Marriage by the Book

By Jack Graham

Marriage is under attack these days, of course in our courts, but more importantly in our homes. Satan is out to steal, kill and destroy any marriage, especially a Christian marriage.  If we want a love that lasts a lifetime, we have to get back to the fundamentals.   

If you know me, you know I love sports, so I’ll talk in sports terminology.  If Satan is coaching against your marriage, he will find your weaknesses and attack them.   That is why having a marriage (game) plan is so important.   What is your marriage game plan?  What are your marriage fundamentals that keep you moving in a positive direction?  Do you make half time adjustments?  Do you need a timeout to discuss your relationship and reignite your romance?  What are you doing to intentionally build your marriage up and grow up together, so you can grow old together?   

Paul tells us in Philippians 2:12 to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”  I believe what is true concerning our salvation is also true of our marriage.  Marriage is God’s gift to you.  And now, as you work it out by spending the energy and effort that is required to build a strong marriage, that’s your gift back to God.  Let the refining fire of this relationship grow you into the man and women God has called you to be.  This means we have to swim against the tide of our culture.   Put your earplugs in and your blinders on, and get to work with God and your spouse.  

As a pastor, I have observed that most marriages are abandoned for no good, biblical reason.  And most marriages that end in divorce did not have to end that way.  People give up, because they are not willing to work anymore.  It all boils down to one word, neglect. No one goes into marriage hoping it will end in divorce.  (At least they shouldn’t.)   A thousand little choices lead up to the fall of a marriage.   Determine to work out your salvation and work out your marriage.  I believe God uses marriage to grow us into the men and women He created us to be, if we are willing to listen to the Holy Spirit in our lives, humble ourselves, and say the words that are hardest, “ I’m sorry, please forgive me.”  

When my wife Deb looks into my eyes after all these years, I’m sure she doesn’t get butterflies in her stomach, and her heart doesn’t skip a beat.  No.  When we look into each other’s eyes, we see unconditional love that can only come from the Father above.   We hurt each other and disappoint each other at times, but we know what to do when those times come.  We have a plan, and we work our plan.  Marriage is work, and it is worth it!  If you don’t like what you see in the mirror of your marriage, you don’t break the mirror and walk away.  That’s the time to go to work and deal with the problems.   Decide to work.  No quitting allowed.  No running. The fourth quarter determines the outcome of the game.   

The legacy you leave behind will be determined on how you finish.  Take responsibility to build your marriage on the Rock of Jesus Christ.  Pray for Him to soften your heart and rekindle the flame of love, friendship and commitment to your spouse.    Your children and grandchildren will be blessed by the legacy of love you leave them by NOT giving up.  You can do it!  When you do, you will be a better man or women because you stayed and worked together.  You are a team.  Hold your spouse’s hands; look into each other’s eyes and say, “I’m on your team.”  Then go fight against the enemy with a good defense – Prayer, and work at your offense to bring home the win in life!  You can do it!