Dianne Barker shared six helpful keys for UPGRADING our marriages in her last post; here are the final six.
"What did a nineteen-year-old bride know about marriage…pleasing a husband…pleasing God? Not much," Dianne said. "But I had big dreams."
I (Dawn) think Dianne expresses the hearts of many women. Do we really understand what marriage is all about when we walk down the aisle. We may read, we may prepare; but there's always so much to learn!
I’d never told James my childhood dream—riding away with Prince Charming in a shiny car, “Just Married” written in shaving cream on the windows, colorful streamers and noisy cans dangling from the bumper.
James didn’t understand such dreams.
To prevent that very thing from happening, on our wedding day he hid his prized car at an uncle’s house and borrowed one to drive to the church. When friends badgered him to reveal the hiding place, I nagged him to tell so I could live my dream.
As we stuffed wedding cake into each other’s mouth, he frowned his disapproval and said, “You’re my wife. You’re supposed to be on my side.”
His buddies guessed the location and decorated his car, which secretly pleased me. My dream would come true! James drove straight to the car-wash and washed away my dream before the first mile of our honeymoon.
Although we agreed on important matters of life and faith, we approached most issues from opposite perspectives. How would we ever achieve harmony?
The Lord provided a mentor, a gracious older woman who lovingly pointed me to Jesus. When I’d complain about my exasperating husband, she’d quote Proverbs 16:7. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
I had only one assignment: pleasing the Lord.
What pleases the Lord in marriage? Ephesians 5:33 Amplified gave me a job description: “…Let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband [that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates, and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly].”
Time, maturity, and following Christ made amazing changes as the Lord quietly worked, doing his typical Ephesians 3:20, “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.”
The two essentials for a flourishing marriage:
1. A conviction God has a standard of conduct for our lives; and
2. A desire to live that way.
“So shall you heartily accept My commandments and conform your life and conduct to them. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 22:31 Amplified).
You can have an extraordinary marriage! [Six marriage keys were shared in Part 1; here are six more.]
- Be kind. “She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue” (Proverbs 31: 26).
- Repay evil with good. “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).
- Choose a Christ-honoring response. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1).
- Trust God to meet your needs, freeing you to meet your husband’s needs. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
- Believe nothing is too hard for God. “Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you” (Jeremiah 32:17).
- Expect God to do something mighty. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him….” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
A final question: At the end of the day, we’re accountable only for our life of obedience. What action can you begin today to change the climate in your home?
Dianne Barker is a conference speaker, freelance journalist, radio host, and author of eleven books, including the 1986 best-seller Twice Pardoned. Her 2014 book, I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life, won the Christian Authors Network Golden Scrolls third-place award for non-fiction book of the year. This post is adapted from her forthcoming book, Help! I’m Stuck and I Can’t Get Out! The Maximum Marriage Maintenance and Repair Kit, which will be available at www.diannebarker.com.
Marriage Graphic in text, adapted, Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net