Christian Marriage Advice For Men of Faith
Let me apologize from the beginning. I know the last thing any man or husband probably wants to read is ANOTHER article or book on how to have a good marriage, let alone how to have a strong Christian marriage. Then why am I writing one?
Because I wanted to share some advice that deviates from the traditional advice that most “experts” give when it comes to having a successful, Christian marriage. You know what I mean; advice like…
“You must not be unequally yoked (i.e., you must believe in the same God).”
“You have to be able to communicate with each other effectively.”
“You have to be able to listen to one another.”
“You must respect one another and respect the marriage.”
“You have to be able to trust one another.
“You must be friends first as well as lovers.”
“You must maintain a healthy sex life.”
“You have to spend quality time together.”
“You must pray and worship together.”
“You must be intentional about growing together emotionally and spiritually.”
Could Following Cultural Advice Vs.The Teachings of Christ Impacting Your Christian Marriage?
As the creator and founder of a Christian men’s organization, and the host of the #1 rated podcast on Apple Podcast for Christian men (Real Men Connect Podcast), rarely have I ever coached, counseled, mentored, or interviewed a man who hadn’t heard any of the previously aforementioned advice. In other words, we’ve heard it all.
So, if that’s the case, why is the country’s current divorce rate almost identical to the divorce rate among Christian marriages?
I think, maybe it’s because, as Christian men, we often find ourselves following the marriage advice of the culture more so than we follow the teachings of Christ when it comes to marriage.
First of all, allow me to admit that when it comes to the success and failure of a marriage, I speak from personal experience. Because I went from ruining a 16-year marriage with my first wife to now celebrating 11+ successful years of marriage with my second. And here’s the catch, my second marriage has been 3x tougher than my first marriage. That’s right, you read that last statement correctly; but don’t tell my wife I said that.
Allow me, for a moment, to go “against the grain” to quickly share with you some strong and uncommon advice to help you to have a strong, Christian marriage that most “experts” won’t share with you. This is the same advice I would’ve given my younger, more stubborn, and more prideful self when I first got married.
Lessons I Learned From My First (Failed) Marriage
Christian Marriage Advice - Tip 1.
Both of you, starting with you as the spiritual head, need to resist selfishness.
Age and time don’t necessarily guarantee wisdom, but it does make hindsight 20/20. And over the years, and after interviewing more than 750 guests on my Christian men’s podcast, I’ve learned that getting married doesn’t necessarily reveal how much love is in a marriage, but it does reveal the amount of selfishness in a marriage.
When my son was 9 years old, he asked me and his mom, after we announced we were getting a divorce, "Can't God fix this?" And I had to humble myself and tell him, "Yes God can, but we’re too selfish to let Him. So, if you're going to blame anyone for this, don’t blame God, blame us; blame me." It was the hardest thing I ever had to say to my son, but it was also the best thing, because it was the truth.
The Bible tells us in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
When it comes down to it, most marriages that end in divorce, end because one or both want what they want from marriage more than they want what God wants for their marriage – reconciliation, mutual submission, servant leadership, self-sacrifice, forgiveness.
Note, Philippians doesn’t say not to look to your own interests; it says look not only to your own interests.
Whenever a marriage becomes more about what feels good to you rather than what’s best for your marriage, then it’s the beginning of the end of that marriage, even if it’s a slow death.
Christian Marriage Advice - Tip 2
Adopt a whatever-it-takes attitude.
Here are the typical marriage vows shared at most weddings:
I promise to take _______ to be my wedded wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part."
But unfortunately, when it comes to marriage, we become selective listeners, because we only hear, “better, richer, in health, to love and to cherish.” We conveniently forget “worse, poorer, sickness, and till death.”
Personally, I wish the phrase “whatever it takes” would be added to ALL marriage vows during the wedding ceremony. And “whatever it takes” means exactly what it says: whatever it takes.
Think about it, what if your children's lives literally depended on you successfully fighting for your marriage when it gets rough and difficult; how hard would you fight? How long would you fight? How much pain would you endure? Or would you just say, "I'm tired of fighting, I'm sorry kids, you’re just going to have to die."
I know that's overly dramatic, but trust me, your kids wouldn't think so if they had a voice. When it comes to our marriages (our covenant), we should be willing to fight until the DEATH, not until FATIGUE.
Fighting could mean going to marriage counseling, even if you have to go alone. Fighting could mean starting over from scratch and re-dating and romancing your wife all over again. Fighting could mean going without sex with her until you reestablish intimacy without physically touching her. I think you get the point. Whatever it takes means whatever it takes.
Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
Christian Marriage Advice - Tip 3
Humble yourself and show her the love of Christ.
Regardless of how you FEEL, loving your wife is a CHOICE, not a feeling. You have to be able to see your spouse as more than just your wife; you have to see her as your sister in Christ. I know that may sound weird reading that, but really think about that statement.
As Believers, we’re ALL children of God; He calls us His adopted, His chosen people. And when we get to heaven, we won’t be married (husband and wife), we’ll be family – brothers and sisters in Christ.
When it comes to having a strong Christian marriage, the hard truth to accept is, God is more concerned about our souls than He is about our marriage. God allows us to get married so that our relationship will reflect the relationship He has with us “as His bride” and to glorify Him and reproduce after our own kind.
Paul wrote in Ephesian 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” Paul even calls this “a mystery” in Ephesian 5:32.
To see your wife as your sister in Christ, not just your spouse, is to accept the responsibility to spiritually cover her and protect her, regardless of what she does or how she acts in the marriage. No, you're not responsible for your wife’s decisions, but you are responsible for loving her like Christ loves us.
Is it easy? No. But is it possible? Yes, if you're willing to humble yourself.
Just ask yourself, or better yet, ask God, "How can I best love my wife, as she is, not as I want her to be, in a way that glorifies You"? Trust me, the Holy Spirit will give you all the guidance you need. The only question is, will you obey Him? But we would if we're willing to follow the advice mentioned earlier in #1 and #2. See how this works?
Christian Marriage Advice - Tip 4
Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and ALL these things will be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).
I know it sounds simple, but the easiest things to do are usually the toughest things to do; because they're also easy NOT to do. So, what do I mean I about putting God first? I mean, put God FIRST above all things.
Meaning, when it comes to your marriage, consult Him first, not your feelings, friends, or fears. Ask Him, "God, how do you want me to love this woman you gave me?"
Put God first by spending more time in His presence learning how to strengthen your marriage rather than picking apart your marriage.
Study what God’s Word says about marriage and ask Him for the grace to apply that truth in your marriage like your life depended on it.
Put God first by praying for and covering your wife as if you were praying for yourself or your children. Cry out to God like King David did. David said in the Psalms that a broken spirit and a contrite heart, God would never despise.
And put Him FIRST by volunteering to go to the cross for your wife like Christ did for us; by dying to your personal desires, wants, and expectations of your wife, by saying, "God, not my will, but Your will be done." And saying to God when your wife has fallen or hurt you, "God, please forgive her, for she knows not what she does."
I can't guarantee you that any of this advice this will save your marriage, but I do know from experience that it will strengthen your marriage and glorify God.
Because in the end, whether your marriage succeeds or fails, your wife will be responsible and held accountable for her actions, and you'll be responsible and held accountable for yours. So, as a Christian man, make sure you love your wife in a way that allows you to live, die, and leave a legacy with no regrets.