No one would argue that the institution of marriage is in trouble today. The divorce rate is off the charts. Couples married for years are getting divorced or separated. I am even shocked at the number of couples in the ministry who are struggling with their marriage relationship. Most of the time you don’t see their problems until it is unavoidable in becoming public.
And that is just in what we can actually see. I think that there are many more marriages struggling that we don’t know about. Maybe a couple stays together because of a church position like a pastor. Or maybe they stay together to protect their pride and reputation. Regardless of the actual reasons for keeping a marriage together in public, they are broken and hurting in private. Eventually, those problems come out of hiding, whether it is to the children who are close to it or the general public in an explosive reveal.
It’s the heartbreaking loss of a beautiful love that becomes a news cycle within the circle of people that we know. Have you heard that they are no longer together? No, wait, you mean that couple? You can’t ignore marriage problems and expect them to get better on their own. Nor can you neglect your marriage relationship and expect to stay happily married. You may be happy for a time, but that neglect will show itself.
Obviously, God didn’t intend for your marriage to just exist. No, God means for your marriage to thrive and for you to stay madly in love for a lifetime. So let’s find God’s prescription for a hurting marriage.
Table of Contents
God’s Prescription for a Hurting Marriage
- Laugh Often Together
- Give Good Reviews
- Make Your Marriage a Ministry
1. Laugh Often Together
I have to admit that this is a prescription that has been hard for my wife and me to take lately. There are things about life that are sometimes hard to understand and accept. It’s the kind of thing that you can’t really share with people. Also, you may know that my nephew Jack was killed by a reckless driver a couple of months back. This makes most of the things we do in life seem so frivolous. The bottom line is, we have not laughed very much lately. But that doesn’t change the value of it.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
It’s an old saying that is actually backed by the Bible. If your marriage is hurting, laughing is like a medication that heals those hurts. Listen to what God says about it.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.Proverbs 17:22
And not just laughing in general, but laughing together brings healing to the hurts of your marriage. Sometimes, Amber and I talk about our honeymoon, which, looking back, had a lot of laughable moments! For example, I was going to be romantic by carrying her over the threshold of the door into our hotel room on our first night together. Instead, I violently slammed her head against the door frame! We both grew up in strict homes and instead of being romantic, I was just clumsy and awkward. We had no idea what we were doing! It’s OK though because we loved each other. And eventually, I learned to not be like Hagar the Horrible! These memories are the kinds of things that make us laugh together.
Laughing together is like a medicine that heals the hurts in your marriage. The memories of those funny moments, make your life together more meaningful and intimate.
[bctt tweet=”Laughter is like a glue that makes your relationship stick together.”]
I am not talking about being silly all the time, but taking the time as a couple to enjoy each other’s company. It makes all the difference in the world to your relationship.
Laughter is Intimate
There is something intimate for a man and woman to laugh together. It’s like you are making a connection with each other that takes your relationship to a deeper level. If my wife and I were struggling in our relationship and I saw her laughing with another man, it would make me feel cheated. That’s because laughing together is one of the most intimate things you can do!
In a 2015 behavioral study for the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, Laura E. Kurtz and Sara B. Algoe, studied 71 heterosexual couples in regards to laughter and relationship well being. The results were overwhelming, the couples who laughed simultaneously, measured with the best relationship quality, closeness, and social support. No surprise for the Christian here, “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine!”
Maybe we should just say that the couple who laughs together, stays together! If you can learn how to laugh together, you can make your marriage relationship deeper and more meaningful.
Laughing provokes so many personal emotions. And to share that laughing together is incredibly intimate. It’s like opening up the windows to your soul, and letting your lover see YOU!
Have Fun Together
Usually, the things that make us laugh together are the funny things that have happened to us. That’s why it is so important to have fun together. Do things alone, so that you will have those fun moments to relive later. It’s a shame that the only moments like that many people have are in their dating life before they were married. But you should be making those memories all throughout your life together.
After you have been married for a while, it takes a concerted effort to develop moments that are fun. But if you want to have a better marriage, you must make time for these things. You have to create those fun moments by spending quality time together.
To be completely honest, marriage is like being on a roller coaster. You have these awesome times when the thrill of the ride just takes your breath away. And then there are times when you are just on the ride and nothing really exciting is happening. You need those thrilling moments to fall back on when nothing really exciting is happening. If you don’t make those moments together, you won’t have them to rely on in the downtimes. So make those fun moments with each other.
Let me put it another way.
[bctt tweet=”Marriage is filled with ups and downs. Learn to relish the “ups” so that when the “downs” come, you can relive those “up” moments.”]
2. Give Good Reviews
You may know that I recently published a book, and it’s available on Amazon.com. You may not know that I am also writing another book about marriage that will be coming out next year. In the process, I have learned the importance of reviews when you are considering an online purchase. I guess I never really thought about it before, but those reviews influence your purchase, especially negative ones. If you buy things online, I am sure you have had the same experience of being influenced by the reviews of other people.
Your voice about your experience with a book or item can influence other people who may be considering buying it. Unfortunately, we leave a lot of negative reviews about God, and you don’t even have to log in to a website to do it. You just have to say your star rating out loud to the people you know.
Complaining is Like Writing a Negative Review of God
The Bible tells the story of the nation of Israel’s escape from Egyptian bondage and their journey to the promised land of Canaan. In Numbers 11, the people complained about how God was taking care of them. They even complained about the amazing Manna that he was miraculously providing for them. As a result, God killed some of them, and even miraculously gave the people quail to eat. So much so, that they would be sick of eating it. Their complaining made God angry.
When you complain about your marriage or the things you are going through, you are not really complaining about those situations, you are complaining about the God who is allowing you to experience those things.
It’s like you are giving God a 1-star review because you don’t like what is going on in your life. It’s like when you go to Amazon.com and see the image of a book and beside it a star rating. When the people around you see the image of you, right beside it is the star rating that you are giving God as the author of your life. I can barely give my life 1 star because it really stinks right now. Is that what people see your review of your life?
Choose to Focus on the Good in Your Marriage
The dirty secret is that every marriage has problems from time to time. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. Sometimes, you can’t help or change the problems that come up in your marriage. But you can change the way that you look at those problems.
I have found that when I am unhappy in my marriage, I am focused on my own happiness. If I instead focus on bringing joy to my spouse I find true joy in marriage
[bctt tweet=”Love is not about you being made happy, but in seeking to make your spouse happy.”]
But you can find things in your marriage that are great even when you may be struggling. The key is to focus on the good parts while you work on fixing the broken ones. Once you locate the parts of your marriage that is not such a struggle, you can fully enjoy those parts while you work on the others.
Learn how to make your review of your marriage 5 stars!
For example, you may be unhappy with the amount of time you spend together. This happens a lot after you have kids. So you can talk to your spouse about making more time for each other, while you take advantage of the small amount of time that you have now.
Here’s another example. Sometimes after having children, women instinctively extend their mothering to their husbands. This really makes men unhappy. After all, if they wanted another mother, they would have just stayed with the one they had! The solution is to sit down and talk to your wife about the way she is treating you, but while you are working to resolve that problem, enjoy the good parts of your marriage. By the way, ignoring problems in your marriage won’t make them disappear.
How about this example? A wife may commonly complain that her husband is not being romantic. Instead of assuming your husband can read your mind, talk to him about some practical things he can do that are romantic. While you are at it, make the best of the little romance that you do have. And here is an amazing tip for you and your relationship with your husband, make a big deal when he tries to be romantic, This will condition him to keep doing it!
3. Make Your Marriage a Ministry
Ministry is competitive. It seems weird to say it, but it’s true. People long for a chance to have their name on some meaningful ministry sign. Maybe it’s pride, the need to feel important or to leave a legacy that motivates people. But they will fight, destroy churches, and ruin personal relationships all for the shot of having their own ministry. I don’t mean to sound cynical, it’s just the way things are in the world.
What makes it so outrageous is the small ministry that Jesus had on this earth. He had the 12 disciples and a few close friends that He ministered to. Even his own family, with the exception of his mom and half-brother James, distanced themselves from Him. He would literally go into a town to minister to 1 person!
The thing is, people miss the opportunities to minister that are right in front of them.
[bctt tweet=”It’s like you are looking so hard for something great, that you miss the simple things right in front of you.”]
Marriage Is a Ministry
The Bible alludes to it in I Corinthians 7:33, But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. And again in I Corinthians 7:34c, but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband. This is your first and most important ministry on this earth. To minister to the needs of your spouse.
[bctt tweet=”By maintaining a good relationship with your spouse, you are doing the will of God for your life. And it’s a very important ministry.”]
Look at your marriage as a ministry. You have this opportunity to minister to each other and serve the Lord together! So don’t miss it. Unfortunately, a lot of Christians are missing it today.
Your marriage relationship is in the condition it’s in because you have neglected the ministry of marriage that God has given you.
Apply the Ministry of Reconciliation to Your Marriage
God offers this world forgiveness and reconciliation through the free gift of salvation. It’s a relationship that He gives and a constant restoration that He offers the believing sinner. The following are the direct words of scripture that outline this:
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.II Corinthians 5:18-19
It’s the same way in marriage. You can offer the ministry of reconciliation to your spouse. When your relationship is on the rocks so to speak, you can offer them forgiveness and restoration. Always be ready to restore the relationship in your marriage. Even when you mess up, your marriage can be restored to an even better condition. It gives you the opportunity to show the love of Christ to your spouse. This doesn’t mean that they are not held accountable for their actions, but that you are willing to love and restore that relationship.
God’s Prescription for a Hurting Marriage
- Laugh Often Together
- Give Good Reviews
- Make Your Marriage a Ministry