetings work wonders for us. First my husband and I communicate plans and expectations for the week, then we bring the kids into the convo. This sets us up for a successful week because we know when the other is busy, what’s for dinner, who’s cooking etc. it really limits missed expectations by having that intentional weekly meeting.
The enemy is against happy Christian marriages and will do all he can to try and destroy them. But the war is already finished. We know who wins. Make sure prayer, worship, attending church or small group are a priority.
Encourage Each Other
Be his biggest cheerleader.
Job promotion? He cuts the grass regularly? The way he is with your kids? You never have to take out the trash?
Whatever it is, praise him and encourage him. We all want to be seen and known especially by our spouse so don’t neglect to cheer him on and praise him for all the things you love about him. For all the ways he helps make your life easier and better. It goes along way to keeping the spark lit.
Give Space for individual hobbies and friendships
My one caveat here and you may or may not agree is same sex friendships. I highly discourage males to have female friendships outside of your couple friendships. And vice versa. There are too many holes for temptation, miscommunication, jealousy, emotional affairs etc.
I strongly believe a man’s friends should be men and a woman’s friends should be woman.
Of course couple relationships are different but I mean no alone time with a friend of the opposite sex.
You may not agree but this is one way we safeguard or marriage by just not even allowing any sort of temptation like that in our marriage.
In saying that, I believe a man needs “guy time” to watch sports, play golf or whatever his hobbie may be. Just as women need “girls time” to talk and connect in the way women do! Or to do a exercise class or art class together.
Friendships outside of marriage are so important!
Don't Talk Negatively About your Spouse
If you need help or have major issues in your marriage you need to speak with a counsellor. Don’t drag your husbands name through the mud to a friend or even worse your mom. You need to respect your marital relationship. I fit needs work I highly recommend outside help.
It is hard to work through things and heal from something when your best friend is saying how horrible he is and he doesn’t deserve you, or you mom won’t invite him over to that week’s family dinner because of the fight you got in.
When there is trouble in our marriage and we are emotional we can tend to say things to trusted friends and family members that give them a negative view of our spouse that is hard for them to overcome because their emotions get invested. You may forgive and move on but they hold resentment. It’s best to just leave them out! I am not saying you should lie to friends if your marriage isn’t in a good spot, by all means ask for prayer and let them know you are struggling but they don’t need all the details.
Marriage Advice for Christian Couples
That’s my advice and what I have learned in the last 17 years. Do with it as you wish but I am so thankful to say, I have a vibrant, thriving Christ centred marriage and I can’t wait to love him for the rest of my life. I am so happy I get to be his wife.