“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21)
You cannot have a healthy marriage without healthy communication, but healthy communication does not mean there is always agreement. In fact, it means that tough conversations are had, even when both partners would probably prefer to avoid them. As Ephesians 4:29 teaches, we are to commit to “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.” We have to ask ourselves: does it benefit our spouse to listen to us? This is not about whether you think your words are benefiting your spouse; it is humbly asking, “Is what you communicate to your spouse actually building them up and life-giving to them?”
8. Both Partners Are Willing to Give 100%
There is a lie that has permeated our culture that marriages are a 50/50 bargain. As long as the wife gives 50% and the husband gives 50% marriage will move along swimmingly. Well, it’s a nice idea in theory, but in practice, it creates a tit for tat economy in a relationship that will always call its members to love at 100%. Remember, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters” (1 John 3:16). Jesus also teaches, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13).
There will be days where your husband or wife won’t be able to offer you anything and it will be those days they need you most. Will you demand your 50% that day or an IOU that says they will return the favor when needed, or will you be there for your partner in sickness, health, plenty, and in want? A 50/50 relationship depends on the other broken human to make it work, but a 100/100 is living a life that loves for the sake of Christ. Remember, we are here to serve, “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others….” (1 Peter 4:10)
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