When we approach the alter and say our vows, hopefully we received premarital counseling that led us to the word of God. We need to know how to draw our double edged sword when sickness instead of health overwhelms us, when we are feeling poorer opposed to richer, and tempted to wonder if we will make it to death do us part.
However, solid premarital counseling hasn’t been the case for all of us. Some of us followed elevated emotions into covenants that we thought would be easy to keep only to find how often sacrifice is required. We can try to muscle through with worldly wisdom, but God did not design marriage to be an institution of strife. As days, years, and hopefully decades pass, the wisdom that is waiting for us in the Word helps us to embrace the gift of marriage when wedding highs are far behind and deep relationship begin to be cultivated.
Marriage was part of Eden. There will be days when marriage doesn’t feel like the blessing it was intended to be, but a blessing it is. We know this because it was present in the days before sin infected all our ways.
1. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” - Genesis 1:27-28
2. “The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.”- Genesis 2: 23-25
God’s ways are higher than our ways, which means we can take His instruction and apply it to our lives without fear.
3. “A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.” - Proverbs 12:4
4. “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” - Colossians 3:18-19
5. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.”- Ephesians 5: 31-33
Forgiveness is a necessary part of marriage, but we don’t always feel like forgiving. For those times keep these scriptures in mind.
6. “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” - 1 Peter 4:8
7. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”- Ephesians 4:2-3
8. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” - Ephesians 4:31-32
Sex is a gift from God and once you are married it is intended to be something that bonds you together—a physical representation of the two becoming one. Sex does many things for the married couple not only is it intended to be a pleasurable activity, but it can also be a way to serve and comfort our spouse.
9. “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”- 1 Corinthians 7:5
10. “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”- Hebrews 13:4
11. “He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The LORD may be gracious to me and let the child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” Then David comforted his wife Bathsheba, and he went to her and made love to her. She gave birth to a son, and they named him Solomon. The LORD loved him;”- 2 Samuel 12:22-24
We must remember the power of our words. These verses are sobering, but once words are spoken we cannot remove their impact.
12. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”- Proverbs 18:21
13. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. “ - Ephesians 4:29
14. “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”- Colossians 4:6
When, for it is inevitable, conflict arises, may these verses be at the forefront of our minds.
15. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”- James 1:19-20
16. “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.”- Proverbs 15:8
17. “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” - James 4:1-2
We begin to develop patterns and habits as a couple, even when dating. Truth is, some of those patterns will be destructive. We may not immediately see it, but once we do we need to be diligent about removing them from our life.
18. “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”- Hebrews 12:11
19. “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.” - Proverbs 12:1
20. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”- Colossians 3:23-24
Chara Donahue is a freelance writer who is working on her first book. She enjoys doing biblical counseling, speaking to women, and savoring coffee when her four kids are out playing with dad. She holds an MSEd from Corban University, is passionate about seeing people set free through God's truths, and is the founder and editor of Anchored Voices. Get in touch with her on Facebook or Twitter.