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4 Things Christian Marriage Requires of Us Beyond Love

I used to think all that was needed to ensure a healthy marriage was love. And then I got married and quickly realized as Don Henley and Patty Smyth sang in their 90’s hit song, “Baby, sometimes love just ain’t enough.” Love is our highest aim; it’s as the apostle Paul describes in I Corinthians 13, “the greatest of these.” So, I’m not negating the necessity for love in marriage, I’m challenging the notion that love is all you need to make a marriage thrive.The Beatles sang “All You Need is Love,” but interestingly, Paul McCartney has been married three times, and John Lennon was married twice. Before his death, he confessed to having more than 300 affairs while married to his first wife and multiple affairs while married to his second. If these are the people Americans look to as “idols,” it’s no wonder we have a faulty understanding of how love works in marriage.Love is foundational. It’s like flour to a cake. Your marriage rises and falls depending on how much love is present. However, just as a cake needs other essential ingredients to be palatable and sustainable, so does marriage.Photo Credit: ©Pexels/Nghia Trinh

4 Vital Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage against Satan’s Attacks

Before I got hitched, I used to hear church folk rehash the warning that the devil is after marriages. It left me wondering whether the devil wasn't being accorded more credit than he deserved. But now, having been knee-deep in marriage for 12 years, I get it. Totally. The enemy is indeed in hot pursuit after marriage. He will grab any chance he has to tear a marriage apart. He has a track record of stealing, killing, and destroying, after all.God ordained marriage to reflect the relationship between Christ and the Church. Paul asks wives to submit to their husbands as to the Lord whereas husbands are to love their wives just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her. Marriage is also where God's instruction for man to multiply and fill the earth is fulfilled.The enemy doesn't take marriage lightly and will do all it takes to sabotage it. When he spots a loophole, he will use it as a launching pad for his attacks. Paul warns us against offering the devil a foothold:“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,and do not give the devil a foothold.” (Ephesians 4:26-27)The Collins dictionary describes a foothold as a strong or favorable position from which further advances or progress may be made. We may be oblivious of the footholds lurking in our marriages but the devil is not. He is extremely swift at spotting them. He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).Here are some things you can do to seal the loopholes in your marriage.Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/dragana991

7 Essential Things the Bible Says about Sex in Marriage

Too often in our culture, the images and portrayals of sex that we see are unhealthy and not in alignment with God’s plan for sex. If we are not careful, we can put too much emphasis on these negative portrayals of sex and miss the beauty of the sexual relationship that God has designed for marriage.Whether you are married, dating, or single, it is crucial to have a proper and healthy view of sex. The truth is God is not a prude, nor is he uptight about talking about sex. What he wants is for his people is to practice it within the bounds of marriage, which is the way he designed it.To help you develop the right mindset about sex, it helps to understand what the Bible says about sex in marriage. Getting this right will go a long way in helping you develop a healthy sex life within your marriage if you are married or will get married, and will help you understand God’s plan for his people even if you remain unmarried.Here are 7 things the Bible says about sex in marriage:Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Jacob Rank

What Is Sleep Divorce and Is it Biblical?

Is sleeping in separate spaces a sign of a relational break or just a pragmatic decision for more individual comfort? Let’s explore the potential consequences of this growing trend.

4 Signs You Have an Emotionally Abusive Husband

An emotionally abusive person may neglect your needs by withholding attention from you, such as giving the silent treatment and shutting down any form of communication. They might not support you or call you needy or emotional when you ask for support.

7 Marks of a Good Apology (and 8 Marks of a Bad One)

Repentance is an essential part of the Christian life, relational health, and maintaining an accurate view of the world. Repentance is when we quit trying to make our dysfunction “work” and embrace the life-giving alternative to our sin that God offers.When we direct repentance towards a person we have offended we often call it an apology. For this reason, Christians should be better at apologizing than anyone else.In the context of offense (when we are the offended party), it can be difficult to be objective about whether an apology is good or bad, healthy or unhealthy, genuine or obligatory. Motives are subjective and rarely all good or all bad.In this post, I pull from several previous posts and resources in order to try to identify the markers of a good (i.e., God-honoring) apology and markers of a bad apology (i.e., one that fails to accomplish God’s redemptive agenda after an offense). I hope these help us repent well when are the offending party and discern wisely when we are the offended party in a conflict.7 Marks of a Good ApologyKen Sande in Peacemaking for Families, his excellent book on conflict resolution, describes seven elements of repentance (bold text only). This outline is developed in the order that words of repentance would typically be spoken in conversation. Explanations and applications will be provided for each point.*This material is an abbreviated excerpt from the mentoring manual for the Creating a Gospel-Centered Marriage: Communication seminar (unit 5), so while in places it has a marital focus it is applicable to any relational context.Photo Credit:©Getty Images/dragana991

10 Ways to Avoid Crazy In-Law Interactions

In-law “horror” stories abound. I’ll be honest; I used to laugh at in-law jokes. But not anymore. I believe God can use in-law relationships to bless and encourage us, and also to rub off rough edges in our personalities. Looking at in-laws through Jesus’ eyes, I now hope for “honor” stories.Sometimes, in spite of doing all the right things, in-law relationships can fall apart. We cannot “fix” other people, but the Lord can change us and fix relationship messes in His own time and way. In the meantime, we can choose to love others—even the unlovable—as Jesus would.Given that disclaimer, there are powerful steps we can take to create healthy in-law interactions.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/fizkes

What Does the Bible Actually Teach about Sex?

Sex - It’s often thought about, but rarely talked about, especially within Christian circles. Yes, we’re going there. Let’s talk about sex. I’ve been in enough youth group meetings, women’s small groups and hushed conversations with friends to know that the topic of sex is one that most of us desperately need clarity on.

8 Surprising Things about You That Are Attractive to Your Husband

Before my family landed into ministry, we were livestock farmers. We raised cattle and pigs.I had a garden and a coop full of hens laying fresh eggs each day. Along with the daily work of farming, my children were showing livestock at the county and state fairs. In the months leading up to the shows there were cattle and pigs that we had to wash and walk daily.One day, I was at the barn with my son. While he was leading his heifer around the corral, I was cleaning up the manure in the barn. Now, this was an icky job with nothing pretty about it. When I turned the corner, I found my husband standing there with a gleam in his eye, and he tells me that what I was doing was the sexiest thing he ever saw.At that moment, I thought he had lost his mind.Have you ever wondered what makes your husband tick or get that gleam in his eyes? After a little research, I found eight surprising things that your husband finds attractive about you.Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/XiXinXing

5 Aspects of True Love towards Your Spouse

Love is not just something to make us feel good; it's an action that is centered around the other person's thoughts and feelings. Here are 5 characteristics that I have learned about true, agape love: