Earlier this month, my Goddaughter got married.
What does a Singleton have to offer in the way of marital advice, you ask? Lots. Because it’s not so much “marital advice” as it is thoughts on how to love well. How to love beyond yourself. And how to love like Jesus.
To Bryan and Lindsey. May your marriage be a ministry that points many to God and the truth of His great love.
One of my very favorite sayings is this: Marriage wasn’t designed to make you happy. It was designed to make you holy.
Seven things to remember as you strive toward holiness in your marriage:
Above all, do your best to put God first. In every instance. In every situation. If you both pursue Him and His will with everything you have, He will direct the rest of your steps. Our love is imperfect but His is perfect. The only way that we can really love each other the way we need to, is by loving Him first.
“Teacher, which commandment is the greatest in the Law?” And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ Matthew 22:36-37
Don’t seek to be right, but seek to be righteous. Relationships are hard and we are a hard people. We want what we want when we want it and we don’t like others to get in the way of that. It’s just a product of being human. In those moments when you disagree (and you will disagree), fight the urge to “win” but instead take a deep breath and respond in the manner of the popular 90s Christian slogan on every bracelet, bookmark and coffee mug everywhere: What Would Jesus Do?
For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:29
Say you’re sorry when you know you need to…and maybe even sometimes when you don’t think you do. Remember that just because you may not understand another person’s hurts, doesn’t mean they’re not real. Being willing to humble yourself to say those two little words (in a meaningful and heartfelt way), will mean more than you know.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Ephesians 4:26
Be willing to ask for forgiveness and be quick to forgive. Don’t hold on to stuff. Remember that you were forgiven much and at a great price. How much more should we forgive each other – especially the person that we have chosen to live day to day life with.
Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Colossians 3:13
Enjoy now. Life is short and God created it for us to enjoy. Right now. In this moment. In every situation. When we have a lot or when we have a little. When circumstances are good and when they are challenging.
Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. Philippians 4:11-12
Don’t forget date night. (ok, maybe this one is specific to marriage). Kids are great but one of the best gifts you can give them is a strong marriage. Allow your relationship to come first so that you can be refreshed, offer a united front and create a safe space for them to grow. Show them what it means to be the kind of spouse you want for them and want them to be.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6
Remember that people are watching you. And welcome it. Surround your family with people who love and care for you and will hold you to the commitment that you have made to one another. Make your marriage a ministry. One that starts in your home. One that you care for, pray for and plan for.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2