Friends, we need to be careful of drawing our understanding of home and family from the media. Shows like Modern Family might be what some families look like today, but society does not define marriage. God does, and He does not change. Nor do our marriages have to be full of the bickering and sarcasm of the most famous honeymooners of all, Ralph and Alice Kramden of TV fame (I’m dating myself here). There is a plan— God’s plan—to follow, and when we deviate from it, we move away from all the blessings that go with it. Be a godly man or woman and practice the basic Christian principles in your marriage. Speak life, not death, into your marriage, for what comes from your mouth will soon be manifested in what you see. Nothing good, noble, or pure will be visible to you if you persist in allowing the words of your tongue to destroy your perspective of your spouse. Use the tongue for praise and exhortation, thanking God for His plan and your spouse, and watch your perspective change even if actual behavior remains the same.
All of us fail, both in marriage and in other areas of life. In those times, we need to remember the words of Scripture: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you” (Eph. 4:31–32). It is a sure thing that your spouse will offend you, intentionally or unintentionally. In those times, respond by giving grace. Isn’t this what you ask of God when you fail Him? Shouldn’t marriage be the first place that the manifestation of God’s grace is seen? What better place than marriage to seek to be like God Himself!
Again, all of us are fallible human beings, and we all bring defects into marriage. But marriage is as much about making accommodations for the limitations of others as it is about changing our own shortcomings. Remember, reacting in sin to something about your mate that you don’t like is never the answer to a marriage problem. Choose instead to honor your mate as though Christ’s transformational power had already done its work in them, and you will see it eventually become a reality. Is the honeymoon over in your marriage, dear friend? It doesn’t have to be, for that’s not how God designed it. I urge you today to do marriage right! Do the things you did at the beginning, and watch the flame of love rekindle. Become again the mate your spouse fell in love with in the first place. Sincerely commit to living your marriage God’s way, and watch “happily even after” become a reality!
Excerpt from “Happily… Even After” now available on Amazon.