Today I’m sharing a few brief lessons I’m currently learning about marriage. I could write a longer blog post on each lesson, but instead I’m sharing a few smaller nuggets for you to chew on and discuss with your significant other.
I think about marriage a lot—how to grow my own, where I see others doing well, and how I can help others. So in this post I’m sharing a few recent observations and thoughts to help you grow in your marriage. Feel free, of course, to share these with others who need to hear them. More important, apply the truths to your own life and marriage.
1. Marry someone you will suffer well with. Be a spouse who will suffer well.
This might not be the most romantic marriage lesson ever learned, but it’s so important. When you say “I do,” you will be married for a long time (Lord willing). It’s easy to love each other on your wedding day or in the happy seasons. But what about when things get tough? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:28b, “But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.” If you marry, you will struggle. It’s the only promise about marriage in the whole bible.
A few weekends ago, I officiated the funeral for a dear family friend. He was one of my spiritual heroes of the faith. Over 12 years before he passed away, he had a major stroke and had been wheelchair-bound ever since. For the last 12 years, his wife suffered with him. She took care of him when he couldn’t do anything on his own. Her dreams for the future didn’t work out the way she wanted them to go, but she sacrificially and joyfully served and loved her husband. Together they suffered well and made all their days count.
Question: Do you suffer well with your significant other?
2. A lot of affairs start at the gym.
This is not research-based and it’s not an excuse to avoid the gym. What I am telling you is that anecdotally I’ve heard a handful of infidelity stories over the past few weeks that started at the gym. I read two online articles that both listed the gym as one of the top 5-6 places where affairs start.
Whether it’s the vibe of a gym, the skimpier clothes, or the hormones that run through our bodies when we work out, something happens that leads to more frequent affairs.
Don’t avoid the gym and this is not an excuse note for you to skip your workouts. But a few suggestions:
- Guard your eyes. Job 31:1 says, “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.” The concept applies to women as well, to not look lustfully at anyone else (see Matthew 5:27-28). Guard your eyes at the gym (and anywhere else you go!).
- Be modest. Dress in such a way that you’re not causing anyone else to stumble or that would draw attention to yourself. And if you’re married, here’s one thing you should wear—your wedding ring. That ring announces to others you’re not available and not interested.
- Work out with a friend who can hold you accountable. I love when I get to work out with my friend Kevin. I know he’ll hold me accountable if he sees my eyes wander. And be extremely cautious of working out one-on-one with someone of the opposite sex. In fact, forget caution—just don’t do it, unless it’s your spouse.
Go to the gym and get your sweat on by all means. Just don’t let that workout lead to something you’re really going to regret that could destroy your home and family. It’s not worth it.
Question: What are you doing to guard your eyes and your heart from sinful lust?
3. Be your spouse’s biggest cheerleader.
What’s your spouse working on right now that they’re excited about? How can you cheer them on and encourage them? Hebrews 3:13 says, “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” You should be your spouse’s biggest “cheerleader” and encourager. Life is just really tough at times and we all get beat up by various aspects of the daily grind. But you have the potential and ability to play a role that no one else will play—you get to lift up and encourage your spouse.
Kristen has been and continues to be my biggest cheerleader in my job and in writing. While writing my book, she prayed for me, edited every word of my book, and gave me time to get away and write. I’ve learned so much from her in how to be a godly spouse.
Question: How can you encourage and cheer on your spouse today?
What are you learning right now about marriage? What can you share with others to help encourage them in their relationship?
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