PRACTICAL & BIBLICAL ADVICE FOR A HEALTHY MARRIAGE
The other day I was awakened by a phone call from a new wife and mom who was desperate for help in her marriage. As I began to minister to her, she made a comment to me that struck me as being a significant, yet, deficient need for wives all over the world. Her comment was,...
"No one has ever told me that before!"
That's when I realized the dire need for "spiritual mothers" - like myself - to share personal knowledge that, perhaps, was never offered by natural mothers; either because of their own personal failures, or, because of their lackadaisical approach to mother/daughter discussions. For this reason, I am offering this Mother in Zion Series which is dedicated to bullet point, practical tips that I pray will help wives - both young and old - to cultivate a healthy marriage that will truly make it until "death do us part."
Practical & Biblical Advice for a Healthy Marriage - by Deborah Ross
#1 - Your mate comes before your children. NEVER allow your children to come between you and your spouse. Remember, a healthy marriage makes the children happy because their confidence will be increased when they live in peace knowing that mom and dad love each other, have respect for one another, and express appropriate affection toward each other. Plus, children learn by example. As you and your spouse show forth a selfless, unconditional love that gives high priority to times of privacy, hand holding, hugging, laughter, and respect for one another, your children are learning what a healthy marriage looks like; and, they will more likely aim to have a healthy marriage - like yours - for themselves one day. Children can be very demanding and while we should aim to be great parents, we should never let our marriage suffer from the pressures of parenting.
Song of Solomon 6:3 - "I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies."
#2 - Do not get into the habit of sleeping in separate beds. It is not healthy for married couples to sleep separately. So often, I hear of parents sleeping with the children rather than sleeping with each other. In my opinion it is better to make pallets beside of mom and dad's bed occasionally (when children are fussy, afraid, or have a fever) rather than slip into the habit of sleeping in the children's bed -apart from one another.
1 Corinthians 7:5 - "Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency."
#3 - Never go to sleep angry. Husband and wife need to come to a place of peace before going to sleep. This may mean that YOU will need to apologize. You may even have to apologize for something when you feel like you are in the right. The goal is not to win, but rather to have a reasonable discussion over conflicts and then to come to some type of peaceable solution at the end of the discussion. If your mate is not being rational about coming to a peaceable climax, then simply finish with... "I love you."
Ephesians 4:26 - "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:"
#4 - Facebook, email, text, phone conversations, and on the job relationships should never be of intimate nature with the opposite sex. In other words, if you would be embarrassed for your spouse to see it or hear it... don't do it! Also, if you are carrying on a conversation that has any implication of being intimate in nature... run the other way! Many marriages end in divorce because of jealousy or even adultery simply because couples fail to adhere to sound practices concerning relationships with the opposite sex.
Proverbs 6:24 - "To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman."
#5 - You must be INTENTIONAL about your marriage. This means, you must intentionally carve out date nights, time for intimate conversations, times of selfless servant hood and sacrifice. Couples need to hold a high respect for their common goal of making it "until death do us part" with a relationship that is exciting and new... not old and worn out. Be intentional about spending quality TIME with each other. Don't let the busyness of life rob you of the precious moments with your spouse that bring lasting memories of love and laughter.
Proverbs 31:11-12 - "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life."
#6 - Time with your friends (of the same sex) is a good thing in moderation, however, too often I hear of women or men taking "vacations" with their friends - leaving their spouse behind. An occasional church retreat is OK, but an all out "vacation" at the beach, Vegas, the Bahamas, or somewhere else is not a wise idea. My grandmother always taught me, "What is good for the goose is good for the gander." If you reserve the right to go with your friends on a vacation without your spouse, then they should be able to go on one without you. Is that what you really want? I feel that vacation money and vacation time is too precious a commodity to spend away from my family. Plus, many of these "vacations away from your spouse" end up being opportunities to sin. Why throw your marriage out to the wolves. Marriage is a sacred thing and should be treated as something valuable. Let me remind you that no one ever intends to get a divorce. Divorce happens when someone in the marriage is careless in the relationship.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 - "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:"
#7 - Watch your mouth! Don't use sarcasm, degrading verbiage, slander, bad body language or negative vocal tones toward your spouse. Be intentional about complementing your spouse - especially in front of others. Get into the habit of encouraging your spouse. Never tear them down. No one has ever been motivated by negativity. If you want to see your spouse be all that they were created to be... encourage them!
Proverbs 18:21 - "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof."
# 8 - Pray together... OUT LOUD. There is something about praying together as a married couple that creates a bond like none other. It may feel awkward, at first, but start to initiate bedtime prayer with one another and watch as God causes your marriage to bloom like never before. The saying is true... "A family that prays together, stays together!"
2 Timothy 1:3 - "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day;"
#9 - Sex is a vital part of your relationship as man and wife. Women should meet the need of their husband by responding to them with interest. Men need to meet the needs of their wife by sharing intimate conversation, romantic hand holding and kisses, and foreplay. So often, couples grow bored, tired, or uncaring toward their sexual relationship with each other. This is VERY DANGEROUS. You must be "intentional" about keeping your relationship ALIVE by keeping a healthy God honoring sexual intimacy with one another.
1 Corinthians 7:3-4 - "Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife."
#10 - Space. People need their space. Honor your spouse by making sure that they have times of refreshing by doing something that they like. Perhaps he likes to play golf occasionally or go to an occasional ball game. She may want to spend the day shopping or talking with friends. The key to a happy and healthy marriage is that personal space is reserved as something in moderation. It is not good for anyone in the marriage to spend obsessive amounts of time doing "their own thing." Use wisdom about the amount of time you spend outside of the home, with friends, or on hobbies.
Isaiah 28:12 - "To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing:"
#11 NEVER hit one another! God says that our bodies are the temple of the Lord, so when we hit our mate we are coming against the Lord's temple with violence. God commands us to love one another. In fact, He says to "love your neighbor as yourself." In this case, your spouse is your neighbor... and you would not hit yourself... so you shouldn't hit your spouse, either.
Psalm 11:5 - "The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth."
To read Mother in Zion - #2 CLICK HERE