The world we live in today is full of wars and tragedies. Almost every facet of life, including marriage is under one form of attack or another. The world has come to scorn the great institution of marriage, which is God’s creation. After creation, God did not like the fact that man was lonely and so decided to give him a companion.
“And the Lord said, it is not good for man to be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept and He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made He a woman and brought her unto the man.” Genesis 2:18, 21-22.
Unfortunately, today’s man has shown little regard for marriage. What we see today is divorce at an alarming rate. Worse still, even some spurn the institution, preferring not to marry at all but yet cohabit in flagrant violation of the will of God. Furthermore, the devil has upped its game against marriage by introducing the most reprehensible onslaught so far through same sex marriage.
Nevertheless, marriage remains what it was originally meant to be, an honourable institution (Hebrews 13:4) created by God for companionship and procreation. Every Christian couple is under obligation to ensure that their marriage does not come under the slammer of the devil. In doing this, they are expected to shield their marriage with amour plates and conduct themselves in a manner that will block the devil from having access.
Christ, the Foundation
The surest way to bulletproof your marriage from collapse is to found it on Christ.
“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…” Hebrews 12:2
You must start right with Him, stay in Him through trust, prayer and application of the Word of God. You must learn to anchor on God. When you make Christ the foundation of your marriage, you will be able to surmount whatever storms that may threaten your marriage.
Stand by Each Other
Learn to stand by each other in thick or thin. Remember, your vow is unconditional, it for better for worse. So, do not allow anything to come in-between you. Liken your marriage to what Paul said in Romans 8:35-39. Certainly, nothing should separate you from the love of your spouse despite challenges that may crop up now and then. Knowing that you are always there in the midst of challenges is additional amour to fight through.
You should not be overly critical of your spouse. Stop harping on his shortcomings. You have to accept him for whom he is and if there is anything about him that needs to be changed, it can only be done gradually by patient tutoring and prayer. Also, applaud or celebrate your spouse for little successes; that will motivate him to make more efforts to overcome weaknesses.
Never make the mistake of comparing your spouse with other people. Remember, you are married to him and to no other. Such comparisons mean only one thing: Regret. How do you expect happiness from a spouse you are not happy with but rather regret not marrying Mr. or Mrs. Jones? Worse still, you make your feelings barefaced by your open comparisons. That is a sure way of opening your flanks for the devil to gain an inroad. There is only one option left for you: Block that access; no comparisons, especially negative ones.
So often, we tend to make presumptions that eventually backfire. We feel our spouses ought to have known certain things and when they come out short, we rant and rave unjustly. Well, it is wrong to assume that your spouse should have known this or that. Considering that you are coming from different backgrounds and probably different statuses or culture as well, it is apparent that you may view things differently and the only way to get the best out of your spouse is to tell him what you want.
One other means to bulletproof your marriage is by being a good listener and communicator. You must pay rapt attention to what your partner is saying. This is especially so for husbands. You must not trifle with her emotions by fiddling with your television channels or being listless when she is talking to you. Even if her chatter is uninteresting, still go through all the motions of listening and contribute where necessary. Also, recognise the power of talk and so, make sure to discuss everything, affecting your marriage with your spouse. There should be no holds barred. Call a peace conference whenever there are issues to be sorted out and it should be between you too; no third parties allowed, please.
Once in a while, it is necessary to give your spouse a gift. It does not have to be expensive but it goes a long way to show that you care. Also learn to compliment each other. When your spouse dresses well, say so as much you would take exception when she does not turn out nice.
You must recognise that marriage is a life devoted to serving each other. So, learn to do things for each other. There is nothing like saying as the head of the house, certain duties are off limits for you. No, help your wife when necessary with household chores and caring for the baby. Of course, the wife should reciprocate by doing things for her husband too, such as washing his clothes, etc.
Disagree to Agree, Be Fair in War
Even the teeth sometimes disagree with the tongue to the point of drawing blood. But they have mastered the art of remaining together in one mouth, complementing each other. So it is with marriage. It is not lovey dovey affair all the time. Sometimes, it gets too tasking and frustrating you are tempted to take a walk. No, don’t do that. Before you do, ask your tongue and teeth how they have been able to manage their crises. Whenever there is disagreement, make up as quickly as possible. Even during such heated moment, be careful of what you say, as some couples have been known to act in most irrational way or said hurtful things, thus bringing down the marriage without intending to. So, be fair in war, bearing in mind that there no trophy to be won.
Integrate with In-laws
In-laws could be a pain in the neck but you must manage to live with them. They are indispensable members of the family that must be accepted and shown respect. If they are not well managed, in-laws can cause incalculable damage to your marriage. Accept them but draw a reasonable no-cross-line where only you and your spouse matter. One truth you must never forget is that your spouse first belonged to that family before your arrival and will remain there even if you choose to leave. Therefore, integrate yourself fast; it is in your best interest that you do.
Physical intimacy bonds; it is a healer. Show me a sexless marriage and I will show you a dead or dying marriage. Some Christians are too holy that the talk of sex is repulsive. But this is borne out of ignorance because God authored and approved of physical intimacy between a man and his wife.
“And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not naked.” Genesis 2:25.
Therefore, you must not run away from your sexuality simply because you are Christians. It is nothing to be ashamed of as long as it is with your marriage partner.
“Drink waters out of thine own cistern and running waters out thine own well” Proverbs 5:15.
Physical intimacy is God’s invention but only designed to be enjoyed within the confines of marriage. Now that you are married, you need not be reluctant to express yourself sexually to your spouse. Enjoy as much physical intimacy as you desire and discuss it frankly. You should be open to your spouse about your feelings, desires and preferences.
“Let her (your spouse) be as loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times and be thou ravished always with her love” Proverbs 5:19.
A lot of times, couples make the mistake of threatening their partners with divorce. This is very wrong because it makes the victim-partner feel unsure of the marriage. This insecure feeling does not do the marriage any good and if care is not taken, it would degenerate to the point the devil would take advantage and disintegrate the union.
Model for Kids
When you realise that your children are emulating every of your steps, you will be more careful with your words and actions. If you are quarrelsome, be you are raising a generation of quarrelsome children. Therefore, couples need to live exemplary lifestyles for their children. By so doing, they would be protecting their marriage.
Offences do occur but must never be allowed to destroy the marriage. The offended partner must be forgiving and the offending partner should not find it difficult to apologise. Unforgiving spirit is dangerous and harmful to any fruitful Christian union. As a Christian, you are under obligation to forgive each other’s offences. Failure to do that will not only put your marriage at risk but endanger your heavenly race.
The present age is one of sexual laxity. Promiscuity is being rewarded with badges of approval by a world gone awry. It is getting increasingly more difficult to avoid getting stained or trapped in the web of sexual looseness. However, Christians are exempted from such madness. Even though the world considers this as old fashioned, you must remain faithful to your marriage vows by resisting temptations of sexual sin with all the vigour you can muster. The repercussions for failing in this task are grave. Even if your spouse does not see you, God does.
“And why my son, wilt thou be ravished with a strange woman and embrace bosom with a stranger? For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord…” Proverbs 5:20-21.
Of course, the day the devil exposes your evil deed; your marriage may collapse apart from other crises your indiscretions will bring into your life.
“For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb and her mouth is sweeter than oil. But her end is bitter than wormwood, sharp as two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.” Proverbs 5:3-5.