Bedrocks of a Strong Healthy Marriage

Sep 21, 2016
Brent Barnett

Genesis 2.18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Matthew 19.4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

These days, those who decide to go ahead and make a lifelong commitment to one another in marriage rarely follow through on their promises.  Even many “Christian” marriages shatter after just a few years.  If marriage was simple and easy, most everybody would choose to marry and would stay married.  Sadly, few marriages last “until death do us part” because sickness, lust, financial ups and downs, and just plain old selfishness get in the way.  God’s design was never for one partner to leave the other behind, but marriage done God’s way means that not only are promises kept but that as best as is possible the relationship flourishes, leaving a legacy of blessing and joy.  by listening to Scripture’s bedrocks for a strong, healthy marriage, we, who love Jesus and believe His Word, have hope for the preservation and sustenance of the most fulfilling earthly relationship that God has ordained.  

Bedrock #1: The ultimate anchoring point in a marriage is a 100% shared belief in Jesus as Savior and Lord and in His Word as His infallible instruction for life and marriage.  Marriage is much more than a business contract or life strategy.  It is a uniting of two into one at the deepest heart and soul level.  by definition, marriage involves a spiritual component, which is why the Lord doesn’t want us to marry unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism).  He knows that without a common faith, belief, and confession that a marriage will never be what it could and should be.  Knowing that one’s spouse believes firmly in what God says regarding marriage gives lasting hope that struggles and frustrations can be overcome because both spouses are following the same roadmap to the same destination.  As Scripture’s commands are followed, unity, health, and joy in marriage can only increase. 

Bedrock #2: Both spouses must trust one another completely.  Proverbs 31:11:
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
Speaking of the excellent wife, says that the heart of her husband trusts in her.  This goes both ways, of course, that the heart of the wife must also be able to trust in her husband.  Trust is a decision we make based upon what we observe and have come to believe to be true about a person.  Over time, that trust can be lost, or it can be strengthened.  No spouse will ever be perfect, but owning up to mistakes, repenting, and moving forward keeps trust from totally evaporating.  Trust shouldn’t have to be blind in marriage, for there should be evidence of trustworthiness.  If someone is not trustworthy, he or she shouldn’t be considered as marriage material in the first place.  If we don’t trust our spouse or know him or her to be untrustworthy, this will gouge intimacy and lead to great pain and division.  An untrustworthy spouse is a person who lacks integrity, and it is hard to rest easy and open up with a person who at any time might stab you in the back.  In order for marriages to be strong and healthy, we must be able to trust our spouses enough to share our hearts and lives, not just our checkbooks, though many don’t even trust the other with that. 

Bedrock #3: There must be a readiness and willingness to forgive.  Spouses will make mistakes and have their ups and downs, and some seasons of marriage will be easier than others.  Even Christians stumble (James 3:2), and it is imperative that forgiveness sets us apart in our marriages (Ephesians 4:32).  Forgiveness is a healing and restorative action that prevents seeds of bitterness and anger from arising in the marriage.  Love, by definition, does not keep count of wrongs suffered (1 Corinthians 13:5), but it forgives and moves forward together.  In even the best marriages, over fifty plus years, a multitude of sins will be committed, but love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).  This is not to say that sin doesn’t matter, for it can do lasting damage.  Rather, it is to say that Jesus’ love and grace are stronger still, and it is kindness, not wrath, that leads to repentance and growth (Romans 2:4).

Bedrock #4: Strong, healthy marriages view divorce as a non-option.  Divorce is never to be viewed as an out when things become difficult (Malachi 2:16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.).  This means that both spouses will always have to think constructively because they know they will have to work things out one way or the other.  When divorce is on the table, sin becomes less of a threat, and this is toxic to a marriage. 

Bedrock #5: The communication lines must remain open, or a marriage will suffocate and shut down.  Yelling and screaming communicates some things but typically not the right things.  Compassionate, gentle speaking turns away wrath and anger, and it gives the relationship room to heal, progress, and grow (Proverbs 15:1).  When two people live together, stress will arise, but communication enables solutions to be found and marriages to last.  Intimacy is directly proportional to openness and consistency in communication. 

Bedrock #6: Strong, healthy marriages maintain God’s command to be intimate regularly (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).  This is not an excuse to go for long periods of time without being intimate.  Regular expressions of physical love flow out of emotional intimacy and connectedness in other aspects of the marriage.  Where intimacy fails or is lacking, other troubles may be boiling beneath the surface.  Eventually they will overflow into dangerous behavior.  Intimacy is God’s design and command for marriages that last, and in healthy marriages, it will be a regular occurrence.
Hebrews 13.4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

Bedrock #7: Unified decision-making moves a marriage forward as one.  Because both husband and wife are, spiritually speaking, priests in the kingdom of God with direct access to the throne of grace, both should be able to know God’s leading in a matter (1 Peter 2:9).  Choosing, for example, to buy a new home, to move, or any number of difficult decisions that parents and spouses must make must be done together.  Both spouses must believe that they are doing the right thing before God before they do it.  Unity in decisions leads to unity in direction and to marriages that last. 

Ephesians 5.31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.

Additional Reading