Today’s post comes from the Senior Pastor of Sovereign Grace Church in Joppa, Maryland. He is not only the Senior Pastor of the church, but he is the pastor who married us and a friend. He has a lot of great advice about marriage!!
This first picture is one of my favorites from the wedding with Jimmy…and the second is a nice one. 🙂 Both taken by Craig Copelin of Nilepoc Media.
When you face a struggle or disagreement in your marriage, how do you handle it?
-Communication! I find that if we don’t talk through things, we begin to harbor bitterness and the longer we let things go, the worse it gets. Also, being sure to listen and hear the other person out goes a long way. I Peter 3:8 says, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” My wife and I try to remind one another that we are a team. We are for one another and working toward the same goal. Also, this takes humility to recognize if we’ve failed and need to ask for forgiveness. And when we ask for forgiveness, we try to be as specific as possible. This not only assures the other person that you see clearly how you’ve sinned against them, but also it makes it easier for you to change and for them to freely forgive you.
What are some of the ways you try to bless your wife?
-In the book “Sex, Romance, and the Glory of God by CJ Mahaney (a must read for Christian husbands) one of the chapters talks about being a “student” of your wife. I’ve found this helpful over the years. In any relationship, the more you know and understand someone and have that “sympathy” that was mentioned from I Peter 3:8, you will truly know how to love them in a richer, deeper way. For example, my wife isn’t a “flowers and chocolates” kind of girl. Don’t get me wrong, she wouldn’t turn them away, but she would much prefer me to walk in the door with a drink from Starbucks and a magazine with floor plans of homes from cover to cover. Taking an interest in what makes her “tick” means a lot to her. Another thing I’ve tried to do over the years is to ask her not only how is she doing, but how am I doing in her eyes. Are there areas that I can grow or that she has concerns about. This has really kept the communication line open and left no room for the enemy to bring any disunity into our marriage.
What advice would you give a couple going through a struggle during the beginning of their marriage?
-First of all, I would encourage any young couple to never be “content” with where their relationship is at. And this would include if they have struggles in the marriage or if they are experiencing hardship, not to “throw in the towel” or lose heart. A marriage takes work. Living up close to another sinner takes constant sacrifice and the ability to say, “I’m not going to make today about myself. I’m going to choose to serve and lay down my life not only for my Savior, but for the one who is most important to me on this earth.” This is a difficult task, but by God’s amazing power and His promised Holy Spirit, we can learn to love others more than ourselves.
Also, I would encourage young couples to seek help. Ask for input from parents, respected leaders in their church, and especially their pastors if need be. So many have gone before on this path of marriage and have much wisdom and insight that will not only encourage, but also truly help them to grow.
-My final remarks are from Hebrews 10:24-25. This scripture helps to point us in the right direction, especially as husbands. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” This passage gives such clear instruction. So basically, we must tell our spouse where we see God at work and what we appreciate about them, meet together (date night), and this will stir her up to love more and good works are the fruit! Woo hoo! This is only possible through God’s grace and thankfully, because of Christ, we have all the power we need to do what He’s called us to. I thank Him for the gift of marriage and for giving me a wife who is willing to work through anything in order to keep our little “team” in unity and love. God is faithful.