by Frances Tibayan
All marriages face disagreements. All Christian couples should agree that marriage sanctifies. Dave Harvey titled his popular book, “When Sinners Say I Do,” cleverly encapsulating the reality of each spouse’s condition. Because we’re sinners, it is wise to cultivate healthy habits in your marriage so that you’ll be on a good trajectory towards enjoying God together. Here are three helpful strategies to increase health in your marriage.
1. Seek Help
It’s easy to become isolated in your marriage despite constantly being around people. Satan persuades us that no one needs to know what is going on in our marriages. The serpent slithers between husband and wife. Didn’t Satan whisper lies into Eve’s ear? Eve should have ran to her Father and told him about the lies. Adam could have called for help. They needed outside eyes. As such, healthy marriages don’t live in isolation but in shared life (Heb. 10:24-25). Every marriage needs eyes outside of themselves to point out blind spots and shore up weaknesses. Another godly perspective brings clarity (1 Peter 4:11). While a spouse seeking outside help may want a referee, what couples really need is a coach– someone reminding you that you’re on your spouse’s team and helping you learn effective teamwork against the real enemy. A coach cheers you on with biblical hope.
2. Combat Fear of Man
If you fear people knowing your sin then you’ll constantly be afraid to let people see your vulnerability. Jesus calls us to be open to our community and share our burdens (1 Thess. 5:14). Find godly people within your church family that you can open up to. It shouldn’t surprise us that all marriages have problems that need Christ’s active redeeming power. Instead, remember that you partake in a community of grace where all believers are in process of sanctification. Lay aside the performance mentality and live freely and truthfully while asking your spouse (and church family) how you can improve (Heb. 3:12).
3. Fight Pride
Welcoming correction is a discipline practiced by the spiritually mature. God resists the proud (1 Peter 5:6). Pride holds us back from wanting more of Jesus. When people want to helpfully speak into your life you may be tempted to believe they are the enemy desiring to control you. In reality they are trying to set you free. Who can tell you what to do? God can. But what about a brother or sister who bears the name of Christ and speaks his word? When you feel no one can correct you, you are on the path of destruction (Prov. 17:7, Matt. 18:20). In your marriage, there are plenty of blind spots. Your spouse and others see them and can point them out. It is essential to your Christian and marital health.
At the end of the day, you will have to decide whether you want to grow your marriage in godly clarity or stay stagnant in murky waters. Your marriage can be peaceful. Your marriage can be filled with love. Your marriage can be joyful. Take steps towards marital health because the reality is, you can’t do it alone. No one expects you to. You shouldn’t either.