1. You have a model of how to love; follow it.
“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.”
“We love because he first loved us.”
1 John 4:19
Jesus left the perfection and comforts of Heaven to enter into this messy world. He did what he knew he was called to do, putting aside what he felt like doing. He endured physical torture, mockery, and rejection, died a death for you that he didn’t deserve, and he came back to life to conquer sin and death so that you could be saved. It is because of his overflowing love that you can love others.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Take a minute and consider how Jesus feels about your spouse. Seriously, take a moment to sit with that. That love is the same love that he calls you to show to them. When you embrace and truly acknowledge how sacrificially he loved and loves you then you can better love your spouse.
What is one thing you can do today to sacrificially love your spouse?
Perhaps it is cleaning up, telling them specifics of what you love about them, going for a walk or setting up time together, getting them a thoughtful gift, or holding them close if they appreciate physical affection. Think about their <love language> and show them love in a way that they best feel loved.
2. Let the Bible guide you.
There have been many times when I am upset about something and I don’t feel like apologizing or forgiving. When I put myself in front of God and open up my Bible, he has a way of challenging me in love. When I am open to hearing from him, he often nudges me towards forgiving, loving, and making amends. During times when I need to confront, God guides me in how to infuse it with love.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
2 Timothy 3:16
Remove the Bible, and you are left trying to walk through marriage and life largely in the dark. Insert the Bible into your everyday life and you have the light of His Word to better understand love, mercy, forgiveness, patience, sacrifice, perseverance, suffering, and more. It can show you the parts of yourself that need work and the parts that you need to acknowledge and surrender daily to God. It can encourage you as you deepen your relationship with and understanding of him. Your relationship with Christ will help you better love your spouse.
3. Build spiritual, physical, and emotional connections.
“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?”
Marriage is about union, joining, and coming together. Many books and articles are written about the importance and ways of building emotional and sexual connections, yet not a lot is said about building deep spiritual connection.
Something powerful happens when you engage with your spouse around your relationship with Jesus. When you pray, you become vulnerable before God as he knows you to the core and he loves you. When you pray with your spouse, they are vulnerable before God and it creates an intimate space between the two of you.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
When two come together in Jesus’ name they are a force to be reckoned with.
Invite your spouse to deepen your spiritual connection with each other. Take time to share with your spouse what God has been impressing upon you over the last week. Read a Bible passage together and share what you sense God is saying to you. Pray with each other about your joys, concerns, desires, and more.
4. You can live on mission together.
Marriage is meaningful and a reflection of God’s love for us, His church. You can have a strong marriage, yet you aren’t created to sit on the sidelines and count out your days. He has called you to:
“…Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
“…Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required…”
If your marriage is struggling, then surrender yourself and your marriage to God and what he can do with it. Follow his lead in what you can work on. You’ve got the Wonderful Counsellor and Great Physician with you!
If God has gifted you with a healthy marriage then you have the opportunity to impact others by his power. Look for couples to mentor, model a healthy marriage to your family and those around you, pray for couples around you and keep pouring into your marriage.
For more tips on marriage, check out “5 Simple Ways to Make Your Marriage Better.”