Does your Christian marriage need help? If so, take a few minutes to step back and consider this basic Christian marriage advice - straight from the Bible.
1. Give Your Marriage to God
Most "Christian marriages" are Christian in name only. One or both spouses claim to be Christians, and they assume then that their marriage is likewise "Christian." It doesn't work that way. To be a Christian is to be not only a believer in, but also a follower of Jesus Christ. Does your marriage truly believe in Christ? Does your family follow Christ?
The first thing you must do is dedicate (or re-dedicate) your marriage and family to God. Put your marriage on the altar. Give it to God. Don't try to "control" your marriage or your spouse. Give it all to God. From this day forward, your marriage must be God's marriage.
2. Re-commit Yourself to God
Before you re-commit your marriage to God, you may need to do that with your own life. In fact, we should put ourselves on the altar each day (Romans 12:1-3). Are you living for yourself? Are you trying to make yourself happy and/or expecting your spouse to make you happy?
As bestselling author and pastor Rick Warren puts it: "You were made by God and for God, and until you understand that, life will never make sense." Give God back the keys to your life. Give Him control.
3. Pray Without Ceasing
Prayer is not so much about petitioning God and asking Him for things. It's about spending time with God and bringing yourself into a deeper relationship with Him. Truly effective prayer is not possible until you have done the preceding step, which is to give yourself to God. Once you've done that, pray without ceasing.
Pray. Pray. Pray. Never stop praying. Pray in the morning, during the day, and at night. Pray while you're driving. Pray in the good times and in the bad times. And, right now, if you're trying to put your marriage back together, then pour yourself out to God every day (as David does in the Psalms). Give all your burdens, cares, and stresses to the Lord.
4. Love Your Spouse Unconditionally
This is the tough part. You must love your husband or wife unconditionally. (Side note: If you are in an abusive relationship, especially one that is putting you in danger, get out of the house and seek help! You should still love your spouse, but you don't need to put yourself in any more danger). Assuming that you are not in any physical danger, you must commit to loving your spouse unconditionally - and expressing that love in consistent, practical ways.
If you want to know about unconditional love, consider the example of Jesus. You should also read I Corinthians 13. By putting these four principles into practice, you will see positive results in your Christian marriage.
Rev. Brian Tubbs is the author and course manager for ChristianMarriageHelper.com and the Feature Columnist-Editor for Protestantism at Suite101.com. He is also a pastor who lives with his wife and children in southwestern Ohio.