Nobody said it was going to be easy. Maintaining a happily married life takes a lot of hard work and dedication from both parties.
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When Christian couples feel they have fallen short of showing their devotion to their partner, they, of course, turn to the Bible for guidance.
If you’ve been feeling a strain in your union lately and feel the need for Christian marriage advice, then you’re not alone.
It is normal for two people in a marital relationship to feel exhausted or down in the dumps at some point.
Luckily, the Bible is here to help you navigate the way back to a blissful marriage.
1. Your Marriage Should Be Your Top Priority (Always!)
“Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24
God created the bond of marriage with one foundational rule mentioned in Genesis 2:24. This makes your spouse your first priority. Time has a funny way of evaporating quickly.
That’s why we make choices. It is those choices that define our life. Therefore, living a happily married life depends on keeping that fundamental rule of always putting your spouse first.
Everything else comes second. That includes your work, friends, hobbies, parents, and even kids.
The importance of making your marriage your first priority is also reflected in the book “Making Marriage Simple” by authors Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt.
2. Reassess Your Needs.
“Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Mark 10:9
This verse is also a part of a wedding ceremony as a reminder that what God has united in holy matrimony should not be separated.
In other words, once the vows have been exchanged, we should not even consider leaving our spouse.
This is where reassessing one’s needs can be fruitful. The book “His Needs, Her Needs” by author Willard F. Harley is a fool-proof guide that can also be used to make your marriage work.
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3. Forgive and Be Forgiven.
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32
We live in a fallen world, and as a result, sometimes fall short while dealing with the daily challenges of married life.
When that happens, it is important to acknowledge our shortcomings and forgive each other… because forgiveness will bring you back to God.
A 2011 study was carried out by the University of Tennessee found that romantic partners who were offended by their spouse, but forgave them, were found to be more satisfied in their relationship as compared to those who refused to forgive their partners.
It was found that the act of forgiveness after a transgression can help restore both commitment and closeness between couples.
Of course, remorse and repentance will also be a big part of the process.
4. Share and Grow Together.
After the conga lines and the honeymoon are over, the real work of living together “till death do us part” begins.
It is important to see your marriage as an adventure instead of just something you’ve achieved or a box you ticked to meet society’s requirements of a “normal person.”
Remember that when you’re in a marriage, growing apart is not something that happens overnight. It is a slow process that occurs over a period of time.
Whether it’s an interesting story in the news, or their plans, or something they read in the Bible, couples who share what they learn each day grow together.
To make sure running errands or the dishes don’t come in between an opportunity to make a connection and grow closer to your spouse, it is important to share and grow together.
See: 15 Prayers for a Deeply Troubled Marriage.
5. Don’t Be Quick to Judge Each Other.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” – Matthew 7:1-2
There is hardly any verse of the Bible that is more disobeyed than Matthew 7:1. Keep in mind that it is a sin to judge someone, in this case, your spouse.
With time, it gets easy to replace the “we” with a “you,” as in, “you’re terrible with money, and are going to ruin us.”
When a married couple finds themselves struggling, it is important to stop and study God’s Word and learn from the Christian marriage advice that’s shared with us in the Bible.
6. Don’t Keep Score.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NIV
Often- times, married couples make the mistake of taking the bookkeeping approach to their relationship.
How often do we hear that little voice in our head saying to use, “there’s no need to do something nice for my spouse until they do something nice for me.”
Keeping score can hurt your marriage and will end up straining the bond that you once had with your spouse.
7. Pray Together.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6
“The family that prays together, stays together.” These aren’t just words that rhyme. Prayer is the foundation of any Christian household.
It is a prayer that gives us direction and shows us the way to be kind, loving, and accepting toward others.
Praying together as a family creates an unbreakable spiritual connection with God and with each other. As the scripture says, a threefold cord isn’t easily broken.
By seeking out God not just to protect you, but also your spouse, prayer can help strengthen your bond and bring you closer to Christ.
That’s exactly what prayer can do for a married couple, and that is why it is paramount for married couples to pray together.
8. Build Them Up, Don’t Break Them Down.
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” – Peter 1:8
If you’ve been breaking your spouse down by talking about them behind their back or name-calling, it’s time to stop.
Regardless of how strong you think your spouse is, name-calling or talking smack about your partner with friends can affect them negatively.
Your spouse is the person you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with.
So, rather than name-calling or talking behind their back, which can tear them down and leave them feeling demotivated, motivate them, and build them up.
9. Sticks and Stones CAN Break Bones.
“Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them.” – Colossians 3:19
The same goes for name-calling. Sadly, more often than not, during an argument, couples resort to name-calling without realizing the emotional pain that one is left with after being verbally devalued.
In a marriage, verbal abuse can happen out of nowhere. Sometimes, it’s just something mean that your spouse thought of at the spur of the moment.
Other times, it can be more insidious and calculating, causing the person on the receiving end to start questioning themselves.
Name-calling, condescension, demeaning comments, and even criticism can all take their toll on a marriage, and therefore, should be avoided at all costs.
10. Be a Partner Your Spouse Can Rely On.
“You husbands, in the same way, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with someone weaker, since she is a woman; and show her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers will not be hindered.” – 1 Peter 3:7
In the book, “It’s Not You, It’s the Dishes,” authors Jenny Anderson Horne and Paula Szuchman elaborate on how even simple things can simmer until they explode in a huge argument.
It is important to remember that marriage is a partnership. Rather than keeping track of things like who unloads the dishes, takes out the trash, or drops the kids to school, be a partner your spouse can rely on.
11. Don’t Be a Perfectionist.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33
It is important not to become a perfectionist and have unreasonable expectations of your spouse. Remember, your spouse is not supposed to be the solution to all of your problems: God is.
As humans, we are all flawed, and it’s not fair for couples to search for perfection in their partners, but rather, work on one’s own flaws first.
The best thing about being married and sharing this life with another person is that each of you gets to work on your shortcomings together.
12. Compliment Each Other.
“In the same way, husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.” – Ephesians 5:28
Be quick to tell each other how thankful you are for the things you do for one another. When one feels acknowledged and appreciated, it only makes one want to do more.
This can be extremely valuable when it comes to sustaining a relationship, even when going through rough patches. Every couple experiences ups and downs in a marriage.
As John Gottman, the author of “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” says, “it is important not to take even the smallest things that you do for each other for granted.”
13. Learn How to Laugh Together.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
They say that laughter is the best medicine. Well, it definitely is in a marriage. Life can definitely be stressful sometimes.
From household appliances breaking down to the kids not doing well in school, to getting stuck in traffic.
There are a number of things that can suck the laughter out of one’s life (if you let it).
For married couples, the best weapon against stress is laughter. A good laugh can easily break the tension in any stressful situation and will give you a chance to take a step back and see the big picture.
Couples that have been married for a long time know the importance of having jokes to share as you move forward.
14. Respect Each Other’s Rights Over You.
“Let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” – Ephesians 5:33
One of the things that the Bible tells us when we look to it for Christian marriage advice is that your spouse has certain rights over you.
In other words, once you’re married, your spouse has more rights over you than your parents.
While the Bible also advises wives to respect their husbands, it is important for both parties to obey the Word of God by loving and respecting their partners.
15. Rebuild Broken Trust.
“And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13
Trust is a fragile thing. Like a mirror, once broken, it can never be the same. But, that’s no excuse to lose all hope for your marriage.
Whether trust was broken because of a lie or something far more serious, such as infidelity, both parties need to sit together and work out a solution for the sake of their marriage.
While the person in question needs to be remorseful and repentant of their actions, it is equally important for the other spouse to be forgiving and allow their partner to rebuild broken trust.
In his book, “The Trust Factor: How To Rebuild Trust In Your Marriage,” Tony DiLorenzo speaks of ways in which couples who are experiencing the pain of broken trust can still pick up the pieces of their marriage and create a bond that’s even stronger.
Also Related: Top 15 Reasons for Divorce According to the Experts.
16. Contribute to Your Marriage.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” – Romans 12:9:
Being in a marriage is all about equality. But don’t just take our word for it. Zelmyra and Herbert Fisher have been married for 8 decades (or 87 years to be precise) and were recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008, as the oldest living couple.
You should not expect your spouse to put in all the physical effort, financial contribution, and emotional labor while you don’t fulfill your end of the bargain. Meet your spouse halfway.
A happy marriage is a joint effort. The advice that Zelmyra gave to young couples during a touching interview in 2010 was:
17. Be Intimate Often with Your Spouse.
“Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers, God will judge.” – Hebrews 13:4
It is important not to let your duties in the bedroom become a chore. Having a healthy intimate relationship with your spouse should not be treated as just another boring routine.
Do not forget that once married, having a healthy intimate relationship with your spouse can strengthen the bond of marriage, and will save you and your spouse from sins such as adultery.
18. Incorporate Touch into Your Lives.
“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” – Ephesians 5:25
Touch is a powerful way to express our romantic passion can help us communicate deep feelings in a simple way.
To touch the person you love is to not only acknowledge their presence but also communicate your desire for them.
Some people might find this only appropriate for the bedroom, because of the overemphasis on sex in the media.
However, it is important to incorporate non-sexual touch, such as holding hands or hugging whenever possible, to help you grow closer in your relationship with your spouse.
19. Do Not Commit Adultery.
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18
Committing adultery is one of the biggest sins in the Bible. While a man is weak, that’s no excuse to give in to our basic instincts.
Not only would it ruin a marriage, but also our faith, since it goes against God’s command.
20. Don’t Let Others Get in Between Your Marriage.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Ever heard the saying, “Too many cooks spoil the broth?” Involving too many people in a marriage can result in unpleasant situations, whether the people giving you the advice are related or not.
Before seeking out the advice of others, know this, you know your spouse best. You know the best way forward for both of you.
When married, it is important not to be swayed by the advice, opinions, and judgments that are passed by others.
Keeping that in mind, it is important to keep all third parties at bay when it comes to the matter of your marriage.
21. Communication is a Two-Way Street.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” – James 1:5
There is no doubt that marriage can be a complex and multi-faceted relationship. This is why it is important to communicate freely with your spouse.
Whether it is making plans for your future or working out a solution to a problem, it helps to be able to talk openly and freely to your spouse.
22. Learn to Communicate in the Language of Your Spouse.
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” – Proverbs 25:11-15
No. This does not mean learning another language (although that might help). We all grow up learning to communicate in different styles.
Some grow up in families where communicating openly is encouraged, while others use more sensitive ways of communicating.
The key to building a stronger marriage is by learning to speak in the language of your spouse, even if you are not comfortable communicating in that way.
So, the next time you and your spouse are arguing with regard to what to watch on TV, just pause and listen before figuring out what to say.
23. Don’t Be Afraid to Share Your Secrets.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment.
The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4: 18-19
Couples should be comfortable sharing their most intimate secrets with their partners without being afraid.
All good marriages thrive on an open exchange of emotions and desires, regardless of how tough life can get sometimes.
If your marriage is faced with communication problems, then it’s time you turned to the Bible and God for Christian marriage advice.
24. Try to Keep Things Fresh.
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” – Ephesians 4:2
Let’s face it; the seven-year itch is real. This basically means, whatever you needed a year, 5 years, 10 years ago, you probably don’t need anymore.
This is primarily because your spouse has helped you fill that void.
When the needs for a couple of changes, it’s important to ask each other what things could be done differently, rather than thinking about calling it quits.
25. Revisit Your Vows.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” – 1 John 4:7 ESV
While not a common practice, renewing your vows can be the best thing you can do for your marriage. A vow renewal is a way of celebrating your marriage and the years you’ve spent together.
Whether it has been 20 years or just 2, renewing your vows is a great way of showing your spouse (and the world) that you’re so happy, you’d do it all over again.
If your marriage is going through a rough patch lately, then renewing your vows can be a great way of reaffirming your commitment to your partner and your marriage.
Even though you have the Word of God to guide you, it wouldn’t hurt to get some help.
Marriage Fitness with Mortel is a marriage crisis program that helps couples overcome even the most difficult obstacles in their marriage.
DavidIs an Ordained Minister and Life Coach. He is an ordained minister since 1988. Shortly after receiving Jesus as his personal savior, he answered the call to ministry.
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