Fiji's Family Network
Building Strong Marriages
by Deborah L. Butler
One reason why so many marriages have suffered from breakups and problems is that the proper groundwork was never laid. Let's talk in terms of love. Your partner in marriage is not just your closest friend. He or she is someone you love with all your spirit, soul, and body. Love is the basis for every strong marriage and family.
The problem with most couples is that they stop working on their relationship as soon as they get married. But you have to continue to work at it.
A Total Marriage
Before you get married, you're working mostly on the soulish level (achieving oneness in soul). Then once you say, "I do," you initiate the physical union (achieving oneness in body).
But you still need to continue to nurture one another as you learn how to come together in spiritual agreement (achieving oneness in spirit). In other words, you're working to build a total marriage patterned after God's divine order - spirit, soul, and body:
After you're married, God still expects you to work on that relationship. God wants you and your mate to experience oneness in every dimension of your relationship, because that's how He sees you once you get married. He no longer sees you as two; He sees you as one (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:6).
In order to build the type of marriage that will bear up under the enemy's attacks, you must develop a oneness of spirit with your mate, because it's only when you're "one" that you can agree successfully in prayer.
For example, if your husband says, "Let's agree that we can do this," and you just give in and say okay, but you don't really want it, that is not agreement. That's called "token manipulation." The minute his plan falls apart, you'll say, "I never wanted it in the first place."
Agreement is when you have discussed the matter, and you both are united in saying, "This is what we will ask and believe God for." Then you will get it every time, because there is tremendous power in agreement (Matt. 18:19).
Now the other side of that is, if you disagree on something, then one of you has to submit in order for the two of you to come into genuine agreement.
Characteristics of Genuine Love
When I get on the topic of love and marriage, I think of a particular song, "What's Love Got To Do With It?" It's a perfect example of the world's way of loving, which really doesn't have anything to do with it! But genuine love, God's love, is altogether different.
Love is the basis for every strong marriage and family. It's not just an emotion or some abstract concept that cannot be defined. Love is an action - a commitment that is expressed in real ways with certain characteristics that make it clearly recognizable. If you want to see an example of genuine love, look at First Corinthians chapter 13.
Love bears up under anything and everything. It is always ready to believe the best about everyone and hopes the best for everyone. It knows no weakness, but endures anything. With a "track record" like that, no wonder love never fails!
There is a blessing in developing a total marriage and maintaining harmony in your home. But the biggest blessing of all has to be the joy of coming full circle in your journey with a lifetime of rich memories and a mate who's still committed, still loving, and still standing by your side.