A compatible Christian marriage partner is one whose core beliefs closely match those of their mate. In Amos 3:3, the prophet asks an important question, "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" Too often couples marry for reasons other than compatibility. If couples fail to discuss where they stand as individuals on important spiritual matters which can make or break a marriage, then there is bound to be trouble down the road. A prime example is a husband who may not be as committed to Christ as a devout wife. The wife may be dedicated to serving in the local assembly and religiously active in attending Bible studies, volunteering for auxiliaries, or spending regular time in prayer. But her husband's lack of commitment, evidenced in poor church attendance, a disinterest in Biblical education and a non-existent prayer life, can destroy marital harmony, A devout Christian marriage partner may spend years trying to push, pull and prod their mate to join in regular worship, family devotions, or just to become the spiritual head of the household. However, unless the Spirit of God intervenes by bringing the spouse to engage in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the two will never walk together in total agreement.
Spouses have the responsibility of understanding the individual roles which must be played in making the union succeed and diligently implementing Biblical principles to fulfill those God-given responsibilities. For couples who want a marriage made in Heaven, Ephesians 5:21-33 give some good guidelines. God fashioned the natural relationship between the husband and wife after the spiritual relationship between Christ and the Church, His Bride. And in either relationship, love should be the motivating factor. "Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband" (Ephesians 5:33). As each Christian marriage partner is led by the Spirit of God and seeks to respond in love, the marriage will blossom and become an example to believers and non-believers alike who desire a more perfect marital union.
The ideal Christian marriage partner is therefore, one who is first, fully committed to Christ and values building a consistent and continual relationship with God on a personal level. Rather than professing to be a Christian in name only, or making half-hearted attempts to attend church just to appease a disgruntled spouse; devoted partners must make a concerted effort to place God in the center of the marriage: "And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a three fold cord is not quickly broken" (Ecclesiastes 4:12). By willingly giving God a key role as part of a tightly woven threefold cord intertwined in love, Christian couples have the assurance that the marriage is secure and that all major decisions in the relationship are governed by God. Each Christian marriage partner has the responsibility of seeking guidance and direction from the Holy Spirit individually; so that when the two come together, they can reach a commonality that is uncommon in marriages today. The common denominator of Jesus Christ enables couples to become one, not only in body, but also in soul and in spirit. Oneness cultivated in an intimate bond empowers couples to resist the temptation to separate or divorce, especially during times of sickness, infirmity, or economic woe. Faith-filled husbands and wives can become fortified and strengthened as they discover how to cleave together in difficult situations and face adversity and every enemy as one.
The main foe today's typical Christian marriage partner faces is selfishness, the bane of any marriage bond. Spouses who become self-centered and self-absorbed lack the capacity to be sensitive to the needs of others. After years of being married, husbands and wives may grow apart and begin to build more satisfying relationships with close friends or coworkers. But the moment that being with another individual outside of wedlock begins to be more fulfilling than time spent with a spouse, there needs to be some deep soul-searching, prayer and repentance. Honestly assessing hindrances to marital intimacy may help couples come to grips about each other's shortcomings, rather than seeking fulfillment elsewhere. An anecdote for the spirit of selfishness is the spirit of giving, which can only come through Christ. The Christian marriage partner who places a priority on a spouse's needs will seek first, to please God and to give 100% of them selves to the relationship. As they both acknowledge and affirm a love for God, husbands and wives will be motivated to freely express affection for one another in physical intimacy and in loving companionship, which cannot be easily broken by others. Husbands and wives should be best friends, chief confidantes, and eternal lovers; vowing to keep everyone and everything else from infringing upon the wonderful gift of holy matrimony.
A devoted Christian marriage partner will constantly work on improving the union by striving to maintain a close relationship with God and their spouse. A deep prayer life, regular church attendance and consistent Bible study, plus an effort to keep the lines of communication open between the believer and God and between husbands and wives is one surefire way to keep couples out of the divorce courts. While as a sacred institution, matrimony wages an ongoing battle against proponents of civil and same sex unions; believers whose hearts remain open to hear God and to receive instruction will surely overcome any obstacle to enduring happiness. An overwhelming love for Jesus Christ and for one's mate keeps the heart and spirit open to receive healing, forgiveness, and all the blessings that God has in store for those who trust Him.
Christian Marriage RelationshipA fulfilling Christian marriage relationship helps build strong families, strong churches and a strong nation. In modern society there is perhaps no other alliance so crucial to the perpetuation of the human race than marriage. In spite of secular humanistic beliefs about how a traditional family is defined, God's word is clear: marriage was ordained between a man and a woman, two genetically different halves of one complete unit. According to Malachi 2:5, God created the male and female so that they might produce a godly seed, one which not only personified His attributes, but also one with whom He could fellowship on earth. "And did not He make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That He might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth" (Malachi 2:15). Even after the Fall of man, God never deviated from His original intent. And each time a couple that has singly given their lives to Jesus Christ comes together in holy matrimony, the Lord waits with anticipation and expectation for that godly seed to come forth, perpetuating the likeness of Christ in human flesh. The Christian marriage relationship, therefore, is a vehicle for holiness, righteousness and genuine love to become a constant mainstay of our modern society. As couples united in Christ reproduce after their own kind, the light and love of Almighty God is released into the earth, shining brightly to draw the un-regenerated souls of men.
Because a successful Christian union is so crucial to the perpetuation of a strong family unit, Satan has made holy matrimony a prime target. He continually tries to entice, seduce, convince and coerce married men and women to abandon their wedding vows for forbidden fruit. And once those vows have been broken, he succeeds in filling the innocent but rejected spouse with bitterness, resentment, and hurt. The resulting alienation of affections usually winds up in divorce, leaving in its wake another dysfunctional, fatherless family. Statistics indicate that divorce among believers outnumbers those among unbelievers. While some may cite reasons to choose separation and divorce, the main reason may be that believers do not understand the value or the power that a positive Christian marriage relationship plays in society and in the kingdom of heaven.
While believers are quick to apply the principle of agreement as outlined in Matthew 18:18-19 to relationships between friends, church members, or coworkers; they fail to see that this principle can be applied to marriage, and it defeats the devil every time. A breach occurs in a Christian marriage relationship when couples refuse to agree. But without a disagreement, there can be no argument. And without an argument, there can be no lasting anger. Without prolonged and persistent anger, there can be no lack of forgiveness. And when husbands and wives cease to get angry and harbor bitterness, then there will be no need for divorce lawyers. If couples strive to maintain a spirit of agreement in every decision, then there will be no room to disagree. What believers fail to realize is that God wants to partner with them to create a bond that is mutually fulfilling. Even couples in a Christian marriage relationship that are contemplating separation or divorce can find solutions if they go to God. Believers can either solicit the services of the local pastor or faith-based counselor, or simply find a quiet place to join in sincere prayer, that the Lord may bring reconciliation and restore the love and communication that was once part of the bond.
Sounds too simple? God is a simple, but awesome God. Unlike humans who have difficulty grasping the meaning of an abstract concept called love, the Lord is succinct when He outlines requirements for marital harmony. Studying key passages, such as I Corinthians, chapter 7 or Ephesians, chapter 5 will help rebuild a Christian marriage relationship that is on the brink of annihilation. Troubled couples must draw upon their faith and submit themselves to the will of God, which is rarely divorce; so that He may interject a renewed love into what may seem like a hopeless situation. There are no bounds to God's unlimited reserves of wise and loving counsel; and His hourly fee is absolutely free of charge. A broken bond can be restored through the omnipotent power of God, as husbands and wives place their union in His hands.
However, before reconciliation can come, pride, hurt, resentment, and a lack of forgiveness must be done away with. Partners who sincerely desire to see their Christian marriage relationship restored must also resolve to bury those things which hindered the union from fulfilling the true purpose of God. It may seem impossible, but old wounds can heal and broken hearts can be mended. The following is a prayer which holds a promise of renewed love: "Father God, I know that your word explicitly states that you hate divorce, or putting away. We admit to you that we have contemplated divorce, even though we have knowledge of your will and your word. We come together now in a spirit of agreement and we divorce ourselves from our will and our way, so that you may now come in the midst of our Christian marriage relationship and begin the process of renewal. We forgive one another and we vow never to discuss painful or hurtful events that might re-open old wounds. We ask that you give us patience with one another, as love, trust, faith, and mutual fidelity are restored once again. In Jesus' name we pray, amen. After praying, couples should graciously and patiently allow the Holy Spirit to govern the tongue, guide the heart and renew the marriage in love.