Can you keep your marriage together?
For those who come to marriage counseling, the majority of the time, this answer is, “Yes.” This is true for most couples where one or both spouses are willing to put in some work. In the country, we call it sweat equity. Hard work goes a long way to keep a marriage together. It may not be easy, but, for the majority of marriages, it is possible.
However, there is one commitment you can make that will guarantee you keep your marriage together.
You may be thinking, “Kevin, that’s a bold statement.” Yes, it is. But if you both make this one commitment, your marriage will not fail. At this point you are asking, “So what is it?”
Here it is: you both commit to the Bible being the final authority in your life, and, subsequently, your marriage.
How will this guarantee your marriage will not fail?
- Sin. Marriage is the union by covenant of two sinners. Two individuals that are in the midst of life’s greatest challenge: living together as one in the middle of the process of sanctification for the glory of God. The Bible gives clear direction on how to respond to sin, how to seek and grant forgiveness, how to identify and correct sin, and how to protect from future sin.
- Struggle and suffering. Life is difficult. All couples go through seasons of suffering and struggle. Life is not easy generally, and, at times, is just hard. The difficulties stem from various hurts to financial trouble, demanding schedules to vocational pressures, and raising children to health challenges. Thankfully, the Bible deals with all these issues as well.
- Love. The Bible teaches the standards for love, the endurance of love, and the benefits of true love. Of course, all of this revolves around knowing the Christ of the Bible and His love, which is faithful, sacrificial, and motivating.
- Preferences. Do you ever have an opinion? Do you think married couples occasionally have differing opinions? Of course, they do. The Bible provides the wisdom needed to navigate the differences in preferences best.
- Conflict. Every marriage, like every relationship, has conflict. The Bible provides specific steps forward for the couple who depends upon it as their authoritative guide. The road through conflict may be dicey; however, the Word of God sheds light on the path toward resolution.
- Decision making. Are there one, two, thirty, or fifty decisions per day in marriage? In this process, when the Bible is the authority for decision making, the married couple can determine a way forward according to God’s standards, godly wisdom, and personal choice.
- Purpose of life and marriage. The Bible helps both the husband and wife understand the biggest issues in life like: Why are we here? What are we living for? What’s most important for our family and our marriage? What should be our priorities in life? These and many other questions are answered in the Bible providing help for the married couple to live together in unity.
- Christ and the church. The relationship between Christ and the church forms the foundation for the relationship between the husband and wife. With all the competing interests that vie for attention in marriage, the Bible strengthens the couple committed to the authority of Scripture.
- Christ and the Gospel. Life is Christ. Couples who learn, love, and live Christ with a sensitivity toward the Gospel make it. This intimate relationship with Christ that produces spiritual fruit and wisdom emanates from keeping the Word of God primary. In its pages, the couple learns Christ and grows in wisdom.
Do you want to guarantee the long-term strength and viability of your marriage? Then make the commitment today that the Bible will be your final authority for living. This one commitment keeps the rest of your life in check. When tempted to give up, throw in the towel, and lose hope, the Word of God through the power of the Spirit gives you the ability to persevere.
Marriage may never be easy, depending on how you define easy; however, marriage is sustainable for the glory of God, the good for each spouse, and the benefit of others.
Kevin Carson is the Pastor of the Sonrise Baptist Church in Ozark, Missouri (www.sonrisebaptist.com). In addition to his pastoral ministry, he serves as the department chair of biblical counseling at the Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary in Springfield, Missouri (www.gobbc.edu). He also serves as a counselor at Sonrise Biblical Counseling Ministry, is ACBC Certified, IABC Certified, a council member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition, author, and is a frequent speaker at conferences, retreats and seminars. He and his wife, Kelly, have four children.