every marriage starts out as a huge celebration. Together with their
family and friends, each couple is full of hopes and dreams for their
future life together. But the road to a happy marriage is far from easy.
And as today’s divorce statistics demonstrate all too well, many
couples opt not to complete the journey.
It would be easy to blame our high rate of marital failure on things
like not spending enough quality time together, allowing bitterness and
resentment to build in our hearts and failing to keep communication
lines open. There’s no end to books, articles and seminars that tell you
how to improve these and many other aspects of your relationship. But
while quality time, forgiveness and communication are vitally important
to creating a happy marriage, if such things aren’t happening, it’s
usually a sign of a much deeper problem. And until this problem is
addressed, no amount of external behavior modification will work.
To get a hint of what this deeper issue might be, let’s take a look at the following Scripture passage:
One of them, an expert in the law, tested him [Jesus] with this
question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with
all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest
commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as
yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
I believe that virtually every marital problem can be traced back to
one or both partners failing to abide by these two laws. The same is
true of any relationship. The minute we begin to focus on our own wants
and needs over those of God or our partner; we’re destined for trouble.
Experiencing communication problems in your marriage? How often do
you really focus on listening to what your partner (or God) has to say
instead of insisting on more airtime? Feeling bitterness and resentment
growing toward your partner? When was the last time you brought him or
her before the Lord in prayer and truly thanked God for your
relationship? Struggling to find quality time together? How about
praying with your partner and asking God how he would like you to use
As you begin to do these things, you’ll notice that your focus
automatically starts to shift away from you and your desires and over to
God and your partner. As a result, communication problems begin to
improve, anger and resentment fade away and you naturally want to spend
more time together. Of course, you can’t expect such changes to happen
overnight. Your relationship is also bound to face financial pressures,
childrearing issues and other problems that are beyond your control. But
if you commit your relationship to God and make a conscious decision
each day to put God and your partner first, your marriage will be able
to weather any storm. Not only that; you’ll also have plenty of fun
together along the way!
Have you struggled to find happiness in your marriage? Perhaps it’s
time you and your spouse invited God to direct your relationship. If you
would like to do so, we encourage you to pray the following:
"Dear God, thank you so much for bringing us together as a couple.
We know that you have a plan and a purpose for our marriage, and we
invite you to forgive the past self-centeredness, come into our lives
and relationship and direct our steps from now on. Please give us the
grace to put you and each other first every day. Make our relationship a
blessing to others. But most of all; make it a blessing to you. Amen."
We would love to hear from you. Whether you prayed this prayer or
not we would gladly send you some great links with resources to help
your marriage become stronger.