Adam and Eve were the first to experience a Christian marriage. They didn’t vow “for better or worse” but I’m wondering how long it took for the “worse” (Satan) to strain their marriage. We are born with a sinful nature, and try as we might, there is no stopping it. Satan loves to attack Christian marriages, therefore, strengthening your marriage with Biblical marriage principles is essential no matter how long you’ve been married!
God’s Design for Marriage
God’s design for the marital relationship began in Genesis when He established the Christian marriage covenant.
He formed Adam, gave him a garden and animals to tend, but knew there was one thing missing- a “suitable helper.: It was not good for Adam to be alone. He needed companionship and fellowship with another human.
It was in God’s plan to populate the earth, and it began with this first marriage. The Father of the bride presents Eve to Adam. She was a perfectly suitable spouse!
What is a Christian Marriage?
Spoiler: it’s not just a Christian couple who are married.
A Christian marriage is based on a “covenant”- meaning “to come together”- as a husband-and-wife relationship and partnership. Both spouses commit to loving and serving each other selflessly, using God’s relationship with His people as an example to follow.
Jesus is at the center of the Christian marriage covenant with each spouse working towards becoming more like Him and following His examples of faith and love towards each other.
In contrast, a Christian marriage is not a contract or arrangement geared towards self-fulfillment, or “What can you do for me?”
One way to understand and improve our marriages is to seek answers in His Word.
Bible Verses for Married Couples
#1- Strengthen your Christian marriage by using God’s Word to keep you on track and in sync with His purpose.
Here are a few Bible verses about marriage to get you started:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female, he created them.
He made us males and females with differences that are good and in His image. Each one of us shares a likeness to our Creator, is worthy of honor and respect, and can have a personal relationship with Him.
How does knowing God made us in His image change how you see your spouse?
“God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it.’”
God blessed this first union and continues to do so today. He wants us to recognize His part in our marriages- as blessed, valuable, and connected to Him. (No wonder Satan tries to destroy marriages!)
How can you keep your marriage connected to God?
“For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”
This verse shows us God’s idea of being joined as one, yet each remaining his/her own person to care for and love their spouse.
“One flesh” speaks of the sexual union, but it also has spiritual meaning. It’s interesting that God created Adam from the dust of the earth, but created Eve from Adam’s flesh and bone.
It is an illustration for us of the “one flesh” symbolism. God’s goal for us in marriage is not only togetherness, but “oneness.”
Married couples come together as one flesh by committing to each other in love to pursue intimacy.
This intimacy in marriage comes not only from sex, but in building up the relationship to involve trust, comfort, connection, and the sharing of emotions, thoughts, and experiences.
How would you rate your marriage in all these areas of intimacy?
“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
The writer speaks of the idea “two are better than one” in the verses preceding this one because of the advantages human relationships and companionship bring.
He then ends with this verse, adding in a third component. The idea of a cord of three strands can pertain to marriage, with the Holy Spirit binding the couple together, centering the marriage on Christ.
What part does the Holy Spirit play in your marriage?
1 Corinthians 13:4
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.”
Christian marriages are to be based on the love Paul writes about in this “love chapter.” It is “agape” love- a Greek meaning for the love God has for us and Jesus showed us on the cross.
This kind of love makes personal sacrifices for the benefit of the person they love. It is a choice about how they will treat their spouse, not based on feelings or what kind of response you will receive.
We may start out with a romantic love in our relationship, but that kind of love can’t last through a lifetime of joys and struggles. We need to show the unconditional love of Christ.
How do you show unconditional love to your spouse?
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Praying for Your Marriage
#2-Strengthen your Christian marriage through prayer.
The Bible tells us to “pray without ceasing”, so including prayers for your marriage and spouse fulfills that important directive. It also is a way to strengthen and deepen your relationship.
Praying for our spouse and marriage lifts them up to the very throne room of heaven. What better place to leave our requests and concerns?
10 Ways to Pray for Your Spouse
•Begin with praise for bringing you together and for the blessing of your marriage.
•Pray for unity, that Jesus would bind your hearts and minds together in love.
•Pray for their health- mental, physical, and spiritual.
•Lift up any struggles, fears, challenges- that God would give His guidance and discernment.
•Pray for healthy and open channels of communication with no judgement.
•Pray for protection against negative outside influences.
•Ask Him for healing and forgiveness from hurt feelings, harsh words, loss of trust- any spiritual attack on the marriage.
•Pray for times of refreshment, fun, and togetherness to create memories and times of bonding.
•Pray for peace to replace worry and irritations.
•Ask for His strength to provide and reflect a Christ-like attitude of sacrificial love.
Praying with Your Spouse
There are also many benefits of praying with your spouse. Your focus turns to each other and your marriage. It keeps your marriage God-centered and brings spiritual intimacy. Holding hands as you pray brings physical intimacy.
Ideally, you would set aside a time without interruptions, but you can pray together anytime. Try praying together before you turn on the TV, while out for a walk, after a meal, as you go to sleep, etc.
Talk about what is on your mind, ask for forgiveness, give praise to your spouse, ask for God’s guidance, etc. Leave time for quietness and reflection in your prayer time.
Praying together may feel awkward at first, or get stale, but don’t get discouraged. Couples that pray together are simply inviting God into the marriage with the purpose of strengthening that 3-ply cord.
Effective Communication in Marriage
Exceptional communication skills are a plus in any relationship, but they become essential in a marriage. We all want to feel heard, respected, and understood.
Unfortunately, we learn poor communication skills through our family experiences, past relationships, and learned behaviors.
#3-Strengthen Your Christian Marriage by improving your communications skills.
The Bible, once again, gives sound advice on having wonderful communication skills that we can apply to our marriage.
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”
Quick to listen, slow to speak: Practice good listening skills instead of interrupting and verbalizing opinions or thoughts. It teaches us to concentrate on what our spouse is saying.
It is giving them the gift of time to express themselves and makes them feel heard.
Slow to become angry: When conversations become tense, don’t rush into defensive mode. Take a breath and pause before responding.
Ask them if they are frustrated, not feeling well, worried about something, etc. Speak calmly about how their words make you feel. This takes practice and patience but can diffuse a difficult situation.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.”
We all make mistakes, and forgiveness is not only Biblical, but key to effective communication. If you withhold forgiveness, you hold on to anger and resentment. Hanging onto things said or done in the past hampers healthy communication in the future.
Deal with the issue, let it go, and let it be as “far as the east is from the west.” (God’s formula to forgive and forget. Psalm 103:12)
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Our words are powerful. How much better is it for our marriage to bring blessing and kindness to our spouse? Sweet and pleasant words are comforting and encouraging and show appreciation and love.
Effective Use of Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication in marriage is also just as important. While we all need to hear “I love you”, you can express your affection and love for your spouse without saying a word!
Positive nonverbal communications create a feeling of connection and security for your spouse. (An eye-roll, however, has the exact opposite effect…)
Here are some nonverbal communication examples:
•My husband used to bring me home a Snickers bar (my favorite) when he went to the store or gas station. 😊 Simple and inexpensive gifts show they are in your thoughts .
•Hold hands, ask for and give hugs, a touch as you pass by are all signals of affection.
•Leave notes stating the reasons you love them.
•Smile at your spouse for no reason. (Facial expressions “speak” volumes!)
•Send a text during the day telling them you’re thinking about them.
•Show genuine interest when they speak to you- eye contact is important!
Biblical Marriage Commitment
God designed the covenant of marriage to be a mirror of His own love for us. He instituted marriage before sin entered the world, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have healthy and productive marriages.
•His Word gives us needed guidance and wisdom.
•Prayer helps us communicate our wants and needs about our marriage/spouse to our Father. Praying together brings intimacy.
•Using God’s guidance to improve our communication skills helps us love our partners as He designed.
I’m not fond of the idea that marriage should be “work.” That term sounds like a drudgery to me. I prefer being “intentional”- purposely using God’s Biblical marriage principles in our daily interactions with our spouses.
Being intentional in keeping our marriages healthy and centered on Jesus builds a firm foundation that helps our marriages thrive even during trials and difficulties. Let His love and His Word be your guide to flourish and grow together. ♥
All Scripture is from the NIV unless specified otherwise.
I’ve partnered with 2 fellow bloggers to offer you even more strategies to strengthen your marriage:
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