Marriage

Having a stable marriage in ministry is a good thing. At times it takes a lot of ongoing hard work but it’s worth the rewards. Make your spouse your best friend and do not neglect those who are single. Psalms (68:6) talks about placing the lonely in families and that’s a privilege those of us who are married are able to mostly follow through on.
Do not judge those who have gone through painful divorces as we may never know the full story and do not neglect those bereaved.

 Bible Perspective
God ordained marriage is between a man and woman (Genesis 2:24). Almost every culture has some form of acknowledgement when a couple are married and or many people including Christians, this acknowledgement of commitment occurs in a church setting. God’s design for marriage is for three reasons: 1. Companionship to help one another (Genesis 2:18) 2. Procreating of children (Genesis 4:1) 3. An expression of love, amongst other things through sexual intimacy (Ephesians 5:25-31).

Observations
The following advice I have found helpful especially for those in ministry:

  • Satan is out to destroy Christian marriages regardless of how long a couple are married. There are no exceptions, however praise God we have the victory through Christ ( 1 Corinthians 15:57)!
  • Having attended a marriage enrichment course recently after 46 years of marriage, the number one thing I took from it is that you always have to work at keeping the marriage relationship alive. Don’t replace it with ministry. Lose your marriage and you are likely to lose your ministry. Most ministries carry on without us, but what an unnecessary sacrifice to lose your marriage and possibly family in the process.
  • Make your spouse your best friend. Invest in special times with your partner every week otherwise you may unintentionally grow apart. It may not cost you much money, but how about a regular romantic meal together or some other activity every week? Where there is a will, there is a way. What day, time and activity are you going to make?
  • Don’t deal with heavy discussions late at night especially when you are angry. Tackle issues when you are feeling refreshed. (Ephesians 4:26). Get help to sort out conflict when you need to.
  • Learn to pray together about important matters. Your heavenly Father cares for you.
  • Love is primarily a commitment, not simply romantic feelings.
  • Financial spending is often a source of conflict. The person best able to pay the bills should take on that responsibility and not everything we purchase has to be new or the best. Many parts of the world are influenced by a harmful ‘consumer society’. Try hard to avoid debt as much debt can be unbiblical.
  • We often bring our different upbringings into our marriage. There are however often more than one way of doing tasks and having different perspectives about matters.
  • During difficult times learn to receive support from close friends and / or get professional help.
  • Lastly but certainly not least, Learn to forgive! This may be hard but necessary.

 Resources
The Alpha marriage course from Holy Trinity Brompton
‘Seven Principles for making marriage work’  by John M Gottman
‘Secrets to lasting love’  by Gary Smalley

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