Sounds good, doesn’t it? People are always asking us for a list of things to do to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. I’ve seen such lists written by others and they all contain good ideas. It has always seemed to me, though, that asking for five easy steps to a happy marriage is like asking for five easy steps to brain surgery. It may sound easy, but anyone who has observed it knows it isn’t.
The bottom line is there is no easy, fast way to have a healthy marriage. In today’s microwave society everyone is looking for fast answers. With a few clicks on a computer information can be obtained on just about anything. Our phones today do the work of computer and cameras and are loaded with more information than we used to obtain spending hours in a library. We can read books on them, watch movies, and video chat around the world. So why with all this convenience around us can’t we just get five easy steps to a healthy marriage. Isn’t there an app for that? Can’t we just download something?
Centuries ago the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus asking that her sons be given positions of honor in His Kingdom. When the other ten disciples heard of it, they were very upset with the two brothers. At that moment of great conflict among Jesus’ disciples did He give them five easy steps to conflict resolution? No, He dealt with their heart issues.
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28
He challenged them to the exact opposite of what they were thinking. Whether they were the ones seeking position or the ones objecting to the seeking, He reminded them all what the Kingdom of God is really about. He put the focus on what they each personally needed to do rather than focus on the conflict. He knew that if their hearts were right and their minds were not focussed on self, their conflict would resolve.
Marriage is filled with heart issues. You can give someone an easy step to a healthy marriage, but if his or her heart is wounded or filled with resentment or anger, that easy step is not going to happen. And even if he or she manages to go through the motions, it is still the heart that must be changed.
Marriage is about commitment, faithfulness, unconditional love, forgiveness, and fulfilling Godly purpose together. All of these aspects are either limited or enhanced by the condition of the heart of a husband and a wife. So if you’re still looking for five steps, here they are.
- Commit your heart and your mind to faithfulness to your marriage covenant.
- Repent quickly and forgive quickly.
- Develop deep intimacy between the two of you by praying together.
- Know what God says about your spouse and speak that forth always.
- Know God’s purpose and plan for your marriage and seek to fulfill His call on your lives.
And, by the way, none of these are easy.
If you are looking for some real answers that take an investment of time and a commitment to work at it, we suggest you look into Married for Life. It’s not quick and it’s not easy, but it is transforming and lasting!