“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
— Genesis 2:24
A patient once told a doctor, “I am in so much pain.” The doctor replied, “You will get better if you follow my instructions. Number one: Don’t kill yourself.”
Many people who are in great pain would never think of killing themselves. But when people experience pain in their marital relationships, they often think of “killing” their marriages. Do you have a marriage in trouble or know someone else who does? Then before doing anything else, follow (or encourage your friend to follow) this first rule for a successful marriage: “Don’t even consider ending it.” Marriage counselors report that ninety to ninety-five percent of troubled marriages can be healed. But that can only happen if you stick with it. Think only about doing what you can to save and heal your marriage, not about the other options the world offers.
The second rule for a successful marriage is: “Maintain a vital spiritual life.” Day by day draw closer to Christ, praying and reading His Word by yourself and with your spouse. We all need to know God’s Word so we can avoid worldly pitfalls that can chip away at our marriages. Therefore, search God’s Word, and obey it so that it may change your life and your marriage.
The third rule is: “Develop communication.” The marriage encounter program begins by sending couples to their rooms, where each person writes a letter listing all the positive things about his or her spouse. Then spouses exchange letters and read them out loud. When husbands and wives go to the next general meeting, they’re changed people. Tell your spouse what you like about him or her, and it will revolutionize your marriage.
The fourth rule is: “Turn up the thermostat in your marriage.” Show warmth and affection and intimacy. Hold hands the way you did when you were courting. Walk with your arms around each other. As you do, you’ll find that a touch can work magic.
Whether or not you have a marriage in trouble, I encourage you to apply these “rules” in your home today. As you seek to obey God’s will for your marriage, He will bless it, making it healthy and vital. And remember, don’t ever give up.