You're bound to encounter tough times in your marriage, as all couples sometimes do. But you have the power to decide to stay together for life - no matter what - and constantly work to make your marriage the best in can be. When you base your marriage on a covenant with God rather than just a contract, you have the foundation you need to stay - and thrive - together.
Here are some ways you can make and keep a covenant in your marriage:
- Pray! Confess ways in which you're looking at marriage simply as a way to get your own needs met, and repent of selfishness. Then ask God to give you a deep and true love for your spouse, and a desire to serve both God and your spouse through your marriage.
- Decide that, no matter what, you will not leave your marriage. Commit to staying together despite tough circumstances, and continually seeking God's guidance and grace for whatever situations you encounter in your marriage. (In cases of abuse, temporary separation may be necessary, but in all cases spouses can commit to trying their best to keep their marriages and rely on God's strength for healing.)
- Make God your first priority in life, and make your spouse a close second priority, over children, work, friends, etc. Make it a daily goal to grow a more intimate relationship with your spouse. Do whatever it takes to accomplish that goal.
- Always be willing to forgive your spouse, seek his or her forgiveness, and work through conflicts together. Ask God to give you an unconditional love for your spouse and the grace to forgive.
- Build open and honest communication with your spouse.
- Be patient and hopeful. Remember that nothing is impossible with God.
- Think in terms of what you can give to your spouse, not of what you can take from him or her. Be humble, and willing to sacrifice. Know that a great marriage can be costly, but the sacrifices are worthwhile.
- Pray and think about what the purpose of your marriage is, then work together toward common goals that are based on that purpose.
- Make your spouse your best friend. Pray, talk, express feelings, play, parent, and share sexual love together.
Adapted from Covenant Marriage: Staying Together for Life, copyright 2002 by Dr. Fred Lowery. Published by Howard Publishing Company, Inc., West Monroe, Louisiana, www.howardpublishing.com.
Dr. Fred Lowery, senior pastor of the 7,000-plus-member First Baptist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana, is the author of three books and the featured speaker on the television program The First Word. He has performed approximately 300 covenant marriages.
Would you say that your marriage is currently based on a contract or a covenant? Why? If you have a covenant marriage, why is that important to you? How has God strengthened your marriage? Visit Crosswalk's forums to discuss this topic: