As you’ve probably heard, nearly half of all marriages now end in divorce or separation, leaving bitter spouses and confused children in their wake. Whether your marriage is going through tough times or is experiencing marital bliss, or even if you’re not yet married but considering it, here’s some free but proven advice to help your marriage last. It’s straight from God, the one who created and ordained marriage! If you’ve tried everything else, why not give God a chance?

1. Establish your own private home.

That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:24.

God’s rule is specific. A married couple must leave father and mother and establish their own home, even if finances require that it be a one-room apartment. Husband and wife should decide together on such policies as these. Then she should inform her relatives and he, his. They must remain firm no matter who opposes. Thousands of divorces would be avoided if this rule were carefully followed.

2. Remember that God joined you together in marriage.

and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:56.

Has love almost disappeared from your home? The devil (that notorious home-breaker) is responsible for this. Don’t forget that God Himself joined you together in marriage, and He intends for you to stay together and be happy. He will bring happiness and love into your lives if you will obey His divine rules (commandments).

“With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.

Don’t despair. God, who places love in the heart of a missionary for a leprous savage, can easily give you love for each other if you will let Him. “Jesus cites the purpose of God in creation that husband and wife should be one flesh — the oneness of kinship or fellowship with the body as a medium, causing marriage to be the deepest physical and spiritual unity.”

Why Leave and Cleave?

The newly-wed couple needs to be looking to one another for support in the shared responsibilities of the marriage. If they are staying with either set of parents at the outset of their marriage, they are effectively asking the parents to share in this responsibility, thus illustrating the inability of the newly-wed couple to support themselves.  Of course, later on in life, the couple may have to take into their home a lonely parent who might otherwise not be able to take care of himself or herself.

If a young couple cannot afford, financially, to start a new home away from their parents, they should not get married until they are able to do so. It is the duty of the husband to provide for his family. He should be financially able to do so before getting married.

Proverbs 24:27 instructs, “Prepare your outside work; Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.”

When you marry, you are to ‘leave’ your parental home and ‘cleave’ to your spouse and build a new home—with rules, expectations and goals set by you, not your parents. As a couple, you set clear boundaries regarding how you will maintain your relationship with your in-laws, and how you will communicate this to them.

In fact, it’s best to do this when you’re engaged so that the expectations of both you and your in-laws are established before marriage and parenting enters the picture. This is not to suggest that children and parents should cut off their relationship under the guise of leaving and cleaving. But your primary human relationship now is with your spouse, not your parents. Your commitment to God comes first; then your bond to your extended family and friends”

The importance they still have in our spouse’s heart shouldn’t be underestimated. But the influential role, they once held in our decisions, is to change.

We’ve been hearing from more people than ever about the difficulties they’re having in their marriages dealing with their mothers-in-law or fathers-in-law.

Examples like:

a) Father-in-law showing favoritism for one grandchild over the other.

b) Mother-in-law always trying to control her son, the husband.

c) In-laws that simply won’t let go of their children, won’t let them grow up. They constantly give unwanted advice on parenting, finances — even church.

d) And there’s the concern about in-laws who are not believers, who are having a negative influence on their grandchildren (especially, if they use obscene language, live a carnal lifestyle, or try to directly influence you and your children against Christian beliefs).

How to solve these problems:

Your goal here is not to change your in-laws. It’s to get them to alter their behavior as needed to protect your children and marriage as you see fit.  Communication is the key to making that happen.

One thing that might help is to remember that your mother or father-in law is different from your parents. You should not compare the two, because in most cases your in-laws will come up short. Therefore, you need to get to know them for who they are, not for what you want them to be.

If a wife has a problem with her husband’s parents, it is the responsibility of the husband to bring that issue before his parents —no matter how uncomfortable that may be. Truth is, the biological child will generally carry more credibility with his or her own parents, and should discern how to best communicate with them. It is then vital that the biological husband or wife lovingly but firmly defends his or her spouse and family.

Finally, couples need to be 100 percent unified in their communication with their in-laws. It’s important for the mother or father-in-law to sense that there is no way they can possibly use their parental influence on their own child to try and drive a wedge in their marriage or in their role as parents.

3. Guard your thoughts–don’t let your senses trap you.

“For he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost.Proverbs 23:7.

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.” Exodus 20:17.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23. “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.” Philippians 4:8.

The wrong kind of thinking will destroy your marriage. The devil will trap you with thoughts like these: “Our marriage was a mistake.” “She doesn’t understand me.” “I can’t take much more of this.” “We can always divorce if necessary.” “I’ll go home to mother.” “He smiled at that woman.” Stop thinking thoughts like these or your marriage is gone, because your thoughts and senses govern your actions. Avoid seeing, saying, reading, or hearing anything that (or associating with anyone who) suggests impurity or unfaithfulness. Thoughts uncontrolled are like an automobile in neutral on a hill. Anything can happen, and the result is always disaster.

***Most importantly, GUARD YOUR HEART.

  • Guarding your heart from a critical spirit:

 At the beginning of most relationships, husbands and wives find it easy to praise one another. In many relationships, however, these words of praise begin to dwindle and words of criticism begin to take their place. These words spring from a heart that has become critical, cynical, or perhaps unforgiving.

What should we do instead? It may involve such things as: repenting for hard-heartedness and unforgiveness; dwelling on the things about our spouse that we can be thankful for; expressing those things to our spouse verbally or in writing; asking a friend to pray that the Lord would soften our hearts and take away a critical spirit.

  • Guarding your heart from emotional adultery :

This happens when another person of the opposite sex begins to take the emotional place of our spouse. The reasons for this are many. Sometimes it is because we feel an emotional distance from our spouse or a lack of connectedness. In order to have our emotional needs met, we then develop an emotional relationship with another person of the opposite sex.  In other instances it is simply because we get along well with someone of the opposite sex and enjoy the attention and the feelings that come about when we spend time with them. In either instance, however, we are letting someone else of the opposite sex take a place in our lives that only our spouse should have.  Emotional adultery can often lead very quickly to physical adultery.

  • Guarding your heart from sexual adultery:

This means distancing from our spouse and turning elsewhere for emotional and physical support and fulfillment. In short,  instead of entertaining negative thoughts about our spouse, let’s meditate instead on 1 Peter 5:8, which reads, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

Protect your marriage from attack by thinking on what is lovely about your husband and marriage.

4. Never retire for the night angry with each other.

“Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Ephesians 4:26.

“Therefore confess your sins one to each other.” James 5:16.

“Forgetting those things which are behind.” Philippians 3:13.

“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32.

To remain angry and upset over hurts and grievances (big or little) is exceedingly dangerous. Unless quickly solved, even little problems become set in your mind as convictions and attitudes adversely affecting your whole philosophy of life. This is why God says to let anger cool before retiring at night. Grow mature to forgive and to say with sincerity, “I’m sorry!” After all, no one is perfect, and you are both on the same team, so be sportsmanlike enough to honestly admit a mistake when you make it. Besides, making up is a very pleasant experience, with unusual powers to draw marriage partners closer together.

What does Ephesians 4:26 mean?  The verse does not literally mean don’t go to sleep until you’ve completely solved the problem in a way that is totally acceptable to both of you. It means that you need to let go of the anger, even if the problem is not solved.”

How we can apply Ephesians 4:26:
  • If you and your spouse are arguing and it’s getting late, you can stop, agree to visit the matter again at a mutually agreed upon time, put away your anger, and put your minds on something else for a time. This helps to defuse matters so your anger isn’t escalating deeper into the night. You can then go to bed more peaceably.
  • Sometimes it’s important NOT to bring up a shaky subject, when it’s getting late, and instead look for a better time. Try to be aware of H.A.L.T. times —which would be times when either spouse is Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. There’s more vulnerability to be less tolerant when those situations are in place.
5. Keep Christ in the center of your home.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain.Psalms 127:1.

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6. “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7.

This is the greatest rule in marriage. It really covers all the others. Put Christ first! The real secret of true happiness in the home is not diplomacy, strategy, and untiring effort to overcome problems, but rather, union with Christ. Hearts filled with Christ’s love can never be very far apart. With Christ in the home, marriage will be successful. The gospel is the cure for all marriages that are filled with hatred, bitterness, and disappointment. It prevents thousands of divorces by miraculously restoring love and happiness.

How can we keep Christ in the center of our home?
  1.  Hold daily family devotions, with Bible reading and prayer.
  2.  Attend church weekly.
  3.  Seek God to give you wisdom and understanding in your relationships and decisions. Never depend only on your judgment.

It is often said that “the family that prayers together, stays together” and the statistics show this is true. But this is not all. As we seek God daily, we renew our relationships with each other and with God. He talks with us; and we talk with Him. He receives our praise, confession and petitions; and we know the joy of His presence. Family Devotions definitely increases the presence of God in the home and is a strong deterrent to the spirit of arguments, criticism, debate, and negativity.

6. Pray together.

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41.

“Pray for one another.” James 5:16.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to you.” James 1:5.

Pray aloud for each other! This is a wonderful rule that succeeds beyond the wildest dream. Kneel before God and ask Him for true love for one another, for forgiveness, for strength, for wisdom–for the solution to problems. God has given a personal guarantee that He will answer. The praying person is not automatically cured of all of his faults, but he will have a heart that wants to do right. No family ever breaks up while sincerely praying together for God’s help.

Benefits of Prayer:
  • Couples draw closer to God.

You and your spouse become deeply connected  spiritually, drawing closer to God draws you closer to each other.  Prayer invites the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit. Proverbs 23:3 “by wisdom a house is built and through understanding it is established”

  • Angry feeling are softened

As couples draw nearer to God, feelings are softened. Prayer has a calming effect.

Proverbs 15:1  “A soft answer turns away wrath.”

  • Encourages unity, humbling yourselves before God

Leaning on Him and not to your own understanding but as children still learning and growing and being led by the Spirit.

1 Peter 5:6 “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and he will exalt you..”

  • Promotes emotional intimacy

Physical unity and spiritual unity.  These are the ties that bind and are not easily broken.  John 15:7  “Abide in me and I in you shall ask what you will and it will be done.”

  • The benefits of health

Studies have shown that prayer helps people relax, increases brain activity and improves heartbeat rate, prayer promotes good health.

Proverbs 4:22  “They are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.”

7. God describes love so make it your daily goal to measure up.

“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. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

This is God’s true description of love. How do you measure up? Love is not a sentimental impulse, but a holy principle that involves every phase and action of life. With true love, your marriage cannot fail. Without it, it cannot succeed.

8. Remember that criticism and nagging destroy love.

“Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them.” Colossians 3:19.

“Better to live a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.” Proverbs 21:19.

“A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm.” Proverbs 27:15. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Matthew 7:3.

Stop criticizing, nagging, and faultfinding. Your husband or wife may lack much, but nagging won’t help. Don’t expect perfection, or bitterness will result. Overlook faults, and hunt for the good things. Don’t try to reform, control, or compel your partner you will destroy love. Only God can change people. A sense of humor, a cheerful heart, kindness, patience, and affection will banish two-thirds of your marriage problems. Try to make your spouse happy rather than good, and the good will take care of itself. The secret of a successful marriage lies not in having the right partner, but rather in being the right partner.

Let’s talk about nagging. What is a nag?

Nag, the noun:

  1. Someone (especially a woman) who annoys people by constantly finding fault
  2. A person who is not pleasant or agreeable

Nag, the verb:

  1. To annoy by constant scolding, complaining, or urging
  2. To scold, complain, or find fault constantly
  3. To torment persistently, as with anxiety or pain
  4. To be a constant source of anxiety or annoyance

Wives, if you nag at your husband, if you annoy and torment him by finding fault, being

disagreeable, scolding, complaining, or urging him to do a particular thing, you are not

being the wife that God has called you to be!  God wants us to encourage each other, to lift each other up, not tear down.  He wants us to respect our husband, and willingly submit to his authority, without grumbling and complaining. Wives, are you nagging your husbands?  Or are you being considerate and gracious?

Examine your lives by answering these questions.

a) Have you told your husband you wish he made more money?

b) Do you frequently remind your husband to pick up after himself?

c) Do you dislike your husband’s family or friends and tell him about it?

d) Do you criticize his bad habits?

e) Do you contradict your husband in front of the children or your friends?

f) Do you joke about him being “less than romantic” around his friends?

g) Do you tell him that he rarely lifts a hand to help you?

h) Have you told your husband you wish he was more spiritual, a strong leader, or like someone else you admire (like a Pastor or your father)?

i) Do you stop him from eating too much or remind him not to eat certain foods?

j) Do you force him to talk if something is bothering him?

Ruth Graham, Billy Graham’s wife, said: “It is my job to love Billy.  It’s God’s job to change him.”

It’s wonderful when a woman can provide a climate of safety and security, and confidence and unconditional love in which a man might actually take the risk of changing…And nagging Will Not Make That Happen!

If a wife finds herself in the struggle, here’s what she can do:

  • Choose to admit it’s a problem.

Stop pretending this destructive pattern is just your “personality.”  It’s harmful and may be destroying your home and the relationships with those you love most.

“A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand” (Proverbs 27:15-16).

  • Choose the right words.

Choose to speak life words. Choose to encourage.  Choose to voice concerns in a more healthy, honest way than with sarcastic words or constant reminders that tear another down.  Nagging tends to shame and blame, calling attention to areas that your loved one may already feel vulnerable about.

“Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

  • Choose the right tone.

Nagging can be condescending.  It can breathe irritation toward the other that will immediately put the hearer on defense.

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears her down” (Proverbs 14:1).

  • Choose the right time.

All marriages and relationships will have matters to discuss.  The truth is, we don’t always view things the same way. Sometimes we need to talk it through. Find the best time for honest conversations that seek to find healthy solutions to problems. It’s probably not the time that your husband is late for work and headed out the door. Or when either of you are in the midst of kids homework and family responsibilities. Find a time to talk openly, honestly, remembering that you’re on the same team.

“Like golden apples set in silver is a word spoken at the right time” (Proverbs 25:11).

  • Choose the right attitude.

Choose love. Choose to accentuate the positive rather than constantly focusing on the negative. Because love covers over a multitude of sins.  We are not perfect.  Neither are those we live with.  But when we overly focus on the faults, rather than the strengths, those we love may feel like they just can’t ever get it right.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

How can a husband help his nagging wife

Start to hear her out; don’t make her talk louder and longer. Offer your attention to her. She’s been assuming she won’t be heard. So she often enters the conversation nagging! Why don’t you show her that you will hear her out, and not just her first sentence either, but the whole paragraph? Believe it or not, sometimes she doesn’t want you to fix anything; she just wants you to hear her heart. And then, if you’re going to talk about solutions, do something about them.  And love her enough to let her know that she is heard by you.

9. Respect each other’s personal rights and privacies.

“Love is forbearing.  Love knows no jealousy. She is not unmannerly, nor selfish. She does not rejoice in injustice. She is full of trust.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Romans 12:10.

Does honoring certain spouse’s privacies honor God? Do not tamper with each other’s wallets or purses, personal mail, and other private property unless given permission. The right to privacy and quietude when preoccupied should be respected. Marriage partners should never try to force personality changes. Only God can make such changes, and we shall all answer personally to Him on this matter (Romans 14:12). Perfect confidence and trust in one another, no checking up on each other, is absolutely essential for happiness.

Spend less time trying to “figure out” your spouse and more time trying to please her or him.

Let’s talk about privacy. What is privacy? Dictionary.com defines it as “the state of being free from intrusion or disturbance.” This could be time alone for prayer, meditation, or any number of things. Time to yourself is necessary sometimes.

Privacy is different from secrecy. A husband or a wife does not practice secrecy when either party does not purposely withhold information from his/her spouse with the intent of being deceitful. This includes where you go, who you speak with, the money you spend, your past history, etc., etc. Basically, your life becomes an open book.

10. Determine to speak softly and kindly.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1. “Enjoy life with your love whom you love.” Ecclesiastes 9:9.

“When I became a man, I put away childish things.” 1 Corinthians 13:11.

Force yourself to speak softly and kindly to your spouse. Silence, when one is attacked, is often the best method to cool wrath. Decisions made when angry, tired, or discouraged are unreliable anyway, so it’s best to relax and let anger cool. And when you do speak, let it always be quietly and lovingly. Harsh, angry words crush your spouse’s desire to please you.

Paul says in Ephesians 4:29-30: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.”

God commanded us to never let unwholesome talk come out of our mouths. This includes cursing, blaming, accusing, gossiping, lying, etc. All these are unfit for Christians to speak, especially in the context of marriage. In conjunction with speaking only words that edify, Scripture also gives us further teaching about healthy communication. James, the brother of Jesus, said, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19).

11. Be reasonable in money matters.

“Love is not possessive. Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage.” 1 Corinthians 13:45“God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7.

All possessions and income in marriage should be “ours,” not “yours” and “mine.” Wives who don’t work outside the home should receive a regular amount for groceries, clothing, and other budgeted items. It should be cheerfully provided instead of grudgingly released under protest. Wife and husband both should have small, equal sums (whenever possible) to spend as desired without giving account. A miserly husband usually angers his wife into being a spender, just as a wasteful husband makes a wife stingy. Showing confidence in your companion’s managing ability will usually make him or her more businesslike.

Financial decisions that impact the success of the family are a shared responsibility.

Whatever the source of God’s provisions, whether the result of the husband’s employment or the wife’s employment or both, the assets accumulated are the responsibility of both partners together as a team.

The important principle in regard to financial decisions is to “do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31; Romans 14:8; Colossians 3:23-24).

In marriage, the husband is the ultimate authority. He is responsible to God to lead and

shepherd his family, while his wife’s responsibility is to submit to him and be his helper.

In the realm of money in a marriage, this could mean that the husband has sole control

over the checkbook, pays all the bills, and sees to the family savings and investing as well as giving, while at the same time consulting his wife and getting her input on financial decisions. It can just as legitimately mean that he delegates this function to his wife, especially if she enjoys or is better suited to the details of the financial realm, and that she takes over the financial details of the “family business.” But the husband still has the responsibility to oversee the process. In the end, a couple that works together in the financial aspect of the family will be a couple that usually has good communication and mutual respect.

Biblically in the area of money in a marriage, we are also given principles such as the one in Luke 6:38, 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Do you believe that the more freely we give the greater the blessing? There is a correlation between the giving that we do as unto the Lord and the blessing that we receive in return, both spiritual and financial. We cannot out-give God. The more faithful we are in giving back to the LORD, the more we find that, what we retain is multiplied and, indeed, more than sufficient to the point of abundance.

12. Talk things over and counsel together freely.

“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 13:45.

Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?  Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?  There is more hope for a fool than for them. Proverbs 26:12.

Few things will strengthen your marriage more than counseling together on all major decisions. Changing a job or purchasing a home, an automobile, a boat, furniture, clothing (major items at least), and all other items that require money involve both husband and wife, and the opinions of both should be considered. Talking things over together will avoid many blunders that could ruin your marriage. If, after much discussion and earnest prayer, opinions still differ, the wife should submit to her husband’s decision. Scripture is clear on this.

Ephesians 5:22-24) says “Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord.   For the husband is the head of the wife.  Wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

No marriage is perfect but it cannot stop us to experience happy and great marriage.

><(((‘> Prepared by Jay & Annette Sy/February 18, 2017 <‘)))><

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