"My current marriage is not what I want it to be." "We seem to be growing apart" "I want a new marriage!"
We have all heard these words--television, friends, family, maybe ourselves. Let's look at how to have a "new marriage". In order to have a "new marriage" we need to do a few things:
1. Listen to Each Other.
Learning how to listening will improve any relationship, especially your marriage. It's worth pointing out that the words "listen" and "silent" have the same letters. We must listen without thinking of what to say next. Dedicate all your energy, all your attention on the other person and listen. It's easy to talk, get mad, and not listen; however we must learn to listen to each other (James 1:19).
2. Forgive Each Other.
No marriage is perfect. No individual is perfect. We will all make mistakes. Learning how to forgive each other is essential to having a successful marriage. If we cannot forgive our spouse for their mistakes, we will not be shown forgiveness from the Father. Christ forgave us, if we cannot forgive others, he will not forgive us (Matthew 6:15; Eph. 4:32, Col. 3:13).
3. Respect One Another.
Every relationship needs respect. Part of loving genuinely requires one to respect another (Romans 12:9-11). Paul also tells us in Eph. 5:21-27 to submit to each other, having a sense of respect for each other. He also tells us in Phil. 2:3 to count others more significant than ourselves. This is hard to do, but without practicing respect, we have no love.
4. Show Each Other Kindness.
A synonym for kindness is Christ-likeness. If we are to be Christians, if we are to be followers and imitators of Christ, we must be Christ-like. Christ showed an enormous amount of kindness to everyone. Proverbs 11:17 reminds us that "a man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself." Not only that, but being kind is essential to showing true love (1 Cor. 13:4-7). Because Christ was kind and loving to us, we should show the same to others (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:12; James 1:19).
5. Pray with and for Each Other.
Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer. He often prayed for guidance, but often he prayed for his disciples. Paul spent a lot of time in prayer. He often prayed for guidance, but often he prayed for the church. Both of these individuals had relationships with others that we should strive to attain. Prayer had a huge role in this. Paul often prayed for others and let them know (Col. 1:9). Praying together will not only help us get closer with God (1 Thess. 5:16-18, Phil. 4:6-7; James 1:5) but with each other. Being able to be intimate with God, with our spouse will allow us to grow closer together with God as our bond. Our relationship should be built on common ground-that ground being God.
6. Study the Bible Together.
Spending time in God's word is very important. It helps us not sin (Psalm 119:11). It helps give the soul spiritual food (Matthew 4:4). It serves as a mirror for our soul (James 1:23-25). It helps guide our lives (Psalm 119:105, Joshua 1:8). It helps teach (Col. 3:16; 2 Timothy 3:16). What better way to spend time together than in God's Word? Growing in Christ together is the best way to deepen a relationship. Learn with one another. Challenge one another. Grow with one another.
7. Say I love you.
There is something about hearing the words "I love you". Some may call it reassurance, others may call it uplifting--the truth is above both of those, it is Christ-like. Having a Christ-like marriage will strengthen your marriage beyond comprehension.
8. Spend Quality Time With Each Other.
All of these result in spending quality time with each other. It doesn't matter how much time you spend with each other, if it isn't quality time.
Starting this week, make an effort to add these things to your marriage each day. If you are successful, you will have a new marriage.
Read Part 2: I Hate You: 8 Ways to Harm Your Marriage
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As always, God loves you and so do I.
Feature image by Jeff Brotherton.
Comment below with your ideas on how to improve your marriage from a biblical perspective.