4 Best Pieces of Marital Advice
Based on notes from
Senior Pastor, Sovereign Grace Church of Indiana, PA
I’ve been doing a good bit of premarital counseling lately, and I’ve married quite a few folks over the years. There’s lots of great advice in the Bible and other books, but here are 4 pieces of advice that have really helped me throughout my marriage. I’m still trying to apply them, and I’d encourage you to as well, whether you’re getting married in 2 weeks or celebrating your 20th anniversary.
- Try to be the best servant in the house.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. JN 15:12
And how did Jesus love us? By giving himself up for us (Eph 5:25). He came not to be served but to serve and give his life as a ransom for many (Mk 10:45). Jesus didn’t ask “What am I getting out of this?” but concerned himself with our welfare. Genuine love is not primarily a feeling, but a costly decision to sacrifice yourself for the good of another or others. Maintain the view—I want to be the best servant in the house. Don’t evaluate how your spouse is serving you, but ask yourself how can I better serve my spouse?
- Make God your source of satisfaction.
Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. PS 90:14
Remember—only God can satisfy our thirst. In Jeremiah 2:13 God said, “My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” It is evil to look to anything (or anyone) other than God to satisfy us. Anything other than God is a “broken cistern” that can’t hold water—can’t satisfy.
Remember, no human being can satisfy another human being. Your spouse can’t fulfill you, make you happy, or meet all your needs. Put God first in your marriage by regularly taking in his word, praying, and fellowshipping with other believers. He will satisfy you with his love, which you will then be able to pour out to your spouse. Keep in mind, marriage is a spiritual journey intended to help us grow.
- Resolve Interpersonal Problems Quickly
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Eph 4:26–27
When you have a conflict, or an offense with your spouse, try to work it out the same day. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger. Keep short accounts. Take care of it that day. Because when we let conflicts go unresolved it gives opportunity to the devil to tempt us to further anger, and lack of forgiveness, and other sins. It’s tempting to want to hold on to anger, to “punish” your spouse by holding on to our anger, or giving him or her the cold shoulder. But we don’t have that luxury. In Matthew 5:23–24, Jesus said, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Obviously, there are some sins that may require ongoing counseling or dialogue and healing, and trust can take time. But the idea is to deal with offenses as quickly as you can. Think first before doing something for which you’ll be sorry.
Be first to admit, “I’m sorry. I was wrong. I’ll make an effort to do better.”
You really must ask yourself, “What am I defending when I am defending myself.” I don’t mean a patterned answer like, “It’s the principal of the thing.” I mean, Why do we insist on winning every argument? Which of us has the best, most logical answer to handle this problem?
Kristi and I vowed on our wedding day that by God’s grace we would not let the sun go down on our anger, and in our first couple years, we had plenty of times we stayed up really late trying to work through things together. I can remember one night I said, “Kristi it’s one o’clock and I have to work tomorrow, but I’m committed to you and I might be wrong here; so I want you to know I love you and we’ll work on this more tomorrow.” And by God’s grace we did.
- Above all, seek the glory of God.
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 CO 10:31)
Your marriage is not primarily for yourself, but for the glory of God. Marriage is to display the oneness and love of Christ and his church for each other. Our marriages are to be “snapshots” of how Jesus loves his bride and how the church loves Jesus. And as Jesus did all for his Father’s glory, so we should seek to glorify God through our marriages. If you have a conflict, don’t make your goal to win the argument, but ask yourself what will bring God the most glory. Will it glorify God most for me to be angry at my spouse or to seek to work through our conflict, ask forgiveness and forgive? Will it most glorify God for me to seek to fulfill my own desires or if I lay down my life to serve my spouse?
There you have it:
1) Try to be the best servant in the house.
2) Make God your source of satisfaction.
3) Resolve interpersonal problems quickly.
4) Above all seek the glory of God.
Of course, God’s word has much more great advice for marriage, but if you do these things, they’ll go a long way to help you glorify God together.
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