All of my friends getting married! It is now officially wedding season. Everyone is talking about invitations, flowers, dresses, something old, something borrowed, and something blue. The crazy thing is it is not even June!
I have six weddings to attend between now and January. Two bridesmaid dresses are hanging in my closet, and I need to start preparing a speech. Before I get to work, I thought I would answer a friend’s question and give my best marriage advice.
1. Realize Your Marriage Is Bigger Than Just The Two Of You.
“More than seeing marriage as a mutual comfort, we must see it as a word picture of the most important news humans have ever received that there is a divine relationship between God and his people” (Thomas 32).
Your marriage is a picture of Christ and His bride (the church) pointing to the reality and heart of God. Love each other well so that people can see Jesus and can understand that they can have a relationship with Him.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5: 31-32)
2. Get Plugged Into A Local Church
This is so important! We are literally “battling for each other’s sanctification and perseverance” (Lacine). We are not meant to be isolated as Christians or couples. We need the church.
My Pastor Nathan Tarr often says, “God meets the needs of His people through His people.” As married couples we will have “needs,” so stay in fellowship with the people of God. The local church is where we will persevere as Christians and as spouses.
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if we indeed we hold our original confidence to the end. (Hebrews 3:12-14)
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
3. Get A Mentor Or Post Marital Counseling
“[Marriage] is the merciless revealer, the great white searchlight turned on the darkest places of human nature” (Katherine Anne Porter).
When I walked down the aisle, and said “I do” I was barely out of the church when I found out I was selfish. It didn’t take long for my marriage to reveal the sin in my heart. Because we are sinful it is important that older and wiser couples speak into our lives. The verses above describe that we need to be on a “considering” level with one another.
As young married couples, we need encouragement, rebuke, wisdom, and instruction. Tough times will come and we need to be ready to withstand them. We need the people of God to help us.
And so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. (Titus 2:4-5)
4. Don’t Let Your Emotions Be The Boss. Let Truth Be The Boss.
“A magnificent marriage begins not with knowing one another but with knowing God” (Ricucci 73).
As young couples, we need God’s truth in our hearts. Otherwise our emotions will take charge and this will be destructive to our marriages.
We need to know God and be in His word even though “these two redeemed sinners will go to our graves imperfect and annoying” (Piper 60). We need to get in the word, obey it, and watch God change us. God is a great teacher. He is the one who can unlock the secrets of our hearts, reveal sin, and teach us to love each other well. Stay connected to the Lord through the Word.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil… Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…and take helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:10, 14a, 17)
* * *
If anyone else has marriage advice to offer, I would love to hear it! Remember I’ve only been married for 2 ½ years and would love to have it for myself.
Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas
This Momentary Marriage by John Piper