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My husband and I have been married almost a year and a half, but we’ve gone through financial turmoil, having a baby, physical and mental illness, job changes and much more. I’m offering my relationship advice for Christian marriages to show you how we’ve managed to make our marriage work so far.
We are certainly not experts. We do our best to live by I Corinthians 13:4-7. We fail often. But here are a few things my husband and I do to build a strong Christian marriage.
Affirm each other often.
As Christians, we recognize we are both human and imperfect. We will make mistakes. We both accept and acknowledge this in ourselves and each other, so we work to affirm each other and build each other up. Not one day goes by that my husband doesn’t text me that he loves me. I try to thank him for little things, like being a good father and helping with our son at night and on weekends. When he cooks, I compliment him on his skills. (He went to culinary school after his discharge from the army!)
Offer forgiveness freely.
When we apologize for something, we both make an effort to forgive freely. We do not stay angry to “punish” the other. My husband never has to “earn” back my love or my favor. He has my forgiveness even before he asks, and it feels the same vice versa.
Apologize regardless of fault.
Even if I don’t feel I did something wrong, I will still say “I’m sorry for hurting you” or “I’m sorry that what I said made you angry.” Because I love my husband very much, I feel regret even if I hurt him unintentionally. In marriage, you can worry about “winning” or who is to blame, or you can worry about staying married and building strength together as a team.
Let it go!
The biggest issue I had in previous relationships was holding on to anger, hurt, bitterness or resentment for previous wrongs. Inevitably, whenever a fight brewed, all those old transgressions would arise in an argument that was totally unrelated. It is important for both parties to truly forgive, which means moving forward. This is especially true in marriages recovering from infidelity. Understandably, a spouse who has been betrayed has every right to feel hurt, anger and many other feelings. It is only by God’s grace and strength that we could even hope to move past such a transgression. But in marriage, if you cannot move past something, it will continue to tear the two of you apart.
Don’t waste time wondering if we married the right person.
In a true Christian marriage, there is no divorce. (There is some debate on whether physical abuse or infidelity allow for divorce, but I won’t go there in this blog.) It is absolutely a waste of time to wonder “if” you married the right person. You married, and now all that remains is to work out your troubles. I would strongly encourage married couples to follow the work of Gary Thomas, who in my opinion is a gifted writer and expert in the area of Christian marriage and relationships. His book is an excellent resource I’d recommend to any married couple: Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?
Further, don’t entertain other men/women if you are unhappy in your marriage. Sharing intimate details of your relationship is inappropriate and opens the door for infidelity. As the Bible so clearly states in Matthew 5:28, “Anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
These are just a few ways that my husband and I work to keep our marriage strong and healthy. What relationship advice for Christian marriage do you have for Christian husbands and wives?