by Wendi I., Author of Strength 4 Spouses
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres" (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
First Corinthians, book 13, is one of the most widely recited scriptures in the Bible, most especially in wedding ceremonies. After the wedding day, do we really take these words into consideration throughout our marriage?
Ask any couple that has been married for twenty plus years and they will say “marriage is not easy.” It takes many things including; work, God, respect, compromise, commitment, love, and the list could go on and on. Married couples do not hear much about the very things that could take a wonderful marriage and put it in shambles quickly. The Bible offers a multitude of advice for married couples. Below, we will explore 4 things that can sabotage your marriage and relate it to advice straight from the Bible.
1 - Flirting
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28).
While this may seem innocent at first, it can turn into something later. Flirting with someone when you’re married is a great way to create mistrust with your partner and inspire jealously. When you are married, you are off limits. It’s best to avoid even putting yourself in that type of situation to begin with to protect your marriage.
2 - Lack of Intimacy
“The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).
All marriages need intimacy. It isn’t just about sex, but about touch and affection. The Bible tells us that a man and a woman, when married, “become one flesh.” That didn’t just refer to the bond of a husband and wife. It refers to intimacy with each other and the act of making love. The scripture also mentions the wrongful act of withholding sex from your partner as a punishment. This can deeply affect your marriage.
3 - Lack of Respect
“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband" (Ephesians 5:33).
Respect is defined as a deep admiration of someone. When you respect your spouse and hold him or her in high esteem, you are admiring your spouse for his or her amazing qualities such as; hard work ethic, sacrifices made for the family, accomplishments, and affection. This act of respect should show in your actions, the way you talk to, and the way you treat your spouse. Respect also means carrying yourself in a way that is pleasing to your spouse. When you “respect” your spouse, you consider his or her feelings when you make decisions.
4 - Negative Talk
“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” (Ephesians 4:29).
Every couple has disagreements and that is normal. What is not okay is to talk negatively about your spouse to others, especially online. Seeking counseling and confiding in a professional about your marriage and pertinent issues is the right thing to do. Simply complaining and venting frequently to others is not appropriate. Speaking anything other than positivity and praise over your spouse can damage your relationship and marriage. Not only does negative talk continue to make you think negatively about your spouse, you are also influencing others to see only negative qualities about him or her. Sing the praises of your spouse often and watch how it affects your marriage as well as your spouse in a wonderful way.
No marriage is perfect one hundred percent of the time. When you commit to spend the rest of your life with someone, you commit to cultivating, keeping, and holding dear the precious love you both felt when you recited your vows. That love is as sacred as the first blooming Daffodil of Spring. Daffodils endure a cold and bitter winter, rain, dirt, and some beautiful days, in order to push through the soil, grow, and blossom into a beautiful yellow flower that promises us prettier days ahead. Each year, the roots grow stronger. A marriage requires the same endurance, commitment, and perseverance through all of the ups and downs. If you focus on the scripture above and make sure you are breathing life into your spouse and your marriage, you will surely see the better and brighter days ahead. Through respect, care, intimacy, and praise for your spouse, you can strengthen the roots of your marriage over time.
Wendi has been married to her husband for two years. She has spent the last nine years as an adult educator. Her education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education and she will graduate this May with her Master of Arts in Instructional Technology. She is an Army wife, blogger, workshop presenter, and advisor to military spouses seeking career and education assistance. Wendi is extremely passionate about helping others. She enjoys volunteering and sharing her experiences, insight, resources, and inspirational stories about military life on her blog, Strength4Spouses.