The topic of marriage is a hot button in today’s society as many people, including political leaders, are discussing the basic question of what defines a marriage. I believe that the Word of God (the Bible) is true and that God has created and even defined marriage to be between a man and a woman. In this article I will describe some ways to make a marriage better with the understanding that a Christian marriage is defined by God as being between a man and a woman. This is a basic tenet that I believe the Bible clearly calls for. Here are 7 ways to make your Christian marriage  better.
1. Grow closer to God individually
This is the best way for a couple to grow closer together is when they are each growing closer to God. This point is often visualized by the picture of a simple triangle in which the closer each spouse gets to God, the closer they will get to each other. I often talk about this dynamic in wedding sermons that I have officiated at.
I think this picture is so true of a marriage. If the individual spouses are not growing or seeking God they will often be seeking to elevate themselves and this can and will hurt the marriage relationship. To again think thru the triangle picture, as each person climbs up higher and higher on the relationship line with God, they in turn will grow closer in their relationship with each other.
2. Know and desire to “do” what Paul teaches in Ephesians 5:22-33
There are many Biblical passages that help us understand how to grow a marriage but I think the short didactic teaching by Paul in Ephesians is very concise and helpful. Paul instructs husbands to love their wives and for wives to respect their husbands. He does not just instruct this in a vacuum of thought but rather gives these instructions within the context of looking at Jesus Christ and His example for us. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church. Wives are to submit and respect their husbands  in the same manner as the body of Christ (the church) is to submit to the headship of Jesus Christ. This passage seems “dated” to some people today but I believe that thought is wrong and simply comes from a lack of understanding of what Paul (and ultimately God) is saying in this letter. The topic of submission especially is hard for some people to understand as many men have not treated their spouses in a right way. Please understand that I am not saying for a husband to harshly rule the marriage and home and the wife is simply to ‘submit.’ That is not what Paul or God was saying in this passage. When husbands that love their wives in the way that Christ loved the church I believe their wives would willingly embrace the role of respect and submission. Much more could (and has) be written on this one topic but I believe the better a married couple understands and desires to live out this passage, the better their marriage will become.
3. Pray together
We have all heard the expression that a “couple that prays together stays together.” I believe this is true because when a couple prays together they are jointly seeking the will of God for their lives. Prayer is our communication with God and when we go to prayer in the right mindset I believe it is a very intimate time in not only getting to know God better but also in getting to know each other better too.
4. Worship God and Read the Bible Together
I read a statistic recently (that Rick Warren quoted in a marriage conference) in which Warren says, “Establishing spiritual habits in your marriage dramatically increases your success rate. One large nationwide study discovered that when a couple develops three spiritual habits: 1) attending church weekly together 2) praying together and 3) reading the Bible together, the divorce rate drops to only one out of 1,105 marriages. That’s quantifiable proof.” The statistics shared show that this formula is almost full proof. The point seems to be that a couple that is praying, worshipping, and reading God’s word together is truly seeking God’s will for their lives and in doing so are strengthening their marriage. God wants healthy marriages which will lead to a solid foundation of the home in which to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of God.
5. Communicate with each other
Communication is clearly very important to any relationship but especially with our spouses. Keep in mind that this list is not numbered by the manner of importance too. Couples that do not communicate with each other will be missing a critical component in the marriage. Marriage is about going through life with another person. In the garden God saw that it was not good for the man to be alone. Adam was not complete without his wife Eve. He needed someone to be there for him as most of us will not desire to go through life alone (although Paul does talk about not being married too). When we do not communicate we are acting as if that person does not need to know what is going on in our minds or we are thinking that they don’t care or that I can handle it all on my own. Any of these thoughts are wrong and will lead us down a path that will often lead to loneliness (even within the marriage) and can lead us to isolation which will often lead to sin too.
6. Serve your marriage partner
If you want to improve your relationship almost instantly try serving your spouse with no strings attached. What I mean is to serve the other person and expect nothing in return and see what the reaction of your spouse is. When we can focus on our spouses strengths and not criticize or look for the bad in him/her we can truly serve our partner and draw closer as a couple. Jesus showed us all the perfect picture of someone serving in a complete and amazing way. Jesus is the King of King and Lord of Lords and He should not have had to serve us in any way but it demonstrates His amazing love for us. We can do the same thing by serving our marriage partner.
7. View marriage realistically
I think sometimes our culture has tried to tell us the story of Prince Charming and Princess and we have all bought it. We all think that everything in marriage should end with the phrase, “and they lived happily ever after.” I think that mindset is not helpful. Marriage is a beautiful thing and I don’t know how I would have went through life without my wife but the Bible never talks about life being easy or ‘happy.’ No, rather than happy in the Bible we have something with a far deeper meaning in the word joy. Joy is being at peace with God in spite of what might be going on around us. This is a better picture that I see of marriage. I am not saying that you shouldn’t’ have happy times but we must understand that life (which includes death, accidents, cancer, disease, disappointment, and sin too) will even during the best of times leave us for a longing of knowing something just isn’t complete. Someday all believers will be with God in heaven where we can finally have that complete feeling because we will be with God forever and ever. Until that day though, life will sometimes be hard but understanding marriage better will allow us the freedom to know that some days will be hard and we can rejoice that we have a dedicated marriage partner going through life with us.
This list is not an exhaustive list but rather some ways I believe could help you in rebuilding a marriage  that is struggling or to strengthen a marriage that is already on solid footing. I encourage you to add any “ways” that you believe have made your marriage better in the comment section so we all can learn and grow together.
Blessings and tell your spouse how much you love them today!!
Related reading: Christian Advice Before Marriage