God made marriage, and He calls it good! There is an awesome power at the disposal of a couple who is unified. Why do you think Satan wants to divide the home? Because a house divided cannot stand. So how can you restore unity in your marriage?
Satan divided the first home God created, and his aim is to do the same to yours.
God has a master plan for marriage, and it only works when we follow His design for success. True completeness starts with knowing God and then knowing your spouse. We must see our incompleteness to understand our need for completeness.
There are three things you must understand:
- God’s plan works for any marriage.
- Violation of His plan = failure.
- Your relationship with God affects your relationship with others, including your spouse.
Men and women were created to be different and to function in different roles, like locks and keys. Together, we complete each other! We bring different perspectives into marriage. God calls us to honor those differences, not to despise or attempt to change them. When we come together in marriage, we cover each other’s weaknesses. Her strengths become his strengths and vice versa. The two are one!
Fighting for Your Marriage
You need to FIGHT for your marriage. The word “divorce” should never be brought up. Starting today, refuse to use the threat of divorce to manipulate your spouse. If you talk divorce, you are going to reap what you sow. Many marriages end up in divorce because one person threatened divorce in an argument in order to scare the other to change. These comments wound the spouse so much that they never recover.
Often, children from homes with a divorce grow up thinking divorce is an option and “give up” on their marriages like they saw their parents do. This passes down to the next generation. You
must determine to be the one to stop this chain in your family! Your children are watching.
If you have been divorced, there is forgiveness in Christ. But God hates divorce, and He hates for you to entertain the lie that it’s an option. There is no problem in your marriage that committing to Christ and your spouse cannot change. How committed are you really?
Jesus said there were no grounds strong enough for divorce other than adultery. If your spouse is an unbeliever, loving them is ministry unto the Lord. If the unbelieving spouse departs, the Bible says you are freed from that relationship. Also, if you are in a relationship with physical or other abuse, you should separate yourself from them until your spouse gets help and real change occurs. Separation is not divorce. It is a time to work on severe problems in a more controlled environment. This separation is not a time to date others or to look for greener grass!
Remember, your children are learning from you. They will fall into the same traps they see you in. Do you want them to suffer because you and your spouse are unwilling to change your attitudes? Jesus said that Moses allowed for divorce because of the hardness of their hearts, but it was never God’s design or desire.
We honor Christ by honoring our spouses. When a husband and wife come together and learn how to walk in unity, there is nothing that is impossible for them.
How to Keep Unity in Your Marriage
Marriage isn’t always butterflies and rainbows. There will be bumps in the road. There will be times you think your marriage is over, and there will be times when all you want to do is give up. But, as someone who has been married for more than 30 years, I can honestly tell you that working through your differences and fighting for your marriage is well worth the effort. The reward is so much greater than the struggles.
I want to encourage you today, there are answers. Through Christ, God has given us an answer to our marriage problems: deliverance from past hurts, the ability to forgive as He forgives, and to love as He loves. When we create our identities in Him, He frees us from insecurities and our failures, creates oneness in our relationships, and gives us an understanding of the design He made for marriage. There is freedom in putting your faith in Jesus Christ and committing to yourself and your marriage.
The most important words for keeping unity are, “I’m sorry; I was wrong.” Proverbs 15:1 (NIV) says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Recognize your enemy is Satan––not your spouse. Satan comes to divide the home and conquer, but God blesses a couple when they are in unity with each other and the Word.
So, how do you stop looking at your spouse as your enemy and build unity in your marriage? Here are 13 tips to help you start building (or rebuilding) unity in your marriage:
1. Make sure there is no sin in your life.
Sin not only destroys unity between you and your spouse, but also it destroys unity between you and God.
2. Don’t compare yourself or your spouse to others.
Discouragement and discontentment usually start with comparing yourself and/or your spouse to others. No couple is perfect, and no person is perfect. Don’t be deceived. Remember, you only see people’s public faces, not their private struggles.
3. Focus on the positive in your spouse.
Think on his or her good points instead of their faults. We all have faults. It’s human nature to hide our own faults and point out the weaknesses in others. God sees both you and your spouse as valuable. Look at your spouse the same way. Find positive things to focus on.
4. Pay attention to what you’re saying.
Use your words to build up, not tear down. Your words are seeds that will produce fruit. Don’t say things like, “You never…” or “You always….” Realize how much power your words have to build unity in your marriage or destroy it.
5. Pray together.
If you’ve never prayed together, or if it’s been awhile, it will be awkward and uncomfortable. Do it anyway. The most intimate relationships draw from a spiritual union; your marriage is a spiritual union. As a couple, pray and share your walk with God.
6. Learn more about the differences between you and your spouse as a man and a woman.
We communicate differently! The more you understand that, the less communication breakdowns will occur in your marriage.
7. Squash selfishness.
Really think about whether you’re placing your needs over those of your mate. Selfishness can easily squash any hopes of unity. Squash it first.
Holding on to an offense or hurt does nothing to help you. It only turns into bitterness. I love this quote from Ruth Bell Graham: “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers.”
Say you’re sorry. Being too prideful to admit when you’re wrong only creates distance and builds walls of separation in your relationship.
10. Work at being a good friend.
Too often, we work more at being a good friend to our friends than we work at being a good spouse. Change that. Figure out your spouse’s love language and communicate it. Make plans to do something fun together. Be the friend for your spouse that you want him/her to be for you.
11. Set goals together and accomplish them as a team.
Many of us show ourselves as valuable team members at work, in class, and in sports, but we’d be embarrassed if those same people saw how we work (or don’t work) together with our spouses. Change!
12. Have sex.
The marriage bed is the healing oil that makes the two one flesh.
13. Commit, or recommit, to your marriage, and commit it to God.
This is the most important tip. God can help you recognize when your marriage is under attack, free you from any insecurities or failures that are preventing you from being one in your relationship, and give you an understanding of His design for marriage. Society encourages us to withhold our trust and not to make a total commitment. We plan for failure by entering into prenuptial agreements or by living together. Never say divorce!
Make the decision to apply these tips to your marriage regardless of whether your spouse reciprocates or is accepting of the change in you. It’s YOUR actions that will win his/her heart over. Choose today to honor Christ by honoring your spouse!
First Peter 3:1-2 (NIV) says:
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.