Published on October 12th, 2012 | by Rob Thorpe1
3 Choices You Must Make To Better Your Marriage
Is enjoying a vibrant, fulfilling marriage really as easy as 1, 2, 3? Easy is probably not the best choice of words, but after years of marriage counseling and mentoring (not to mention 36 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart) I have concluded that there are essentially three things that all fabulous marriages have in common.
Let’s first define what these essential “things” are. These are three crucial choices that may seem simple at first glance, but have proven to be very high obstacles for most married couples to climb on a consistent basis.
Choice #1- Walk the Talk
Have you ever known anyone who talked a lot about needing to lose weight, or stop smoking, or maybe get back in shape? I have known dozens who seem to receive some solace from talking about their need, or even going so far as to read books or attend classes on the subject. They think a lot about it, talk a lot about it…but, at the end of the day, they simply don’t ever choose to do it—really. Whatever it takes. They simply don’t choose to choose.
My wife and I have counseled many couples who like to talk about their issues. Many have attended counseling, seminars, small group classes, but what they haven’t really done is choose to choose. They have failed to make the necessary commitment to do whatever it takes to make their marriage great. They sincerely want it to be great, they hope it gets great, they may even pray for it, but they don’t make the daily choice to become the spouse they need to be in order to have the marriage they always wanted.
Some people decide to become great salespeople, improve their golf game, or commit themselves to worthwhile charitable causes. They decide such endeavors are worthy of their time, energy and money. They commit to them because they decide they are important enough.
Marriages would improve exponentially if both spouses would make a conscious, daily decision to put their marriage at the forefront of their priority list, and dedicate themselves to becoming the best spouse on the planet.
Choice #2- His Golden Rule
Since the concept and institution of marriage was created by God, it makes perfect sense to turn to Him for wisdom and counsel on the subject. Since He created it, He gets to make the rules. His rules are spelled out very succinctly in His Word, and He also promises to assist us in understanding them and enjoying a satisfying marriage relationship as we follow them.
His No. 1 rule is, and has always been, that we should have no other gods before Him. When asked what the greatest commandments are, Jesus plainly said, “to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength,” (Matthew 22:37). He created life and marriage, and knows how we can enjoy them to the fullest. He knows that marriage was never intended to be lived apart from God. We are created to walk and talk with Him continually throughout our days, just like Adam and Eve did.
God knows that we can only enjoy marriage as it was intended to be enjoyed, in communion with the Creator. John 15:5 is a key marriage verse, because Jesus clearly says we can’t “do anything without Him.” Without a deliberate choice to walk with God every day of our life, marriage will never work as it was intended—even if it means choosing against ourselves. This is much harder than it sounds. One of my best friends has said many times – “the hardest thing about being a Christ follower…is following Christ.”
Choice #3-Honey Do List
As spouses make the choices to become deliberate about their marriage, and their daily walk with Christ, they must also make one more crucial decision – who/what will be their highest earthly priority? Many spouses choose their career, health, ministry, wealth and children as their primary focus in life. For those of us who are married, God once again tells us very plainly who and what is to occupy the top spot: pleasing our husband/wife (1 Corinthians 7:33).
How many of us wake up every morning and ask God to show us how to best please our spouse? Yes, it also is a choice, requiring a deliberate, conscious decision to put him/her on the top of our daily to do list without taking him for granted. It is a choice to love as Christ loves and to give ourselves away for the benefit of our partner. It means loving and respecting our spouse even when he/she may not deserve it in our eyes or if you don’t “feel like it.” This kind of love and service can only be done in light of our key verse again – John 15:5.