Much effort is required in building, maintaining, and growing marriage relationships. Of all human relationships, marriage is the most important. Both the husband and wife must be totally committed to making it work – simply by loving God first and each other next.
Cultivating Wrong Things
For marriage to blossom, it requires necessary tending. The husband should love his wife and take good care of her, and the wife should love her husband and respect him.
Introducing and cultivating the wrong things can damage the marriage relationship. These wrong things hurt both the husband and the wife, and might even threaten to endanger their covenant oath to stay committed to each other.
In Mark 10:6-9, the Lord Jesus said,
"But from the beginning of the creation, God 'made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.' So then they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder."
Let Not Man Put Asunder
From what the Lord Jesus said, it's clear to us that we should do nothing that will separate us from our spouses. All married men and women must exhaust their efforts into keeping what "God has joined together" stay together.
As such, It's God who brings the man and the woman together, but it's their responsibility to stay together for better or worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, 'til death do they part.
With this, I would like to encourage you, dear married brother and sister. All of us married couples face our own struggles and hardships, but the truth is that God has empowered us to love our spouses the way He wants to.
Here are three things we should not cultivate in our marriages if we want them to be strong.
1. Harsh and Dishonest Communication
Ephesians 4:15 tells us that we should "speak the truth in love." We should strive to be honest with our spouse, and also practice to communicate the truth in love.
This is a two-way thing: What we communicate should be nothing but the truth, and how we communicate should be nothing else than loving. Hiding secrets from our spouses or talking down to them simply says that we don't love them.
This is probably one of the reasons why many marriages fall and crumble. The husband demands respect and doesn't get it. The wife demands to be given first priority but doesn't get it. Both of them end up getting angry at each other, waiting for each other to say "sorry" first.
But then the "sorry" doesn't come.
Friends, being angry and bitter at your spouse is an unwise and wrong thing to do. If your spouse hurt you, learn to forgive even if the apologies don't come. 1 Peter 3:1-7 and Ephesians 5:21-33 tells wives and husbands to love each other. Matthew 6:15 says forgiving our spouse is terribly important to God.
Moreover, 1 Corinthians 13:5 tells us that love keeps no record of wrongs. Keep your spouse, but let your hurt go.
3. The 'Me First' Mentality
Being treated well by our spouses is a great thing, but expecting to be treated like a god by them is dreadfully wrong. We should instead seek to meet our spouse's needs before we think of ourselves. The Lord Jesus calls this "greatness" (Matthew 20:26) and "greater love" (John 15:13).
"However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband." (Ephesians 5:33)