Tired of the links and headlines that claim to hold the secret steps to the perfectly grilled steak, curls that keep their bounce all day, well-adjusted children, clean tile grout, and a happy marriage? Yeah. Me too. But I was doing some pre-marriage counseling recently and found myself saying something I've said before: "If husbands and wives would just live by this passage, they would have a happy marriage." Interestingly enough, the passages that make me think that are not ones that speak directly about husbands, wives, or marriage. So what passages are they? You're dying to know, right? Waiting for that secret to a happy marriage?
Well, you may be disappointed. I'm not going to point you to an obscure verse you've never thought of before. There's no tricky exegesis or new way to translate a familiar verse. It's simply a matter of applying to marriage the truth about how believers are to live the Christian life.
Colossians 3:12-15 "Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which you were called in one body. And be thankful." (ESV)
Almost don't even have to explain it, do I? Can you imagine if both husband and wife forgave each other like the Lord has forgiven them? Or if they did and said everything with kindness, humility, and patience? And put up with each other? And loved? And were thankful? That's a happy marriage. Or how 'bout...
Philippians 2:3-4 "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." (ESV)
Wow. A house where nothing is done from selfish ambition, but the husband counts the wife more significant than himself and the wife counts the husband more important than herself. You'll be hard-pressed to find a problem in your marriage that can't be immensely helped by living out this truth.
And the temptation will be to think, "Yes! If he would just live by this truth, our marriage would be better." Or, "If she would just live out these verses, we would be on our way to happiness." But (and in this blog, I'm assuming both husband and wife are believers) resist that urge. Point the passage at yourself and by God's grace live out these truths; repent and seek forgiveness when you fail to do so; forgive your spouse when they fail in these things; and look to God for daily strength, grace, and forgiveness. I guess the secret to a happy marriage isn't so secret after all.
When I quote Scripture In this blog, unless otherwise indicated, the quotations are usually from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission.
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