How to Have a Happy Marriage
By Pastor J.D. Link
Heb 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but the sexually immoral and adulterers God will judge.” “Honorable” means valuable, honored, esteemed, beloved, dear, most precious, held in reputation. This is how God views marriage. It is how we ought to view it, as well. While the marriage bed is pure in God’s sight; those who have sex outside the marriage covenant between man and woman, and those who violate that covenant, will be judged by God unless they confess their sin to God and repent (turn away from).
Two major reasons marriage should be highly valued, honored and preserved are: 1. Marriage is God’s invention. He created the institution “in the beginning” (Gen 2:21-25, Mt 19:4-6). 2. Marriage is a picture of Christ and His Church (Eph 5:31-32). To alter, pervert or cheapen marriage in any way; perverts and cheapens the mystical relationship between Jesus Christ and His Church. This is why marriage must be held sacred, and not fooled with by man’s sinful social experiments. The Church of Jesus Christ must first bring back the high value, honor and commitment of marriage, before we could ever hope society to view it as such. Marriage is also very beneficial in numerous ways to society. Check out this link for some interesting facts: http://www.marriageresourcesforclergy.com/documents/Acrobat/WhyMarriageMatters.pdf.
So, what are some keys to having a lasting and happy marriage? What are some “rubber meets the road” things we can practice to fulfill God’s plan for marriage? After all, God says what He has joined together, let no man separate; and that He hates divorce (Mal 2:14-16). So, if God’s will is a lasting marriage, then what are some keys from Scripture to help that become a reality?
1. Focus on fulfilling your God-given role (Eph 5:33). If you want to be happy, don’t focus on your spouse’s failings; but rather focus on your own. As the husband, I’m not focused on her being a submissive wife, but on me being a loving husband. Likewise, the wife should not focus on him being the loving husband, but on her being an honoring wife.
2. Understand that “happily ever after” does not mean what you think it means. It does not mean your marriage will be free of trials or conflict (1Cor 7:28). A happy marriage does not equal a perfect marriage. Perfect marriages do not exist, because two imperfect people constitute its existence. Can this imperfect marriage be happy? Absolutely. Just don’t expect it to be problem free, and you’ll save yourself a lot of grief. Problems will have to be worked through, so be ready.
3. Learn your spouse’s love language. We are to dwell together “according to knowledge” (1Pt 3:7). If you have never read “The Five Love Languages”, I encourage you to do so. If you practice what it says, and learn to love your spouse as THEY need love – verses how you think they need love – you will improve your happiness tremendously.
4. Remember why you fell in love. Pro 5:18 says, “… rejoice with the wife of thy youth.” Youth can mean in age, or just “at the beginning.” Break out the photo album. Remember your roots together, and why you fell in love to begin with. Stoke the fires. This will bring happiness into the present.
5. Make laughter a priority. Pro 17:22 says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Play games, tell jokes, watch funny movies, rehearse crazy things that have happened in your past, etc. Like a tire with no air, a marriage without laughter is flat. Laughter is a happy-marriage “must”. It’s healthy for your body; your mind; and your marriage.
6. Forgive and forget. We are told to forgive as God forgave us in Christ; and that kind of forgiveness “remembers no more” (Eph 4:32, Heb 8:12). Unforgiveness is death to a happy marriage. For a marriage to be lasting and happy, we cannot hold grudges or regurgitate offenses. We must choose to forgive and forget it. If you will not do this, you cannot have a legitimately happy marriage. It is not possible. On the other hand, we need to be quick to apologize when we have wronged our spouse. Don’t let things fester.
7. Willingly give yourself to one another. This not only means physically (1Cor 7:3-4), but also in whatever makes our spouse happy (1Cor 7:33-34) – legal and within reason, of course. Our marriages would be infinitely happier, if we could comprehend that each of our jobs is to make the other happy – and not to make ourselves happy. Few people think this way. Marriage is seen as what you can get, and not what you can give. However, that’s not Biblically correct. Practically apply this truth, and see if happiness doesn’t come as a result (Act 20:35).
8. Do special things together (1Cor 9:5). Did you know, even the apostles brought their wives with them wherever they went? Avoid isolation. Have a date night; garden together; ride bikes; walk; fish; go to a marriage conference; get away overnight for your anniversary; etc. Focus on one another. Pray, read and discuss the Bible together in the mornings or evenings. Just “do life” together. This will bring happiness to your marriage.
This is not an exhaustive list, and I am no expert on marriage – nor is my marriage perfect. However, I have been faithfully and happily married to the same woman for almost a quarter century, so I might know a little something. Practice these eight things from God’s Word, and the chances of you having a happier marriage than you thought possible multiply exponentially. Selah.