MAINTAINING A HEALTHY MARRIAGE: INSIGHTS FROM SCRIPTURE AND A CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW
1. Establish a wholesome independence from both sets of parents without breaking fellowship with them. Jesus said: “In the beginning … for this reason (marriage) a person will leave father and mother, and be joined to a wife/husband and the two will become one.” Matthew 19: 4-5
2. Be eager to learn from each other and appoint each other as teacher. Neither of you has to be a hard-headed know-it-all. Jesus said that it was because of unteachableness, stubborness, or hardness of heart – that people get divorces. Matthew 19:8
3. Be considerate of each other. Love is never rude. Extend to your spouse the same courtesy, thoughtfulness, and human kindness you do for your most respected and valued friends.
4. Come to a clear, spoken understanding of your answerability to each other as to your schedules, whereabouts, and associates. Do not leave this to blind assumption.
5. Make time, place, and opportunity for each other to have privacy for reflection, solitary interests, and prayer. Be the guardians of each other’s solitude.
6. Do not refuse to have sexual relations with each other except for meditation and prayer alone. Express your anger, fatigue, fear, or disgust in words, not passive refusal. See I Corinthians 7: 4-5
7. Work at increasing your capacities for intimacy, tenderness, and touching. Express these on many occasions and not simply as a prelude to sexual relations.
8. Confess your faults to one another when you have offended or been offended by the other. Do not harbour grudges or resentments. Settle your issues with each other in a timely manner. See Ephesians 4: 26, 31-32
9. Develop a “marriage” vocabulary that finds out and repairs itself. Do not develop a “divorce” mentality that constantly hangs as a threat of abandonment over your marriage. See Ephesians 5: 21 – 6: 4
10. Listen carefully to each other’s bodily health and see to it that the other is cared for medically when needed. Your wedding vows likely said that you would love each other in sickness and health. Do it this way.
11. Develop a partnership of shared carefulness in spending money. Avoid an undisciplined use of credit cards, short-term loans, gasoline, household resources and expensive habits – such as smoking, the excessive use of alcohol, gambling, etc.
12. Be watchful of developing a habit of decision-making without seeking the advice and perspective of the other. This has been called “parallel living”. The danger is it can drift into a pattern of isolated living.