Four churches in February are participating in the Sermon Series, Keeping Marriage. Dove Church, Faith Family Church, First Church of God, and Wilmington Church of Christ explore how all followers of Christ should fulfill their responsibilities to keep marriage. Visit one of the churches listed during the month of February and listen to these messages, join question and discussion groups, have an opportunity to win a weekend marriage retreat, and/or participate in a three-week marriage seminar.
“I’ve been happily married for twenty-five years” a friend told me. “And that’s not too bad out of thirty,” he continued! Of course he was joking about his relationship with his wife, but the truth of the matter is “happiness” in marriage can sometimes be very elusive. Some folks have even come to the conclusion that being happy and married are descriptions that cannot coexist.
Keeping Marriage Happy is my focus for this series. I believe it is important to settle in your heart right now that happiness can be a reality for your marriage no matter what you’ve been through or where you are right now. God’s plan and desire for the marriage relationship is to thrive in all kinds of circumstances. That’s not to say there will never be a disagreement or difficulties to face, but our relationships should be built on a foundation that can survive what life brings to us.
Happiness is extremely dependent on a couple’s ability to cope with and manage conflict in a healthy manner. God’s Word gives us many handles for resolving conflict and maintaining the happiness everyone desires. Commitments to these principles are both parties’ responsibility, but with a mutual dedication, success should be attainable.
In Romans 12:9-18 we find a selection of scripture that the Apostle Paul uses to encourages any individual in relationship with others to take responsibility for making it better. With that in mind, here are some things that we can consider using in our interactions with our spouse.
We see here in the beginning love has to be true. This means a total disclosure of who we are and what we expect in a marriage relationship. No pretending before or after marriage!
Couples will often try to conceal their less flattering attributes until the knot has been tied hoping the other will accept them as they are. This can become a pattern of deception that will yield trouble in the future. Unrealistic expectations can also become a source of conflict. Learn to communicate honestly in your relationship together.
A second priority is to be completely devoted to one another! Our culture today is always waiting on a better offer. God’s design for marriage was for a man and a woman to leave their mother and father and become one with their spouse (Genesis 2:24).
In marriage, becoming one means there is no one else as important to you as the person you are married to. This simplifies conflict resolution when you know your marriage options are limited to that one person.
One final thought deals with promoting peace. Conflict is the opposite of peace. Take a sincere look at how you most often interact with your mate. Choosing to be a peacemaker can result in great blessings.
While you can’t force peace on another person, you can practice it to the point it will become contagious!
For more on this subject, join me at the Wilmington Church of Christ this Sunday at 10:30 a.m. or the next Sunday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m. at the Dove Church.
Larry Speelman is Pastor at the First Church of God.