WORKING OUT A STRONG MARRIAGE
Gyms breed fit people. They are the place to go when people want to lose weight and get strong.
However, just because you have a membership to a gym, doesn’t automatically make you fit and strong. Working out requires goal setting, major discipline, dedication, and total concentration. We all know what happens to our bodies when we stop working out and stop caring about what we eat. We become weak and out of shape. But let’s take the example of “working out” and apply it to marriage.
What kind of workouts are you doing to make your marriage stronger?
The Bible has some very profound advice and sound treatments that (if put into practice) can build a strong and lasting marriage.
Exercises for a Strong Marriage
The first essential exercise for any good marriage is to make a covenant with God. Paul states, in Ephesians 5:21, “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” It is God who has united the husband and wife as one flesh. The marriage is not to be the idol, but rather, a tool for God to use to bring Him glory (Gen. 2:24). When the married couple exercises God into their relationship—their marriage will not be easily broken (Ecc. 4:12).
The second essential exercise is companionship. Marriage is a shared relationship between the husband and the wife. It is a relationship that has collective responsibilities designed to cultivate intimacy and respect. The couple not only spends time together but also shares everything together. Think of it as best friends. Best friends don’t put each other down. They seek to build each other up. Paul writes, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29). Thus, companionship requires trust, love, forgiveness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.
The third essential exercise to work out in marriage is commitment. All strong marriages exercise faithfulness and purity in their relationships. Without question, every single marriage will have its ups and downs. But God has called each marriage to remain committed and will give them the strength to overcome any trial or testing (1 Cor. 10:13). The bottom line is if any marriage is expected to last, the married couple must surrender everything and be willing to do anything to keep the trust and commitment strong.
A key to commitment is the willingness to change. As the relationship evolves, couples will learn to let go of or remove certain things that can be detrimental to the marriage. Selfishness, greed, lust, defensiveness, lying, fear, rejection, distrust, and regrets must all be stripped away. Paul commanded, “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry” (Col. 3:5). Every marriage must “work off” any weight of idolatry. It won’t be easy. But if a couple wants to stay committed to each other, then they must stay committed to working hard to avoid anything that might compromise or jeopardize the marriage.
Covenant, companionship, and commitment are all essential exercises that will strengthen a marriage. Any honest spouse will tell you that arguing and fighting never leads to a stronger marriage. But instead, a marriage only gets stronger the more the husband and wife work out their issues in light of the love and grace of Christ (Phil. 2:1-5).
Below is a list of biblical exercises that will make you grow towards a stronger marriage.
- Exercise #1 – Marriages need to work out staying united (Gen. 2:22-24).
- Exercise #2 – Marriages need to work out letting nothing come between them (Matt. 19:4-6).
- Exercise #3 – Marriages need to work out honoring the covenant (Heb. 13:4).
- Exercise #4 – Marriages need to work out submitting to their spouses in the fear of God (Eph. 5:21).
- Exercise #5 – Marriages need to work out their marital duties (1 Cor. 7:1-16) in Christ’s love (1 Cor. 13).
- Exercise #6 – Wives need to work out submitting and respecting their husbands in obedience to Christ (Eph. 5:22-24; Col. 3:18).
- Exercise #7 – Wives need to work out their character (Pro. 19:14; 31:10-31).
- Exercise #8 – Husbands need to work out loving their wives as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25-33; 1 Pet. 3:7).
- Exercise #9 – Husbands need to work out cherishing and being satisfied with their wives (Pro. 5:18-19; 12:4; 18:22; 31:10-31).
- Exercise #10 – Marriages need to work out being kind, compassionate, and forgiving to one another (Eph. 4:32; cf. Rom. 12:9-21).
- The Marriage You Always Wanted, Bible Study (Gary Chapman)
- The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God (Timothy and Kathy Keller)
- FamilyLife Bible Study for Couples (Dennis and Barbara Rainey)
- Love and Respect for a Lifetime (Emerson Eggerich)