How Can I Save My Marriage? A Christian Perspective

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Marriages today have never been in more serious jeopardy.  Even among Christians, the divorce rate is soaring, the number of adulterous affairs is skyrocketing, and the number of spouses divorcing has never been higher.  How can you save your marriage?

Marriages are in Trouble

I have never seen so many marital problems in the past year as a pastor than I have seen in my entire life.  It grieves my heart to see so many Christian couples divorcing.

About 50% of all marriages end in divorce today and that number is growing exponentially.  Even worse, 2/3rds of all second marriages end in divorce and 75% of third marriages are destined for the divorce courts.

The divorce rates are very similar in other nations, some more and some less, but worldwide, the divorce rate continues to grow.   One of the biggest reasons for divorce is that there was no premarital counseling and so the couples went into the marriage with no reasonable expectations and when the spouse had huge differences in their preferences of children and child rearing, food, home, entertainment, and so on, they clashed almost immediately.  Another reason is that so many couples are marrying that are of mixed religions.  There are millions of couples where one person is a Christian and the other is not and so having no premarital counseling and going against what the Bible teaches about marrying or dating someone that is not a Christian has meant that they are unequally yoked with a mate.

What about Christians?  You would expect that their divorce rates should be lower since they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  I wish it were so, but sadly, it is nearly identical to the divorce rates of non-believers.  Divorce has become so easy and became an easy-out of a difficult situation.  Couples tell me that they are not getting out of their marriage as much as they feel that they are putting into it.  Part of the problem lies here:  Marriage is not what you can get out of it but what you can put into it that matters. It is not a 50% line in the sand proposition at all.  Marriage takes hard work from both spouses and if someone is keeping track of who does what and how much, then the marriage is already in trouble.

God's Help In MarriagePraying For Your Mate

One the greatest things that you can do for your mate is to pray for them daily.  We must pray to God for our wife or our husband and do it daily.  Pray with your mate.  Husbands, you are the spiritual head of your family.  Take your wife’s hand and kneel down while she is seated and pray in humbleness and humility to God for Him to keep her health, to have her activities prosper, for her (and your) children to be under God’s sovereign protection and do it on a regular basis.  The wife ought to do likewise.  The old saying The family that prays together, stays together is absolutely true.  Statistics indicate that of those families that pray together and pray for one another regularly, have significantly lower divorce rates than Christian couples who don’t.  Praying together does not mean asking the blessing for the meals everyday…it is much more than that.  Praying daily for your spouse and children means you intentionally pray for God to bless them, to protect them, and to keep them close to Himself.

Don’t Deny Your Spouse of Sex

Too many couples tend to use the withholding of sex as a payback.  I don’t know how many times I have heard couples get into arguments and then the husband or the wife withholds from their mate times of intimacy.  This is clearly sin and it is also detrimental to their marriage.

That’s why Paul wrote, It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.”  But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.  For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control(1 Cor 7:1-5).

If you use sex as a weapon or payback, it could lead to unnecessary sexual temptation for the other spouse.  The Bible teaches that the husband’s body is not his own and the wife’s body is not her own and that they don’t actually have authority over their own body.

Being in Subjection and Loving Like Christ

In Ephesians we see a biblical model that works well for marriages.  The tricky part is that it works best for those who are both Christian.  In Ephesians 5 we read some imperative commands give to married couples.  An imperative command is not a helpful hint or suggestion but a direct command as from God Himself.

God commands, Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands (Eph 5:22-24).

This does not mean that husbands can make their wives do anything…especially contrary to what is in the Bible for Paul adds, “as to the Lord” as a qualification for wives to submit to their husbands.  In other words, the wife should submit to her husband but he can not make her steal or lie or do something contrary to the commands of God written down in His written Word the Bible.

Paul also commands, Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh (Eph 5:-25-31).

For one thing, husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church.  This means that he is to love her with an unconditional, sacrificial kind of love.  A love that sacrifices his own interests at times, sacrifices his own desires, or even sacrifices his own life if necessary.  Christ died for the church and so husbands ought to die for their wives…die to themselves in a sense.  Another key point in the command given to husbands is that the man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast (cling) to his wife.”  I believe what Paul is saying is that this is a new family and the family to which he used to be in is now no longer to have anything to do with his present family.  This means that his parents, as well has her parents, should keep out of marital dealings with this new family.  This man and woman have left their families to start a new family and that they need to leave their old families behind.  This should be made known, lovingly, to the parents of both the husband and wife to stay out of their marriage and their family.  That doesn’t mean that they are to be cut off but they are to have no influence or exert any kind of pressure on the new couple.

Paul continues, This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband (Eph 5:32-33).  The relationship between husband and wife is like that of Christ and His church.  The Bride of Christ, the church, is betrothed to Jesus Christ and the marriage will be consummated at Christ’s Second Advent…when He returns for His bride to marry her and be joined together and celebrated at the marriage supper of the Lamb of God (Rev 19:6-9).  Husbands must love their wives with an everlasting, endearing love because wives desire love more than anything in a relationship.  Wives are to respect their husbands…respect their God-given authority because men desire respect.  When wives respect their husbands they feel loved.

How Can I Save My Marriage

Nations can rise or fall when marriages fall apart. They are the glue that holds nations together and the Enemy’s number one target is that of a Christian husband and wife.

Be Forgiving

Some of the most important words couples can say to each other are “I love you” and “I am sorry.”  These are powerful words that can make a person feel loved and respected.  Not only does being forgiving to one another strengthen a marriage, it also encourages husbands and wives to admit faults.  Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes and be quick to apologize openly and sincerely.  It’s also important to accept an apology.  I heard a spouse once say, “I am so sorry” while the other spouse say, “You sure are!”  We need to learn to apologize but we also need to accept an apology when given.  To not accept a spouse’s apology is a sign of stubborn pride and arrogance.  Just look at how much we have been forgiven.

In 1 John 1:9 it says that If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  Are our standards of forgiveness higher than God’s are?  I would hope not.  If God has forgiven us of our sins, we also ought to forgive one another.  Paul wrote that we are to Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Eph 4:32).  This just as in Christ means in the same manner that God forgave us we also ought to forgive each other.

As the forgiving man who had much more owed to him told the wicked servant who refused to forgive little, Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you (Matt 18:33).  We are to Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Col 3:13). Jesus Himself said, For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you(Matt 6:14).

Conclusion

The way to strengthen your marriage is to pray for your spouse each and every day…and in front of them too.  Also brag about them in front of others.  Sincerely say just how much you love and respect them.  Give of your own selves and don’t deny one another your husbandly or wifely duties just to get back at each other.  Be in subjection to one another…the wife submitting to her husband and respecting him and the husband loving his wife as Christ loved the church in a sacrificial way.  And never be afraid to say you’re sorry or that you love them.  Admit your mistakes when you make them, and you will make them!

God hates divorce because he intended for a man and woman to be joined until death and He is the originator and author of this greatest of human institutions (save for the church).  The marriage relationship should reflect that of the church and Christ’s relationship. Nations can rise or fall when marriages fall apart.  They are the glue that holds nations together and the Enemy’s number one target is that of a Christian husband and wife.  He will attack it, try to weaken it, and try to destroy it in any way he can and usually from within.  Pride will be the weakest link in any marriage so if couples will humble themselves and submit themselves under the authority of Christ; their marriage should not only survive…but thrive.  When Christ is a part of your marriage, it will be so much stronger.  You will have Christ as the Head who is joined with the husband and wife.  As it is written, Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Eccl 4:12).

Here are some other Marriage related articles for you to check out:

Resources:

New International Version Bible (NIV)
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

www.youtube.com “Before the Throne of God Above” by Sojourn





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