10 Tips for a Healthy Christian Marriage
I recently wrote a letter to pair with a wedding gift, and the letter included 10 pieces of advice for the newlywed Christian couple. I thought these might help others, too.
Congratulations on your new commitment to one another! You just became each other’s “one”. I (Matt) had a friend ask me one time how I knew Leslie was the “one”. He was dating a girl and was confused on how to figure out if he should marry her. He was also negatively influenced by our Christian culture’s teaching that if you marry the “wrong” “one” you will be out of God’s will the rest of your life. I told him that Leslie became the “one” when I married her. She was the right kind of person God said I should partner with in my mission to glorify God by making disciples. We committed ourselves to one another “till death do us part.” Your marriage is meant to reflect the love of Christ and his church. It is meant to make you holy more than it is to make you happy. Thankfully, when you walk in holiness together, you will be happy.
You became each other’s “one” when you got married.
Keep the Bible central to your life and marriage. It is an abundant, unchanging spring of life. Read it daily. Read it together. Read it over and over. Meditate on it. Pray it. Speak it to one another. Other books can be great resources, but nothing can take Scripture’s place as the authority of your life. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, Psalm 19:7-11, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Commit to a healthy local church. Find a church that preaches the gospel clearly and frequently, has sound doctrine, teaches the Bible deeply, has a focus on discipleship, and isn’t afraid to follow Jesus and Paul’s teaching on accountability. Our advice would be to find whatever healthy churches are in your near vicinity, and gravitate toward the one that needs you the most rather than the one that suits you the most. (Phil. 2:3-4)
Take responsibility for your sin. Understand that nobody makes you sin. Someone else can lure you toward sin, but they cannot make you take the bait. You cannot make each other angry. You cannot make each other rude. You cannot make each other lie. You cannot make each other selfish. Take responsibility for your sin, however insignificant it may seem. (James 1:13-15)
Repent quickly. When you sin, don’t wait to turn away from it. Marriage will reveal sin. It is like a pressure chamber that exposes all the best and worst things about you, and that is a good thing if you respond with repentance. Personally evaluate yourselves regularly. Think about what your motives were and why you did or said what you did. Every time you recognize sin, repent immediately. Don’t hold on to it out of pride. (Ephesians 4:26-27, 2 Corinthians 7:10)
Never make divorce an option. Divorce does not reflect Christ’s love for his church. Feel free to give up on each other when Christ gives up on you. (Matthew 5, 19, 1 Corinthians 7)
“Feel free to give up on each other when Christ gives up on you.”
Never stop forgiving. (Matthew 18:21-22)
Don’t let anything become an idol. This includes each other, church, kids, food, exercise, TV, work. Nothing is left out. Anything can become an idol pining for supremacy over Christ. (Matthew 6:25-34 with a highlight on verse 33)
Don’t wait to get help. At some point in time, you will need help to keep your marriage heading toward Christ. Don’t wait to reach out for help. Pastoral and marriage counseling are there for your benefit. Other couples can mentor you and pass on wisdom you didn’t even know you needed. Don’t waste the people God has ready to help you. Don’t rob them of the opportunity to bless you. (1 Corinthians 12)
“Don’t waste the people God has ready to help you. Don’t rob them of the opportunity to bless you.”
Never stop learning. Commit to using resources that help you constantly become better followers of Christ, better spouses, better parents, etc. A good resource is one that uses Scripture as its foundation and guiding light.
Love each other. If the feelings start to fade, keep loving. If you feel like your spouse is just a housemate, keep loving (Matt. 22:39). If you feel like your spouse is your enemy, keep loving (Matt. 5:43-44, Rom. 12:14). Love like Christ (Eph. 5:21-33). Define love biblically (1 Cor. 13).
I hope you will take time together to read these and the corresponding Scriptures. Maybe make it a study together for 10 weeks. One day a week, meet together to discuss each of these points and the Scriptures with them. If you ever need anything, we are here for you. Below are 5 books we recommend for spouses and parents.
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. This helped us to see God’s vision for a marriage, which is about our holiness and his glory.
For Men Only & For Women Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn. These are great resources for understanding some of each other’s differences. Inevitably, you will discover how different you are from one another. That’s normal, and it actually ends up helping us learn to love like Christ when we are willing to make the effort.
Family Discipleship by Matt Chandler and Adam Griffin is a great launching pad for parents to plan how they will disciple their children at home
Protecting Your Child From Predators by Beth Robinson and Latayne Scott is an unfortunate necessity in today’s world.
#divorce #GaryThomas #counseling #JeffFeldhahn #BethRobinson #ForMenOnly #MattChandler #ShauntiFeldhahn #SacredMarriage #ForWomenOnly #LatayneScott #FamilyDiscipleship #AdamGriffin #Bible #Marriage #church #ProtectingYourChildFromPredators