Marriage is one of the most important relationships in life as evidenced by the fact that God himself established the home (Gen. 2). Marriage, however, is not a requirement of redemption. One can be unmarried or married and still be saved eternally. However, if one chooses to marry, there are certain qualities that will enrich the relationship.
In marriage, the husband and wife BELONG TO ONE ANOTHER. When two people marry, all flirtations with others should cease because they have made a commitment to each other to be faithful (1 Cor. 7:4-5; Heb. 13:4). This commitment goes beyond the physical relationship and involves a mutual sharing of joys and sorrows (Rom. 12:15). Even possessions are not a “his and hers” proposition, but of joint ownership.
The husband and wife should truly LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Paul compared it to the love that Christ had for the church when he died for it (Eph. 5:25). It is a love that is ignited, fueled, and fanned by one’s will (1 Cor. 13:4-7). It motivates a person to go to a concert or on a shopping spree with their mate, when they would rather be doing something else. It endures when the excitement of romantic love fades and the responsibilities of family life become mere duty. One young man, whose parents frequently moved due to job responsibilities, remarked to his schoolmates, “We have a home; we just don’t have a house to put it in.” More than likely, genuine love can be found in that home.
Marriage partners need to learn to BE CONTENT WITH ONE ANOTHER. Contentment is a learned attitude, according to Paul (Phil. 4:11). Husbands should be content with the role God has assigned them. They are to be the breadwinners for the family (1 Tim. 5:8). God has appointed them as the head of the home (Eph. 5:23). The husband and father should be the spiritual guide for the entire family (1 Pet. 3:7; Eph. 6:4). Likewise, wives should be content with the role God has given them. Theirs is not an inferior, but a supportive, role (Eph. 5:22, 24; 1 Pet. 3:1-4). As such, they wield tremendous influence. It is through their mothers that men receive the ideals of the past. It is through their wives that men receive inspiration for the present. It is through their daughters that men receive hope for the future. A woman has the unique knack of making the most humble shack a beautiful home. She can make the most common food a sumptuous feast. She can turn the cloudiest day into a beautiful sunset. Contentment is invaluable to the joy experienced in marriage.
The husband and wife should BE OF SPIRITUAL HELP TO ONE ANOTHER. Marrying a Christian is important in being able to accomplish this. Helping one another spiritually along the road to heaven ought to be the goal of every marriage (1 Cor. 7:16). The plot of Ananias and Sapphira might have had a different ending if they had been more concerned about helping one another please God instead of trying to impress men (Acts 5:1-10). Instead they were in collusion in their attempted deception. There is no more beautiful picture than seeing husband and wife serving Jesus together, worshipping together, and praying together. Are you a spiritual complement to your mate?
Husbands and wives need to BE FORGIVING OF ONE ANOTHER. Everyone has weaknesses and will make mistakes. That is only a part of being human. We have a choice in marriage. We can either magnify the weaknesses and mistakes of our mate or we can be willing to forgive and overlook them. True love “…pays no attention to a suffered wrong” (1 Cor. 13:5, Amp). It does not allow a mistake to become a source of irritation that erodes the relationship between husband and wife. Forgiveness lifts the burden of guilt from the soul of the wrongdoer and takes bitterness from the heart of the one who extends it.