Is there really a secret to a lasting marriage? Is there a secret that only a few are privy to and the rest of us our left to our own devices? Of course, we could and most of the time we do romanticize marriage, especially in the beginning, don’t we? We see ourselves as a sort of fairy tale that is always exciting, romantic, and giddy. And then one day we find marriage is not so exciting, romantic and giddy is but a memory. Does that mean our marriage is over?
Oh, on the contrary, our marriage at this point is just beginning. If you were to describe marriage as a meal, those first few years would be the appetizer. They are the fun little tidbits, delicious tastings, and first aromas of a new time and chapter, an adventure of sorts. Then we have the main course, which is the meat and potatoes of the marriage. And then the dessert. These are the years you look back, you see the hard times, the good times, the times of little and the times of much. You look back and you thank God, he brought you through all of it. He grew you up to understand what was and is important. He burned up dross, and is still doing that, but you see that by the grace of God He matured you.
The meal analogy might not be that great, and I apologies for that. Marriage always starts out with stars in our eyes and butterflies in our stomachs. While those things are wonderful and sweet things, they do not sustain marriage. If you have not married yet, don’t be discouraged by that, but be encouraged. Too many times today, young ladies are not given Titus 2 mentoring, a biblical view of marriage and all it entails, a realistic theology on marriage. But instead, older women leave young ladies to be extracting their counsel for marriage from sleazy sitcoms and worldly women. We have been for a long time in the church promoting the culture’s idea of marriage, which is a cynical and selfish view that neither reflects Christ nor His Gospel.
So, what do we do? What is this “secret of a lasting marriage”? This secret is what it has always been, and it has never been a secret. It is the wisdom of God that has been available since the beginning of time. And when I say this, I hear the groans and disappointment. I really do, and I remember when I did the very same, upon hearing this very thing from a godly woman. Don’t despair, because God’s wisdom and our desire to obey and honor Him is our ‘secret’ to a lasting marriage. God has told us that He created “them male and female” and that “man would leave his parents and cleave to his wife,” and that this represents Christ, the Bridegroom and the Church, His Bride.
Marriage is a union blessed by God and witnessed by God. Marriage is God’s plan, not man’s, not a government’s, but God’s. Marriage originates with God and He sets the perimeters. He does not ask nor need man to add to or redefine, although in unrighteousness they have attempted to do so anyway.
We as believers are not left in the dark at all, but instead exposed to the marvelous light of Scripture, Which is living and breathing, sharper than a two-edged sword. We have all in Christ, all that we need or ever could want to know how to have a lasting marriage. We are given the commands, the Word of God, and we can have a lasting marriage. Who do we serve, that is the question? Do we serve God, or do we serve self?
So many marriages are destroyed by women thinking men should be obedient, effeminate beings, always on call for the wife’s every whim and want. This is Hollywood. This is fantasy and feminism. Fantasy in that the very opposite is how God made men. He made them to be tough, warriors, and problem-solvers. And yes, manly qualities do involve not acting in a feminine way. This is not what a godly woman wants or desires.
It is true after the years wax on, the seasons are changing, and so are our bodies and our minds. We age and we grow. We have times of sickness and times of great joy. These are the moments that make us who we are and who we will be. We can open our arms and embrace all God has laid out for us, or we can cross them on our chest and become bitter and hateful.
The latter does not grow a marriage but only the former. To embrace what God has given us and what we will endure from His hand is all about our attitude toward the Lord. If our attitude toward God is discontent and always complaining, we will not edify or build up our marriages but rather will tear them down. When we give our oath to God in our vows, we make promises to God. We want to take those promises very seriously. They are promises that grow our marriages. But so often we break those promises.
If you are married and you are bored, discontent with your husband, and always finding fault with him, well you know you have probably taken on a worldly view of marriage. And if that is you, know that we all have fallen into this trap at different times in our lives. I can tell you when I was first married for about the first ten years I was pulled in by the articles in Women’s Day, Redbook etc. with headlines telling me I could have a more “exciting, better and lasting marriage” Yes, I would fall for it every week. I kept picking up those magazines. Those magazines gave me no peace or wisdom. All I wanted was a better marriage. The Lord convicted me in reading those magazines. I started reading God’s Word faithfully, asking for wisdom, and my heart longed for what God wanted. I wanted to know how to love my husband, put him first, serve him daily. To honor God. And there it all was in the Word. All those futile things I read in the worldly magazines that fell so short. But In Scripture my heart was comforted, enriched and quieted. Those are the things I only learned from picking up God’s Word and was no longer allured by the worldly wisdom offered in those magazines.
And if you are married and you are resolved to know that there is contentment in all circumstances, and you are thankful for your husband, a wretched sinner as you are, saved by grace, you probably have more of a biblical view of marriage. And if that it is you, thanks be to God. I encourage to carry on, reading God’s Word, loving God, serving your husband, and building your home around the ways of the Lord. We never do “arrive” in our marriages. The flesh is still a battle we will wage war with until our Lord calls us home. And that’s alright; we should not become anxious over this. We know who fights our battles and He will never leave us. Never. Our trust is in Him
There is no secret to a lasting marriage. God has given us all we need to cultivate, water, and grow our marriages. All contained in His Word. In the good times and the hard times.
- Get married
- Love your husband all the days of his life
- Have babies if your womb is open. Be content if not.
- Manage your home: cooking, cleaning, being a Keeper of the home
- Respect your husband, don’t speak badly of him
- Submit to your own husband, as unto the Lord
- Reject the worldly marriage “advice,” leaning not on your own understanding but on every Word that comes from God
- Marriage is not always easy, but it is not supposed to be. We live in a sinful world. Sin crouches at our door and seeks to reign over us, and we must master it. And to do this we must trust in Christ and through Him we can conquer sin and its power over us
- Marriage at times is as good as it gets and at times harder than we could ever imagine. That is our sanctification. We are the help meet to our husbands, walking this journey that is life. We do not ever seek to discard our mate, but we each lean on the other through the different seasons.
- Grow old together, glorifying God in our marriages, honoring Him in our homes and our lives, living out all of life and taking dominion for His glory.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So, they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. ~Mark 10:7-9