Spring is here and love is in the air! Can you feel it? The truth is, a healthy relationship is “More than a feeling!” (Classic Rock fans will get it.) Unfortunately, when it comes to love and marriage, it takes more than changing seasons to spark the flames of love. And, there just isn’t a simple “How To” manual, even though you can probably download one. There are, however, more than a few principles and practices that will go a long way towards a relationship that more than survives, it thrives!
Consider the following 5 Keys (an excerpt from pre-marital counseling sessions) and then add a few of your own…
#1 – Life isn’t about being happy, and neither is marriage. Get this one down and you are well on your way. Happy comes and happy goes. Live to bring glory to God and bring out the best in each other. Do this by putting others before yourself, beginning with your spouse. In serving is significance. See Mark 10:45; Philippians 2: 1-11
#2 – Never stop dating. It is easy to get too familiar, comfortable and take each other for granted. Keep chasing after one another. Work hard at making memories. Make it fun, romantic, mysterious, adventurous, and be the kind of couple others want to be (…your kids are taking their “life cues” from you). See Song of Songs (read it slowly together for both romance and some comic relief!); 1 Thessalonians 5:10-11
#3 – Stay out of debt. Don’t let possessions possess you. Be obsessed with staying financially free. It’s not about building riches. It’s about being free to live and give your whole self richly. See Proverbs 11:25; Proverbs 22:7; 2 Corinthians 9:6-11
#4 – Forgive fully (and fast). You will find plenty of opportunity to practice this. Don’t “bottle and build” hurts. If you do, bitterness will burn you. It will spread like a disease to those you love. Be honest, get it out and let it go. See Ephesians 4:30-32; Hebrews 12:15
#5 – “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV) Keep your relationship with Jesus Christ and one another priority through sharing in the Word, prayer… and purity. Bravely submit to the shared accountability of others (small group, etc) as you grow in the Lord as individuals and a couple. What are you seeing, hearing, sensing and otherwise experiencing when no one else is around? It all matters. Character counts.
There is so much more to keeping love alive in your marriage! What principles and practices would you add? Share your insights below in the “Reply” section…