What is a Godly Marriage?
God designed marriage as a lifelong commitment between one man and one woman for their mutual joy, the good of society, and the procreation of children. Marriage ultimately displays the glory and grace of God by picturing the unbreakable relationship between Christ and his church. ~ John Piper
1 – Build and maintain trust; stay in touch mentally. During “sliding door moments,” where you can either have a conversation and resolve an issue with your partner or distract yourself, choose to engage with their concerns rather than move away from them. Turning this into a habit will build your partner’s trust and faith in you.
2 – Build and maintain intimacy; stay in touch physically. Relationships often become “touchless” (void of meaningful touch, affection, or physical intimacy) long before they become “sexless” (minimal to no sexual activity). Touch is an essential need for human beings. Yet, it is pretty common in our society today to get so busy with work, school, kids, and all the running around that we overlook our partners and go days without having physical contact with them. To bridge the gap in your relationship, start by examining your expectations around touch. Does touch always have to lead to something sexual, or can you touch your partner because it feels good? Slowing down, checking in with your partner, and re-learning their needs will increase your sense of closeness.
3 – Support each other’s hopes and dreams: stay in touch spiritually. Do you know what your significant other’s goals are? What have they secretly wanted to do or be since they were young – how do their lives differ from now? Ask them to share with you what they felt their lives would be. Of course, you want to keep each other grounded and realistic, but if there’s a way to move toward their goals, you can also be their biggest backer.
4 – Listen. There’s a story about a man who would give his wife the heel of the bread. One day his wife asked him why he gave her the worst part of the bread, and he replied, “I’ve always given it to you because it’s my favorite part.” Recognize that you are two individuals in one relationship. Just because you have gotten along for a long time and agreed on things doesn’t mean you know why the other person agrees.
5 – Be solution-oriented when you don’t see eye-to-eye. Instead of arguing, consider the pros and cons of something together during disagreements. Try to see what’s happening from a third-party perspective, as someone who wants the best for everyone. Some couples suppress their honest feelings to avoid conflict, but it is possible to be honest, open, and express negative feelings without fighting.
6 – Don’t say anything you can’t take back. It takes five compliments to neutralize a negative comment. We tend to remember the hurtful things a person has said readily. It’s better to use restraint when you’re upset and feel like calling your significant other a name.
7 – Think like you’re an 80-year-old couple. What memories do you think the 80-year-old you will remember or cherish looking back on your life? What would you have wanted to do differently – is it possible for you to do those things now? What’s holding you back?
8 – Say “thank you” often. Think about how good it feels when someone notices or appreciates something you’ve done. Let your partner know what you love about being in a relationship with them and what they bring to it. Thank them for the day-to-day things they do (i.e., “thank you for taking out the trash,” “thank you for getting the oil changed”). Doing so will let your partner know you notice them and acknowledge their efforts.
9 – Understand and appreciate how your partner wants to connect. Men and women must become experts in their partner’s way of feeling connected to them – whether through hearing certain words, being touched a certain way, or sharing a common hobby – and embrace it even if they don’t fully “get” it.
10 – Always consider their needs. Remember, ALL of your partner’s needs and ways of feeling loved are worth considering, even if you don’t intend to meet them. When you listen to our partner’s needs before deciding if you want to or can accommodate them, try to get what they want and why. How will getting this make them feel? Many needs can be validated with more than one approach, so perhaps you can find another way or compromise if their needs are initially not met. It’s all about helping your partner feel seen, heard, and understood.
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