The keys to a happy marriage requires you to change the way you treat your spouse. We often try to change our spouse and blame them for the shortcomings in a marriage. We can’t change our spouse but we can change our ways. As your read through the list, try to keep yourself in mind and not how you can change your spouse.
First of all, let me put out there I am no expert in this area. I fall short most of the time in all of these areas. I have a lot of room to grow. Here is a list I came up with to what I believe are keys to a happy marriage. I am sure I have missed some attributes but here is the list…….
Forgiveness- This one can be difficult especially if you have been hurt by someone you care deeply for. We often expect forgiveness if we have wronged someone but are not very gracious to return the favor. The bible speaks of how we should forgive others just as Jesus is wiling to forgive us of our sins. If you don’t learn to forgive, bitterness, anger, and turmoil will store up deep within you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forget how you have been wronged, it simply means you are on the road to healing the pain you were caused.
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15)
Love– Among all of humanity, love is the deepest strongest emotion one can feel. We seek it, we yearn for it and it is one of the best emotions one can feel. It is also one of the hardest emotions to put into words because the emotion is so deep, wonderful, and magnificent. In a marriage, your spouse is the one you have chosen till death do you part. In 1 Corinthians we can see that with great hope, faith, and great gifts, it means absolutely nothing without love.
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3)
In order to love our spouse to the fullest depth, we first must love the Lord. I’m sure most of you know John 3:16 very well. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) God loved us so much he sent his only son to die for our sins. Jesus loved us so much that he willingly died on the cross. He suffered in anguish and pain for our sins so we might have everlasting life in heaven. This is truly self sacrificial love. A love that put your needs, my needs, and everyone else’s needs before his life. We can look to this example and apply it in our marriage. If we show love towards our husbands, we will want to take care of his needs. Some ways we can take care of his needs is by preparing a home cooked meal (they say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach), doing the laundry, cleaning the home, helping him with whatever task he needs help with, teaching our children, being supportive, being there in times of trouble, and the private matters between a husband and wife. Husbands are supposed to love their wives just as Christ loved the church. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (Ephesians 5:25) If you skip down a few verses, you read; So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: (Ephesians 5: 28-29) A man’s wife should be someone who he cherishes, loves, and seeks the best for his wife. He should love his wife just as if it were his own body.
Kindness– Being kind to one another is an action of love. You recognize their wants, needs and want to help them meet those needs or wants. Acts of kindness can be simple actions that speak from the heart. A few examples of kindness might be preparing their favorite meal, picking them up their favorite drink or candy bar, fluffing their pillow, doing one of their chores, or simply telling them how much they mean to you.
In the beginning of marriage, acts of kindness come easily and frequently. After the honeymoon phase passes, we often forget to do these simple things. No matter how long you have been married, we should still be doing these simple things that tell our spouse “I still love you.”
Prayer– The best gift we can give to our spouse is to pray for them. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to pray for ourself. 1 Thessalonians 5: 17 reads; “Pray without ceasing.” We should continually seek help from the Lord. Praying throughout the day is one of my trouble spots that I seem to fail at often. I forget to take time to pray throughout the day and to take everything to the Lord in prayer.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
Christ centered marriage- If we don’t have Christ in our lives, we are using our own moral judgement to justify ourselves. Right from wrong can easily be swayed to our own selfish desires, wants, and in return justifying oneself. It is easy to return evil for evil when we feel we have been wronged but it is often difficult to return evil with good. If we turn our self to Christ and follows his teaching, we learn to try to put our own selfishness aside and love others. In a marriage, it is easy to see our spouse’s faults but are sometimes blind to our own shortcomings. Christ is the solid foundation for a thriving and happy marriage. Jesus spoke the wise man building his house on a rock.
Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. (Matthew 7:24-27)
Jesus is our solid rock of foundation. If we build our house upon him, our home can withstand the storms the devil will send our way. The Lord wants us our marriage to succeed. The devil on the other, no so much.
Communication- Communication is an important role in a thriving marriage. Both husband and wife should be able to express their views, opinions, and feelings to one another respectfully. Yelling and screaming are not good forms of communication. They both stem from anger and when one is angry, the thoughts are clouded, and emotions run hot. I am sure we have all said hurtful things and things we don’t mean when we have been overtaken with anger.
A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife. (Proverbs 15:18)
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. (Psalms 37:8)
Looking at the above verses, anger only brings strife and evil. Someone who is slow to anger can ward off conflict. I think it is important to remember, we will not always agree on all subjects. We should respect the other’s opinion but that doesn’t mean we have to bend to their opinion. Disagreeing is ok.
We often think of communication just in the spoken form but some other forms of communication to remember are our body language, tone of voice, the way we speak to our spouse, gestures, and physical touch.
Think about how you act around your spouse. Do you speak kind words to them or do spouts of venom come out of your mouth? Do you smile at them across the room or are you too busy to even look up from your cell phone when they walk in the room? Do you reach for their hand or do you keep your distance? Do you pick up their favorite drink when you run to the store or do you only complain about how they fall short?
Trust- We often take trust for granted, and we do it unintentionally. Trust is knowing they are at work when they say they are. Trust is knowing that money was spent on what they said it was. Without trust, a spouse can go literally insane from worrying. When they tell you something, trust is taking their word for it.
Understanding- When little tiffs or arguments happen, try to understand their side of the situation. it is asking yourself why they are acting the way they are, rather than focusing on why you are acting the way you are. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and try to see their side.
Humility-realizing that we are not the greatest thing ever put on this planet. We have to realize that we are all human, we all make mistakes, we all mess up and we all have to see that in ourselves and in others. We must humble ourselves.
Respect– The definition of respect is 1. (noun)a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. 2. (verb) admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Through this definition we can see you admire the person you respect. You hold their opinions and viewpoints in high regards even if you don’t agree.
Giving– marriage is a give and take. You’re either giving or you’re taking. It takes give and take from both sides to make a marriage work. Sometimes you need to watch that guy movie, usually in my case it’s a documentary lol, instead of that chick flick your dying to see.
What are some characteristics you believe are keys to a happy marriage? How do you apply these characteristics to your own marriage? Where can you improve?