This is an edited version of an interview by Trey Gowdy and Jodi Bennett on the topic of the secrets to having a flourishing Christian marriage. Here are the important takeaways;
What Makes a Good Marriage?
That's the question I popped at a small dinner gathering of Christians not long ago. Two couples had been married more than 30 years ago and two more than 15. I wondered what people would say.
"Share each others passions."
"Remember you're on the same team".
"You need to look for ways to serve each other."
I loved what everyone said. You might think that the secret to a successful marriage also includes good communication, not having many problems up a good sex life. All great things!
But when it comes down to predictions long term stability and satisfaction in marriage, kindness is what matters most!
And it's not just bringing your spouse, a cup of coffee in the morning. It's intentionally showing him/her respect-constantly caring more about your spouse than you do for yourself.
"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4
But I can imagine some of you thinking, "My spouse is just naturally niceer and more kind than I am. That's not my nature." That's not true.
Kindness, self-control of gentleness are the fruit of the spirit. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23. These virtues come with our salvation if you are truly born again. If they aren't true in your life it's because you've chosen not to use them, or you've accepted the lie, "That's just not me."
So here's a good test. Ask your spouse to be very honest with you. "Am I kind to our children?" Then after hearing that answer, "Am I kind to you?" If there is any hesitation in their answer, you have your answer. Don't argue, don't minimize. Don't make excuses,
Then do two more things!
1. Ask your spouse for a list of things you can say, or do that feel kind to him/her.
2. Ask God for the will-power to begin being more kind. If you truly desire it, The Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth.
"And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven you." -Ephesians 4:32