We live in an “all about me” kind of world. Television ads, website slogans, billboards, fashion logos and more tempt us to be self-indulgent and satisfy all of our personal desires by seeking immediate gratification and pleasure.
The trouble is, that doesn’t always work so well in a marriage. Particularly for those joined in Christian marriages, the strength of the unions depends upon couples’ willingness to place their spouses’ needs before their own. Christ is the model and he came to serve rather than be served.
It’s often been said that marriage is a give-and-take relationship. Many claim that each spouse must be giving 100 percent at all times in order for a union to last. Most couples married for an extended period of time, however, understand that there will be many periods when the giving is 75/25, or, sometimes 100/nothing. Each spouse must be willing to be on the giving end, even when the other is unable to give at all.
This is definitely a counter-cultural mindset. The secular world would have us believe that we must always look out for “numero uno” and consider our own needs and desires before others. Yet, some say true giving begins when one feels as though one has nothing left to give at all, but does so in spite of the struggle.
Letting a spouse know that his/her needs are a priority not only strengthens a marriage but enriches a family’s life as a whole. Love holds nothing back and expects nothing in return. To fully love another means that we are willing to give our all. A little time and effort goes a long way to build a happy, healthy marriage. Consider the following as means to enrich and strengthen yours:
1) Pray for your spouse
Ask God to bless your spouse with strong character, health in mind, body and soul, and a faithful heart. Prayer is powerful.
2) Choose friends and activities that support your relationship.
Resist anyone and anything that drives a wedge between you and your spouse. Avoid those who speak negatively about their spouses. Be proactive in selecting activities and relationships that strengthen your union and help you grow closer to one another and to God.
Immediate forgiveness is not always easy but it is the way our Father in heaven treats us. So, too, must we be willing to forgive our spouse, no matter how great the number of transgressions. We must also
be willing seek forgiveness when needed. Some hurts are great and take time to heal, but a Christian believes that God’s grace is sufficient in all things.
Marriage is a journey that includes joy, excitement, challenges, crises, sorrows, love, forgiveness and shared memories. Keeping a marriage strong begins in the heart. A man named, “Francis” once said that it is in giving that we receive. Marriage is all about giving.
Strong marriages help to build strong families, which strengthen communities and nations.
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.