Yesterday (July 26th) Steph and I celebrated our anniversary. It has been an amazing journey and I am grateful to God for my wife Stephane. She is a gem for sure. Here are some of the lessons I have learned along our 12 year marriage journey.
See your spouse as a gift of God
Scripture affirms the goodness and beauty of marriage (Genesis 2:18-25; Proverbs 5:18-19; Ephesians 5:22-33; Hebrews 13:4). Whether you realize this or not, your life is supremely enriched because of God’s good gift of your marriage partner. Don’t take this for granted. Tell them often how much you appreciate them and what a blessing they are to you.
Don’t try to change one another
Many people make the mistake of thinking they need to change their spouse. Often this has nothing to do with biblical/theological matters but simply with matters of personal preference. When attempts are made to reform and change your spouse more to your liking, it can place a tremendous strain on the marriage. By all means pray for your husband, pray for your wife, and do all you can to help them grow in sanctification and Christ-likeness, but don’t try to change them. Accept them for who they are and how God has uniquely made them.
Take (your own) sin very seriously
Marriage gives you an education in your own sin like no other relationship. After my wife and I got married, I started to see my own selfishness, pride, anger, and a host of other sins in ways I never had before. My sin was affecting others, particularly my wife, and it needed to be dealt with. Thankfully, the gospel of Jesus Christ provided a way forward for me. Of course, this process of sanctification and growing in grace will continue for the rest of our earthly pilgrimage, but we must be zealous and intentional about killing sin (Mark 9:43-48) and pursuing Christ-likeness.
Keep short accounts
The Bible says, “do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4:26-27). Husband and wife are bound to get in arguments from time to time. It is next to impossible to avoid this, but within that reality, it is critical to talk things out and experience reconciliation when needed. My wife and I have had many late-night discussions, but we have yet to go sleep without first confessing our sin, forgiving one another, and being reconciled. This has been painful, but at the same time powerful within our relationship. Satan is constantly trying to drive a wedge between married couples. Don’t give him a foothold!
Read the Bible and pray together
Scripture reading and prayer are disciplines that should be present in the life of every Christian. My wife and I strive to do this together as much as possible. Every morning after spending some alone time with the Lord, we often pray together and sometimes even read Scripture together. This has only served to unify and strengthen our marriage and draw us closer to the Lord.
Don’t let your busy schedule crowd out times of intimacy
If you are anything like us, you have a busy schedule. Your busy schedule is filled with important things that leave very little margin for one another, including those special times of intimacy. Sex is the glue that holds the marriage together. It is an amazing gift of God that is meant to be enjoyed, but frequent sex doesn’t just happen. Husbands and wives need to be intentional (and sometimes even creative) when it comes to finding time for one another.
See Christ as more important than your spouse
Christ is the treasure of all treasures (Matthew 13:44-46). To find Christ is to find the very essence of life and joy and peace. Don’t make an idol out of your spouse. Love them, cherish them, but prize Christ above all else.
Trust God to take care of you
I could share story after story of times where our Heavenly Father has provided for us in amazing ways! There have been many trials and difficulties (see John 16:33) along the way, but the Lord has brought us through every one. In this way, He has taken our faith to a whole new level, such that we can actually praise Him for the trials we go through (James 1:2-4).
Expect your love for one another to grow
When we first got married, it was hard for me to imagine loving my wife any more than I already did. But after 12 years of marriage, I can honestly say that our love for one another continues to grow and multiply. This “growing love” is a wonderful gift of God and can serve as a picture of our love for God. Christians are called to “grow” in their knowledge and love for the Lord Jesus (2 Peter 3:18).
Hang out with other couples
My wife and I have been blessed with several “couple friends” over the years. Some were older than us, and some younger, but these kinds of relationships are special and some even prove to be life-long. Seek to find couples friends who can invest in you and you can invest in them.
This article was originally published on the Gospel Coalition Canada website back in 2018. Here is the link.