Keys To A Successful Christian Marriage

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There are seven major keys to a successful Christian marriage: faith in God, mutual love, mutual respect, the ability to forgive, the ability to communicate, physical intimacy, and a sense of strong family values. While the divorce rate among believer and non-believers has topped the 50 percent mark, it may be encouraging to know that there are 50 percent of Christians who are determined to stay married. Of that fifty percent, those who wage a constant battle against the attack on the family do so because they are firmly rooted and grounded in the Word of God or staunch in core Christian beliefs. Couples who succeed at marriage have a strong faith in the Creator and Founder of holy matrimony. They willingly yield their hearts, minds, bodies and souls to abide by the scriptures and are not eager to find a way out of wedlock or search for scriptural loopholes. These still-married husbands and wives have discovered the keys to a successful Christian marriage; and it begins with an all consuming, unwavering faith in God.

Strong believers who are staunch in the Christian faith can stand any storm, even when the winds of discord or disharmony threaten to beat against their house. Couples who share a common belief system are less likely to tuck in their tail and run when the enemy comes in bringing a flood of marital woes like infidelity, joblessness, or chronic illness. Faith-filled believers are bold soldiers, prayer warriors, and infantrymen who have learned how to tenaciously hold onto God and to each other through every adversity. They do so because not only because of a trust in God, but also an understanding of the sanctity and purpose for holy matrimony. Believers who are strong in the faith have discovered that the keys to a successful Christian marriage include a personal conviction in the power of God to bring them through any situation.

Of the keys to a successful Christian marriage of the utmost importance is mutual love. Without husbands and wives having the same love towards each other, there is no way that a marriage can last. The word mutual implies that love is directed and received in equal amounts, or possessed in common. Husbands and wives who genuinely love do not have to bear the burden of a lopsided relationship. They work equally hard to maintain a closeness, investing time, energy, and emotions into meeting a spouse's needs. Having a mutual love ensures that each partner gives 100 percent to the relationship. Through sickness and health, poverty and wealth couples who cherish each another form that impenetrable bond that outlasts those who only love halfheartedly or conditionally.

From a mutual love flows a mutual respect as husbands and wives refrain from causing a spouse undue embarrassment, pain or anguish. Included in the keys to a successful Christian marriage, mutual respect is both learned and earned. In other words, couples don't always know how to reverence their mates; but as partners put their best face forward on a daily basis, mutual respect is a natural outcome. Husbands and wives should learn how to respect their respective positions, privacy, and personality. God has given ordained positions to husbands and wives that must be acknowledged if the marriage is to succeed. A wise wife will acknowledge the husband as a natural and spiritual head of household, recognizing that he is entitled to a certain amount of privacy as long as it does not violate the marriage bond. Similarly, a husband should allow the wife to develop intellectually and spiritually, becoming the woman God has ordained as the Holy Spirit equips the man to lead. One of the keys to a successful Christian marriage is allowing a mate the liberty to excel as an individual.

Many marriages fail because of an inability to forgive; but in spite of the hurt or wounds inflicted by spouses, the love of God compels Christians to forego bitterness, resentment or strife and allow love to cover even a multitude of sins. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins (I Peter 4:8). In addition to having an ability to love and forgive, compassionate couples have long discovered that the keys to a successful Christian marriage include communication and sexual intimacy. Partners who spend time talking and listening intently may enjoy a better intimate relationship! Because the art of listening is skillfully employed, there is no threat of sending mixed signals that can sometimes cause a disconnection in the bedroom. As men discover how to listen without being distant or overly critical and women learn when to speak and when to be silent; the marriage bond can be significantly strengthened.

Lastly, the keys to a successful Christian marriage include having a sense of strong family values. Husbands and wives who profess a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ or an abiding faith in the Word of God are likely to survive the holocaust of divorce because of an understanding of the Father's purpose for wedlock and procreation. "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).

A born-again husband knows his position in Christ and strives to fulfill it by leading a wife and children in natural and spiritual matters. A God-fearing man reverences the Lord Jesus Christ and respects the marriage bond so much that there is no temptation that will drive him in the arms of another woman. A faith-filled father's goal is to raise sons and daughters in the nurture and admonishment of the Lord as a holy seed to the glory of God. The Christ-like man entreats the wife as a queen, loving, adoring, protecting and providing for her as an example to his children, the church and the world at large.

Intimacy In Christian Marriage

The question of what constitutes intimacy in Christian marriage is often asked by couples who want to enjoy the pleasures of marital life, but still uphold biblical principles. "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4). That statement is easily misinterpreted, but its original intent is clear: the state of a Christian marriage is honourable, defined in the Greek as "timiotatos," or valuable, honored, esteemed costly, precious, or had in reputation. The English dictionary also defines the word honorable as worthy of reward, privilege, or distinction. But, Hebrews 13:4 also states that whoremongers, those who traffic or trade in prostitution, and adulterers, people who engage in illicit sex outside of marriage, will be judged by God. Intimacy in Christian marriage, therefore, should be valued, held in high regard and esteemed most precious.

Many Christians erroneously believe that when it comes to intimacy in Christian marriage, Hebrews 13:4 advocates husbands and wives performing any act they choose, including anal and oral sex. But God is a holy God and as such, His requirements for the conduct of husbands and wives in the bedroom are also holy. He created male and female for pleasure; however the Bible forbids lewd and lascivious behavior especially in holy matrimony. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any" (I Corinthians 6:9-12).

Intimacy in Christian marriage, therefore, should not be based on fleshly lusts which overpower mind, body and soul, but genuine love. When a Christian husband and wife come together sexually, though pleasurable, the act encompasses two individuals becoming one in body, soul and spirit. When non-believers are intimate, husbands and wives share one anothers bodies in the physical act of intercourse. They also engage in an interchange of the soul, which is the seat of the emotions. But, when two believers come together, there is not only the union of body and soul, but also an interchange in the spirit. The mind, the body, the soul and the spirit engage in an intimacy in Christian marriage that supersedes a mere physical act relegated to sexual gratification alone.

"Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's" (I Corinthians 6:15-20). The difference between non-believers having sex and believers making love under the headship of Jesus Christ is that intimacy in Christian marriage in the presence of the Holy Spirit extends beyond the bedroom. Their very private and personal union, based on an individual spiritual intimacy with God, becomes an expression of genuine love, which not only solidifies the marriage but also provides the basis for longevity and a foundation on which to build a family.

So does intimacy in Christian marriage require Bible-believing couples to refrain from certain sexual practices in the privacy of the bedroom? The answer is yes; godly character requires godliness, even in the confines of holy matrimony. Godliness does not negate pleasure, but it does negate lustfulness and practices that illicit "unlawful" sexual behavior. Pornography, or the depiction of erotic behavior intended to cause sexual excitement, is prohibited in a godly union. So-called "hard" or "soft" porn is a portal through which believers should not enter because it opens the eye gate to view erotic acts. Once the eyes have looked upon the naked and lewd behavior of actors and actresses engaged in sex, the mind conceives lust, and it is just a matter of time that an impure lustful thought will bring forth sin. "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren" (James 1:14-16).

As couples yield to the Holy Spirit, He is well able to guide them towards mutually satisfying and passionate sexual intimacy in Christian marriage that does not involve stirring inordinate lust and opening the door to whore mongering and adultery. The satisfaction derived from a godly, Spirit-led union far supersedes the fleeting lustful desire for illicit sex. "Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well. Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets. Let them be only thine own, and not strangers' with thee. Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love" (Proverbs 5:15-19).

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