It was 34 years ago that I became the happiest guy in the world. I married the most wonderful girl ever! Judy. Through the years we have had both happy and sad times. But we’ve made it together. People ask me how we did it. My only answer has been ‘by the grace of God.’ I can’t guarantee a happy marriage, but I can suggest the best guarantee for one – marry a committed Christian.
Everyone enters marriage hoping their relationship will be a fulfilling and life-long journey. God designed husband and wife to have this kind of relationship. But the first husband and wife had a problem. All human problems, including problems in marriage, are traceable to Adam, who ignored God’s words and willfully broke His command. As a result of Adam’s sin, all mankind was plunged into sin. Jesus Himself said said failed marriages are due to sin (Matthew 19:3-8). Even today, with half of all marriages failing within 10 years, the statistics are frightening.
But this is the opposite of what God wants a marriage to be. God intended marriages to be the most beautiful human relationship. As a matter of fact, He used the husband and wife relationship to describe His Son’s relationship with the church (Ephesians 5:25-31).
The first thing that is wrong with many marriages is the thing that is wrong with all marriages. They involve people who do things wrong and react wrongly. To make a marriage better you need to improve on the individuals. A relationship is no better than the individuals involved in that relationship. Every person that enters a marriage is a sinner and basically selfish.
What can an individual do to override the natural instinct to do wrong? What should a person do when sinfulness is acknowledged?
- Be open with God regarding sin.
- Realize God’s remedy is the cross.
- Trust the truth that Jesus died for your sins and receive Him by personal invitation.
By receiving Christ, a person is born into God’s family through a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit who lives in every believer. That is called the ‘new birth.’
Why is being a Christian the best guarantee for a happy marriage? How does being a Christian help a person have a better marriage?
Though forgiven, a Christian sins. But a Christian marriage is a marriage where the individuals admit they are sinners and understand the problem, know what to do about it, and as a result grow together rather than apart. Notice three significant differences in a Christian marriage:
1. Christians admit their sins.
Because they know that no Christian is ever perfect in this life (1 John 1:8-10), Christians are able to acknowledge the fact and , in time, learn to anticipate and prepare for sin. They, of all persons, should never rely on rationalizations, excuses, or blame-shifting (although as sinners they sometimes do) to try to hide their sins. The do not have to cover up, for all Christians know that all Christians sin. There can be, therefore, a certain amount of openness, honesty, and relaxation about the relationships that Christians sustain to one another, especially in the home. They are not to be relaxed about sin, but they need not spend anxious hours trying to cover their tracks or thinking up ways to deceive. They may freely admit what they know is true: that they have failed to do what God wants. With the freedom to admit the truth comes the possibility of repentance and with repentance they can expect forgiveness and help from God and from one another. Christians can progress rapidly out of sinful living patterns as a result. Rather than wasting time minimizing or denying the fact of sin, Christians can concentrate on dealing with sin.
2. Christians know what to do about their sins.
Because they have the Bible as the standard of faith and practice, Christians not only know why problems occur in marriage but they know what to do about them. Christians can use Biblical teaching and examples successfully to handle and bounce back from every occurrence of sin. The Bible not only contains directions about what to do when one or both individuals in a marriage fall into sin, it goes beyond this and shows what to do to assure that there will be no such future failure.
3. Christians progress out of their sins.
Where there is spiritual life, there also will be spiritual growth. No Christian can remain the same. A fundamental teaching of the Christian faith is that there will be growth out of sin into righteousness. Where there is Bible study, prayer, witness, and the fellowship of other believers, the Spirit of God will be at work to produce His fruit. That fruit is righteousness.
The Christian marriage, then, is a marriage where sinful persons face the problems of a sinful world. Yet, they face them together with God and His resources, which are all centered in Christ (Colossians 2:3). Sinners are part of a Christian marriage, but the sinless Savior is there too. That is what makes the difference!
You can read some of my other articles about marriage: The Best Advice I Ever Got On Marriage, Marriage According to Kids, Marriage Can Be Fun, Balance in Marriage, Romance in the Bible, What should I consider before I get married.