Every Christian who is considering marriage – for that matter, even non-Christians who are considering marriage – should want a marriage that is strong and stable. A quick look at the lives of our friends and neighbors, and especially at the lives of celebrities, reveals that too many marriages end up “on the rocks”. When that happens people get hurt. Spouses get hurt. Children get hurt. Extended families get hurt. The emotional damage, and the financial damage can be astronomical. So – even if you have no spiritual inclinations, you should want to avoid a shattered marriage.
The Lord Jesus used the example of constructing a building to illustrate the importance of sound foundations.Let’s take a quick look at Matthew 7:24-27 (The Good News Bible)
“So then, anyone who hears these words of mine and obeys them is like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, and the wind blew hard against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on rock. But anyone who hears these words of mine and does not obey them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded over, the wind blew hard against that house, and it fell. And what a terrible fall that was!”
Whether you are constructing a home, a barn, or a huge “skyscraper”, the principle is valid – every solid building begins with a firm foundation. Building a solid marriage is much like building a house – it’s crucial that it be built on something which will stand the storms and the test of time. You can find no better foundation for a solid marriage than God’s Word. Take your cues from the inspired scriptures, and you won’t go wrong.
Of course, before we go looking for a partner, we should be certain that we understand the meaning of marriage. For that, we need to go all of the way back to the Garden of Eden. The Bible reports that God custom made woman for man. Right after telling how God first brought Eve to Adam, Genesis 2:24 comments, “This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.”
We see here that it is His intent that we mate for life, because if you are “one flesh”, you are inseparable. Just as you wouldn’t consider lopping of a hand and telling it to “have a nice life”, so we shouldn’t enter marriage with any less commitment than that which we have to our own bodies. Marriage, God’s way, is intended to be “until death us do part”.
Our society has devolved to the point that trial marriage and even casual “recreational sex” are viewed as normal. Even many professing Christians have fallen into this trap. Such “recreation” leads to emotional and physical bonds between people who have little in common. These errors pretty much guarantee that any resulting marriage will not survive.
When Jesus told His disciples that God doesn’t approve of divorce, their response was, “If this is the case of a husband with a wife, it is better not to marry!” Do you agree with them? The truth is that God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” – that is why He invented marriage – but marriage is only good when it’s a good marriage! So how can we build a strong marriage?
A good starting point for any Christian is found in 2 Corinthians 6:14 (World English Bible)
“Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?”
In order to obey this scripture, we must avoid “falling in love” with someone who won’t make a good spouse. This means that a Christian should not have even one date with any person whom he/she would not be willing to marry! Yes, you read that right! Put your brain in gear before “chemistry” becomes involved, and avoid the temptation to “bond” with someone with whom you are not fully compatible. No detail of life is more crucial to compatibility than that of shared faith. If you ignore this advice, you do so at your own peril – and the peril of everyone whom you love, or ever will love!
Men, God’s instruction to you is that you love your wife as much as you love your own body – that you should be willing to give up your life for her. (See Ephesians 5:25, Colossians 3:19)
Ladies, do you love him – and does he love you – enough for you to entrust your life to his care? Feminist views notwithstanding, there are times (advanced pregnancy, for example) when your situation will literally be that critical. Be sure that you have chosen a spouse who shares your values, and who is worthy of your trust.
The standard of secular society is, “we’ll give it a try, and if it doesn’t work out, we can divorce and try again.” It’s not actually that simple, though. Separating that “one flesh” bond is actually a lot like an amputation – and nobody wants an amputation unless something is SERIOUSLY wrong! Folks who suffer any amputation are marked for life.
There is much more to be said on this topic, but we’re running out of room and time. We’ll need to revisit the subject on another occasion. For more on the topic of marriage and divorce, though, we invite you to visit our companion article, “Is It OK for Christians to Divorce?”
3 thoughts on “Building a Strong Marriage”
Johnathan, very good. I like that you have started at the foundation. My wife and I run a marriage enriching course for our Church. We have mature Christians, who have been married for a few years, yet we often need to go back to basics.
Hope you extend this to other areas of marriage.