3. What can you do to improve your marriage?
After nearly every meeting I lead, I like to give action items based on what was discussed. We all agree to them, hence agreeing to what was discussed and how to move forward.
As a husband, it’s one thing to generically say I will love my wife as Christ loved the church, but how can I practically do this? It’s one thing to say we will glorify God in our marriage, that our marriage has been created by Christ for his glory (Colossians 1:16), that we do not want to conform to the pattern of the world (Romans 12:1–2), or that we do not want to indulge the sinful nature (Galatians 5:13). These are all good things to say. But it’s quite another for both spouses to be clear on what exactly that looks like.
Maybe it will be a concerted effort not to misplace everything, or a commitment to overlook weaknesses. Maybe it is a commitment to confess sin regularly to each other, even in front of your children. Maybe you pledge to ask questions, or to affirm your spouse more than you criticize. Maybe it’s asking a close friend to help audit your marriage.
Married to Glorify God
You do not need to answer these questions exhaustively to begin making real progress with your spouse. Three answers to each question is a manageable starting place. When you do answer these questions and bring them to your spouse, take time to discuss whether you are in agreement. Does your list of things that make you hard to live with align with the things your spouse would say about you? If you say, “I lose things,” and your spouse replies, “That doesn’t bother me at all,” then you may not understand your spouse.
Even though marriage is difficult, the end game of all of this is that your marriage would glorify God: that husbands would reflect more clearly the love that Christ has for his people (Ephesians 5:25), and that wives would joyfully submit to and respect their husbands (Ephesians 5:24, 33). Gospel-centered marriages are not perfect marriages. They include dependence on God while acknowledging weaknesses, confessing sin, and offering forgiveness to each other. As you discuss these questions, then, remind yourselves of God’s commitment to you, to your spouse, and to your marriage.
This article on why marriage is difficult originally appeared here, and is used by permission.