In the previous Marriage Insight Cindy shared some of her favored marriage advice that she has gleaned over the years. This week I (Steve) have the honor of sharing with you a few of my favorites. Some of it will be directed specifically toward the guys. That’s because my passion is to help husbands love their wives in such a way that honors God.
But you will find that this advice will be relevant to both husbands and wives. It’s advice like you see in the quote in this picture. It’s absolutely true! You can’t have a happy marriage without doing a lot of forgiving. This pertains to both husbands and wives.
Favored Marriage Advice
My first selection of favored marriage advice comes from Al Janssen. He wrote it in his book, Marriage Masterpiece, and he puts it this way:
“One of the original purposes of marriage as God intended it in the Garden of Eden was to reflect his image. That means marriage is about something bigger than the two of us. Marriage is one of God’s primary means of speaking to the world. The world takes notice when a man truly loves his wife the way ‘Christ loves his church.’”
Janssen went on to give us men how this looks in practical terms:
“I have numerous opportunities every day to give up what I want to do and instead serve my wife. In this way, I glorify God. That is because my sacrifice is a reflection of his heart and how he loves his bride. I’ve finally realized that my marriage is satisfying to the degree that I daily sacrifice myself for my wife’s good.
What does that mean?
• It means biting my tongue when I’d rather defend myself against something she said.
• It means getting up in the middle of the night when a child cries rather than pretending I don’t hear anything.
• Also, it means putting down my reading material and really listening when she wants to talk.
• It means taking over some chores when she’s got a hectic day.
• It means cleaning the kitchen Sunday evening rather than leaving the mess for her to face on Monday morning. [That’s a hard one!]
• And it means that when I’m accidentally exposed to porn while channel surfing in a hotel room far from home, I shut off the television because I won’t allow any impure thoughts to invade my marriage.”
I can tell you that when I started to practice Janssen’s principles in our marriage it transformed our marriage. Here’s another one of the other principles that dramatically changed our marriage. It was when Cindy and I realized how important it was for us to have a “grace based marriage.” Dr. Tim Kimmel and his wife, Darcy, explain it this way:
“When people see a husband and wife relating to each other in a context of God’s grace, when they see us go to the foot of the cross when we’ve lost our way, when they see us still caring for each other when life has given us many reasons to walk out, the gospel is validated. We may never know how much God’s grace rubs off of us onto others. But it does. When we take our spiritual purpose to heart, our sense of significance grows eternal muscles. It’s what happens when we make it our priority to reflect God’s majesty through grace-filled marriages.” (From Grace Filled Marriage)
And here’s something else to prayerfully consider that from Pastor Tony Evans:
“Marriage is a covenantal union designed to strengthen the capability of each partner to carry out the plan of God in their lives.” Tony also said: “You cannot leave God at the altar and expect to have a thriving marriage.”
We totally agree!
Another Piece of Favored Marriage Advice:
“Spend as much time as possible laughing with your partner. Look for funniness is life and share it with each other. Do this even during difficult times. Shared happiness is the mortar that holds your house together. Mix humor into your marriage as consciously as you mix passion, insight, and judgment. Sometimes the only thing that gets you over a rough spot is a whistle or a smile.” (Toni Sciarra Poynter)
This is something Cindy and I had to become very intentional about doing on a regular basis. Toni is right. Most of us have a tendency to default to actions that don’t always bring a positive result in our marriage. I’ve yet to find a time when experiencing humor together has resulted in anything other than having great feelings for each other. That’s because we experienced it TOGETHER. This has been especially helpful when we go through difficult times. The endorphins released into our system when we laugh have a far greater positive impact than from any drug we can take.
Because Cindy and I are adamant about praying together let me close with this from Billy Graham:
“We are to pray in times of adversity, lest we become faithless and unbelieving. And we are to pray in times of prosperity, lest we become boastful and proud. We need to pray in times of security, lest we become self-sufficient.”
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12 NIV)
Of course, this is just a small sampling of the favored marriage advice we’ve gathered over the years. But we’d love it if you would post some of your advice. Comment on the principles you have learned that have transformed your marriage. When you share what you have learned you’re actually mentoring other couples. Thousands of people from all over the world come to the web site every day. There’s no telling whom you could impact. We hope you will.
Steve and Cindy Wright
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5 responses to “Favored Marriage Advice – Part 2”
Now, I’m not going to pretend that it was easy to work through some really difficult issues. In fact we were at a stage ready to get divorced too. But GOD IS FAITHFUL. I realized a few years into my marriage that it was I that made the decision to love my wife until death us do part and so irrespective of the circumstances I will endeavour to bring it to the foot of the cross and seek HIS wisdom through the word to resolve a conflict.
Oh boy, it was tough but praise GOD FOR HIS GRACE, I persevered. Now, we attend the Church services together, we do our morning and evening devotions together. Yep, we still have our differences between us but GOD IS now the centre of our lives and difficulties are resolved now sooner rather than later.
I’d like to add this incident: a friend once said that as a couple they have no problems. I then said to my friend, I think you have a big problem. How are we as couples going to establish our likes and dislikes, differences in opinion if we are continuously on the same page. GOD IS able to bring us couples back from the brink of disaster to absolute bliss as married couples.
Trust GOD implicitly when difficulties come. I know it’s easier said than done but HE IS FAITHFUL.
Wow, Clarence! What a great testimony and inspiration to so many. You have blessed us today. Thanks for sharing this.
Steve and Cindy, thanks for all the great marriage advice you send by email. The devil loves to break up homes and marriages. We are all easy prey if we allow sin and selfishness to reign. Many years ago, the Lord led me to write some marriage advice. It’s called MARITAL HARMONY: AN EMERGENCY MARRIAGE MANUAL FOR CHRISTIAN WOMEN at http://www.fms-help.com/marriage.htm. I reread it from time to time to stay encouraged and hope it helps others who are struggling and want the Holy Spirit to help them in their home life. God bless you!
This is such great advice. I hope the link provided will lead many, many women to be able to do just that. Thanks for sharing this with us. You are indeed a blessing — a fellow mentor! :)
One key thing that has transformed me and my marriage was the moment I realized that I have to love my wife the way Jesus loves His church. I decided to love her whether she is lovable or not, whether she submits or not. Sometimes she will ask me, why do you love me so much? The answer I usually give her is that it is a command from God and I must obey.