No one has ever decided to one day run a marathon and then just go out and do it! It takes months of daily work and training to be able to finish 26.2 miles. Just as no one ever woke up and decided they wanted their marriage to be better and poof, it was better. Marriage takes work, it takes daily commitment. It is the little things we do on a daily basis that can bring about the change we want in our marriage. Love is work, it is a decision we make to love someone. Love is an action, not a feeling. Here are 5 things needed on a daily basis in marriage. If done consistently they can transform your marriage.
1. Pray for your spouse daily.
Pray for their well being and protection. Thank God for them and see them as a gift from Him. Pray that God will bless them and give them what they need. Pray for their struggles and weaknesses. Pray that they will find God’s purpose for their lives and fulfill that purpose. When you begin to pray for your spouse this way, you will begin to see them though God’s eyes and you will become a better listener, more attentive to their needs and struggles.
2. Always assume the best about your spouse.
What I mean by that is don’t assume the worst in them. If they say something that could be interpreted in a good way or neutral or bad way, always assume they meant it in a good way. Don’t assume you know what is going on in their head. Try to see things from their perspective. Remember that your spouse is not perfect and by the way, neither are you! They have good and bad days and struggles just as we all do. Take the high road!
3. Use your words to build up, not tear down.
Words are powerful. What we say can create an atmosphere of love and respect and security or they can create hostility, anger and hurt. Think of something positive and encouraging to say to your spouse everyday. Let them know what a good parent they are to your kids. Tell your husband how much you appreciate the work he does to provide for the family. Find the good in your spouse and speak it. Men, when was the last time you told your wife she was pretty? If you can’t remember, it has been too long. I tell guys all the time, “You can tell my wife she is pretty, it will not mean anything to her because I have already told her today!” Never put your spouse down in front of others. If you have an issue, discuss it in private. Remember, words are powerful and will either build up or tear down your marriage!
4. Find something to do for your spouse.
Ask yourself the question each day, “What can I do today for my spouse that shows them I love them?” Then do it. It may be as simple as emptying the dishwasher, washing the car, or cleaning out the garage. It could be a hug. Learn what your spouse’s love language is and speak that language through your actions. There is a great book by Gary Chapman called The 5 Love Languages that will help you discover their language (and yours).
5. Spend quality time with your spouse.
We live in a fast paced world. We are always busy. We want things now, but you cannot microwave a marriage. In most homes, both spouses have a career to juggle along with kids and all the activities they have. It is easy to spend all our time running around and lose sight of our marriage relationship. We want our kids to have all the experiences we didn’t, but what is more important than experiences is relationships. Have dinner together as a family, with no TV on and no cell phones. Take your wife out on a date. Have a conversation without the distractions of the world. If you don’t make it a priority, it will not happen. Set aside daily time to talk to your spouse.
It is the little daily things we do in our marriage that bring the biggest results. Just as a marathon runner trains daily in order to complete a race. Marriage is a marathon and we must put in the work and time each and every day. This does not mean you will never have struggles or hard times, but if you have invested everyday in your marriage with these things, when the storm comes, you will be able to withstand it and even grow through it. Wake up each day and choose to love your spouse no matter how you feel. Choose love!
What does a Christian look like? Depending on who you ask, you might get any number of answers. Hollywood has their own version of what Christians look like. The media usually portrays Christians as unloving, judgmental people. The term “Christian” is actually never defined in the Bible. It was given to disciples of Jesus Christ by those outside the church (Acts 11:26). The New Testament is clear what a disciple or Christian looks like. Here are 5 attributes every Christian should have:
1. A person of faith.
Faith is believing in something you cannot see. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” NKJV. Faith in Jesus Christ is the foundation of our Christianity. It is what accesses the grace of God in our lives (Romans 5:1-2). Our salvation and the forgiveness of sins is completely based upon our faith in Him. It is not about how good we are or whether or not we can live up to a certain standard. Being a disciple of Jesus is about a relationship with Him (Ephesians 2:8-9). After we are saved, we are to continue to live in faith (Colossians 2:6). For some reason many people believe in being saved by faith, but after that they believe their walk with God is based on their works. The truth is, we are to walk by faith. Our relationship with God is only based on our faith and the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. When a person places their faith in Jesus there is a great exchange. God takes our sins and gives us the righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:9). We are complete in Jesus (Colossians 2:!0).
2. A person of love.
Jesus said to His followers in John 13:35, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” NKJV. This is what defines us. Our lives ought to be characterized by love for others. It is how we treat our spouse, children, family and friends, and the stranger we meet. This love is an action. It is not empty words. When we study the life of Jesus and see how he loved others, we see him feeding them, praying for them, healing the sick, teaching, forgiving, etc. Every Christian’s life should be a life of love and compassion toward others.
3. A person of humility.
“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6, NKJV. Every believer in Christ should have a humble heart because the truth is, we are no better than any other person in the world. The only difference is we have been given God’s grace. This grace is offered to everyone and can be received by faith. We are all sinners in need of forgiveness (Romans 3:23). Every person in this world no matter how rich or poor, no matter the skin color or country of origin, good or bad; all are made in the image of God and loved by God (John 3:16). We must see ourselves and others as God does.
4. A non-judgmental person.
It is easy to point out sin. It is hard to get involved in peoples’ lives so you can introduce them to the One that has the answer for their sin. Paul writes in I Corinthians 5:12-13, “For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges…” NKJV. It is not our job to go around judging the sins of the world. Our job is to love them and introduce them to the Savior. Our response ought to be the same as Jesus’ response to the woman caught in adultery. He said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:11, NKJV. Jesus was the perfect blend of grace and truth (John 1:14). We are to also be full of grace and truth. Truth calls sin what it is, grace does not condemn. Some are full of truth but have little grace, and become judgmental. Why do we focus on one particular sin and overlook another? Why are we so quick to point out the sins of others and slow to point out our own “mistakes”. Others are full of grace with little truth and refuse to call sin what it is. Grace and truth go together. God is the judge of this world, we are not to judge the world!
5. A person of hope.
Every believer should be living with the hope of eternal life. We have a hope that this life is not the end and when we lose a loved one, we will see them again (I Thessalonians 4:13). “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the presence behind the veil.” Hebrews 6:19, NKJV. Jesus Christ is that anchor that will never be broken, “for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” II Timothy 1:12.
We cannot change anyone. Only God can do that. We are to love others and introduce them to the One who can forgive their sins and give them a new life, just as we have been forgiven and given a new life. Being a Christian is about having a relationship with the One who died for our sins, Jesus Christ.