Marriage is a very strong yet fragile bond. It is both wonderful and difficult. That makes it somewhat of a paradox. We enter into marriage with the intent of staying true to our vows, but eventually real life breaks in and sometimes we end up treating our friends better than our spouses. Or we show our better side to our friends more often than to our spouses.
Why is that?
How do we get to the point where we’re on our best behavior for everyone but the person with whom we pledged to spend the rest of our life?
Living creatively for Christ in the home is the acid test for any Christian man or woman. It is far easier to live an excellent life among your friends, when you are putting your best foot forward and are conscious of public opinion, than it is to live for Christ in your home.1
Living under the same roof with anyone is difficult, whether that means spouses, children, extended family or friends. Dwelling in close quarters with others means we see can easily each other’s faults. Disagreements over the smallest things can easily escalate into huge arguments. We often forget to take into account individual preferences for food, TV shows, internet usage and noise levels. Often there are introverts who must figure out a way to get along with extroverts. One person may prefer neatness while another is a slob.
There is no easy way to live with other people unless you do your utmost to be respectful and polite to each other at all times. How realistic is that? It takes way too much work. So it’s no wonder that we eventually shut down or explode at home when nerves are frayed or someone rubs us the wrong way. It is so much easier is it to show your best self in public. After all, you’re not with them 24/7, so you can afford to be more laid-back. At home, you’re in one another’s face and bound to get overly caught up in the hyper emotion of the moment.
If you’re part of a married couple, it gets even more complicated. Satan is in the business of trying to demolish the bond that holds husbands and wives together, and he will do everything possible to see that happen.
In the six thousand years since the Garden of Eden, two of Satan’s most strategic assaults have been focused on destroying the sanctity of the marriage covenant and the unity of our homes. A detailed study of God’s Word will show us that the devil is focused on ripping our families apart. Satan will use any tactic he can; he will capitalize on every advantage imaginable to disrupt the harmony in our homes. 2
How do we combat this? By setting Jesus as the head of our home and marriage.
If you look closely at the Marriage Triangle image, you’ll read: The closer a husband and wife get to Jesus, the closer they get to each other! How is this done?
- It is imperative that we each make time everyday in the Word, learning more about Jesus and how He wants us to live. This will bring us closer to Him.
- Pray daily for God to order your steps (Psalm 37:23-24), showing you how to love your spouse better. As you pray, mentally put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) and keep Him in your mind as you go about your day.
- Pray for your spouse, that God will fill him/her with the desire to want to know more about Him.
- Pray with your spouse for each other.
- Pray for yourself, that God will show you exactly how to be the spouse He wants you to be. Ask God to open your eyes to ways you can serve your spouse with much love.
- Finally, look for ways each day to uplift and treat your spouse the way you would want them to treat you. God has specific guidelines for this (Ephesians 5:22-33).
Throughout our marriage my husband has noticed a trend in my behavior. Maybe you can relate? I smile, laugh and engage with friends and family, only to jump into the car or leave with my husband and exhale how I really feel. My face scrunches up, my attitude turns cold, I sometimes snap at my husband with stern words or slump down with defeat.
My husband kindly expressed how he felt about me giving my best to others, mentioning that he wants me to be real and honest with him, but he would also love to be around the version of me that is kind, compassionate, joyful, and all the other ways I engage with others. (emphasis mine) 3
Do you remember your courtship days? Weren’t you on your finest behavior most of the time? Didn’t you want your date to think the best of you? Why should that change just because you’re married?
Beloved, let’s try to remember to show kindness and respect to the one who God has blessed us with as a mate—no matter how busy we are. Our marriages will reap untold benefits and blessings.
I would encourage you to take your spouse’s hand and either have someone read this prayer over you or read it together. Use it as a reminder and recommitment.
And if your marriage isn’t at a place where that’s possible, pray this in the quiet shrine of your heart. As our key verse, Psalm 34:15 tells us, God hears you. He knows. He loves you. He will show you the way.4
Please take the time to read the rest of this wonderful prayer here.
When couples love God first they love each other better.
Beloved, life is hard. There are too many ways our lives can get messed up and mixed up by what’s going on in the world today. Don’t dwell on the negatives. Instead, keep your eyes on Jesus and strive to put your spouse first, even though that idea goes against what we hear in the current society of “what’s in it for me?” attitudes. I have learned firsthand that not only does God bless a loving and giving attitude, but your marriage will thrive.