Divorce rate in the US at the end of 2021 was estimated at 45%…meaning nearly half of our nation’s marriages ended in divorce. Yikes! That’s a scary statistic. Fortunately, healthy, successful marriages aren’t just for those lucky couples. Successful marriages are built on a strong foundation and are centered on Christ. Furthermore, your daily choices, or habits, directly influence how well the foundation of your marriage is nurtured.
Let’s not dwell on the many reasons a marriage could fail; rather, let’s focus on how you will nurture and strengthen your marriage to keep it strong. It’s never too late to build a strong foundation. In fact, building a strong foundation isn’t a one-time event…it’s a process. Which is why having an arsenal of healthy, constructive habits is essential.
- Remodeling Your Home in Christ
- How to Teach Your Children to Follow Christ
- Ultimate Guide to Increasing Family Unity
5 Essential Habits for a Stronger, Christ Centered Marriage
1. Follow the 2 Great Commandments (Matthew 22: 37-40)
1. Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind.
I know you’re probably familiar with this first and great commandment, but have you ever asked How? How do you love God with all our heart, soul, and mind?
To love God this way requires a total commitment of yourself; physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You are all in and totally committed to following the Lord in every aspect of your life. Your love of God is the root of your thoughts and actions. Loving God in this way and putting Him first in your life is a rich blessing. When you put Him first, everything falls into place exactly as it should. There is great peace in entrusting everything to Him.
2. Love thy neighbor as thyself.
Charity is the highest and noblest form of love, even the pure love of Christ. Isn’t it amazing that we are commanded to love others, including ourselves, with this pure love? Can you imagine how this love changes us and lifts us?
Furthermore, can you imagine the effects this kind of love for spouse and self would have in your divinely instituted marriage?
I love the definition of charity Paul gives to the Corinthians. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
Then he proceeds to tell us the secret to a successful marriage! Verse 8, “Charity never faileth.” True charity exercised in your marriage will never fail you!
Prayer is your lifeline to heaven…your direct line of communication with God. He wants you to come to Him with your concerns and questions and He wants to help you.
Pray to see your spouse through the eyes of the Savior.
Imagine if you were able to see your spouse the way our Savior does all the time. Wouldn’t it be so easy to always show him that Christlike love? You can have that perspective, but it’s something you must ask for. Ask God in prayer for the ability to see your spouse through the Savior’s eyes.
It is critical that you pray for your spouse. Pray together and let him hear you asking God to bless him and watch over him. Pray for his needs, desires, and his success. Manifest your love for your spouse by calling on the power of prayer.
3. Focus on Learning and Growth
You must understand that marriage is very much about learning and growth. Your marriage puts you in a unique position to stretch, learn, and grow. It is a sacred gift and without it, you wouldn’t have the ability to reach your fullest God-given potential. Makes total sense why God created marriage and families, now doesn’t it?
Remember to be patient with both yourself and your spouse as you learn and grow along this journey together. So often we don’t give each other enough grace. Yet God loves you where you are right now and sees your worth. Even though you are so flawed, he still sees your good and your potential. His love for you is simply there.
Likewise, simply love your spouse for everything he is right now. Know that the Lord isn’t done with either of you yet. He is simply in the process of creating a beautiful masterpiece. He is content with his work in the current stage it is in and sees it as good. Why should you see it any differently?
4. Date Your Spouse
Date your spouse! This should easily be your favorite habit. Dating doesn’t end after your married. It should continue throughout your relationship and only get sweeter with time.
Don’t underestimate the power of date night! I know life is so crazy busy. Most days you’re probably in survival mode and just trying to make it through the day. Isn’t that all the more reason to slow down a bit and schedule some one on one time with your spouse?
Dates are an opportunity to reconnect with each other and enjoy one another’s company. It fuels opportunities for healthy and open communication. So plan an activity, whether it be at home after littles are asleep or an outing, for just the two of you. When you make your marriage a priority, you’ll always find time for date night. No excuses!
A relationship is lot like taking care of a plant. Eventually, if we neglect it long enough it will wilt and could die. Proper and routine care keeps your relationship strong and healthy.
5. Forever is a Long Time
“Until death do us part” is a falacy. God intends for your marriage to endure through eternity…or in other words, forever. Live and love each other as if your eternity depends on it!
More on Building a Strong, Christ Centered Marriage
Why should God be at the center of your marriage?
God ordained marriage as a sacred union between man and wife. If you take Him out of your marriage, it wouldn’t be a true marriage anymore. That’s because the essence of a Christian marriage is to have God as its central focus and motivation, so much so that both members become more like Christ.
This has been revealed in the Bible. It is written that a married couple will be united by God as one flesh (Mark 10:8). Christ also said that there must be a greater commitment than just human love and affection (Matthew 19:5-6).
The marriage triangle is also important because it’s where we derive our motivation to be like Christ. If one of the three sides of the triangle is missing, it wouldn’t work anymore. The marriage triangle includes God on top, you and your spouse at its two other points. Once you realize that God must be between both of you as the center of your marriage, it would motivate each of you to become more like Christ.
Then, you would be filled with His love and can bring glory to Him through your marriage. It brings out the best in you because it’s based on Christ’s unconditional love for both of you (Ephesians 5:25-33).
How do you build a Christ centered marriage?
What do the Scriptures Teach Us?
Proverbs 3:5-6 states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in ALL you do, and he will show you which path to take.” God offers sage advice for building Christ centered marriages through seeking His guidance on every aspect of marriage. When a couple seeks God’s will in all they do, they lay a foundation for a successful marriage.
In John 15:4-5, Jesus states, “Remain in me as I remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” One of the most important steps in building a Christ centered marriage is becoming more spiritually attentive to God, His word, and His will for your life together.
When husbands and wives are seeking God’s will in strengthening their relationship, it is imperative to make Christ the center of their marriage. Matthew 22:37-40 says, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with ALL your soul and with ALL your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
How a Christ Centered Marriage Blesses You:
When Christ is at the center of a marriage it helps to bring harmony, peace, and happiness into every aspect of life. It offers stability in raising children, success with finances, encouragement when health declines, an increase in faith when faced with trials, and many more benefits.
To help you begin building Christ centered marriages, the following are key ways to establish Christ as the center of your marriage: attend church regularly, pray daily, read God’s word, invite others to grow in their faith with you, take time to serve, and share with others the love of Christ.
When couples make Christ the center of their marriage they will find joy in life, success with parenting, and fulfillment as a couple. The added bonus is knowing that one day Christ will receive you into His kingdom with open arms. You can start building your Christ centered marriage today by following God’s will.
What does the Bible say about marriage?
The Bible has a lot to say about marriage. In fact, more than half of the entire Bible is devoted to teaching us about marriage! There’s a reason God decided to share so much wisdom on this subject – His plan for marriage is perfect and He wants it modeled in our lives as best we can.
In particular, there are some key truths that we can learn about marriage in the Bible. And when we take these truths and apply them to our own marriages, they can help us live closer to God’s plan.
Here are just a few of the things God wants us to know about marriage in His word:
Marriage is good (Genesis 2:18).
In the beginning, God created humans as male and female, designating them to be married. He designed man and woman to need each other – they’re incomplete without a spouse who complements them. There’s something good about getting married! And there were no instructions for divorce or breaking a marriage covenant – this was a commitment meant to endure forever.
Genesis 2:24 – For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they will become one flesh.
Marriage was a symbol of God’s love for His people (Isaiah 54:5-6).
God demonstrated how much He loved His children through the nation of Israel by marrying them through a covenant with Himself. And because Jesus came from this line, He is also called the “bridegroom” and we are called the “bride” of Christ.
Ephesians 5:25 – Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Marriage is a picture of God’s faithfulness (Jeremiah 3:14).
God never leaves us nor forsakes us, even when we sin and turn away from Him. And it’s with this understanding that we can develop an enduring relationship with our spouse – like how God will never leave us nor forsake us.
Marriage is a relationship that must be nurtured (Malachi 2:14).
Just as the earth needs rain and natural processes to bring forth fruit, our marriages need God’s blessings and work from both parties for it to grow and thrive. A marriage without God at its core will wither away over time.
Celebrate Marriage (Matthew 22:1-14).
Honor Marriage (I Peter 3:1-7).
The Bible has a lot to say about marriage! If you take time to seek out His guidance and apply His teachings to your life and marriage, He will surely bless you!
It’s no secret that marriage can be difficult, but it is also incredibly rewarding. I hope this article has helped you learn how to love each other with a Christlike love and make your marriage better than ever! Focus on developing the pure love of Christ, praying for your spouse often, growing as an individual and as a couple, making date night a priority, and understanding that your marriage is intended to last forever.
If you need some encouragement along the way, download my 5 Habits to Build a Strong, Christ-Centered Marriage to serve as a daily reminder. Please use these habits to help keep you and your spouse on track. If you work at these together, your relationship will thrive!
And always remember that no matter what life throws your way, you can overcome it because you have each other.