Do You Have
Building a Marriage That Lasts
by David Sexton
Why is there such an alarming rise of marriages not surviving? Statistics say that over 50% of marriages—even Christian marriages—end in the divorce courts. In light of such grim statistics, what can a couple do to create a solid marriage, a marriage that lasts? The recipe for a lasting marriage includes three key ingredients: commitment, dedication, and sacrifice.
Sadly, commitment is not a word often used to describe marriage today. Love for a spouse is far more than the ceremony in which the new bride and groom participate, more than an emotional connection fueled by some unexplained force. According to marriage by God’s definition, love comes by commitment. In Malachi 2:14, God describes this commitment as a covenant—a formal, solemn, and binding agreement between man, woman, and God. Marriage is not just a physical or emotional union; it is a lifelong commitment, a choice.
Another key element of lasting marriage is dedication, a self-sacrificing devotion. How much time and energy do you invest into your marriage each day? Men and women dedicate themselves to jobs, careers, studies, ministry, and even recreation. How sad to achieve success in all of these areas but lose your spouse or your family in the process!
Dedication begins the day a couple leaves mother and father to cling to one another (Genesis 2:23) and grows through continual daily devotion. Because dedication may not always come naturally or easily, each spouse must be willing to sacrifice to make marriage work.
Sacrifice simply chooses to put the needs of our spouse before our own. Often, we fail to see the needs of a spouse because we only see the relationship through our own eyes, not theirs. A wife often views her husband and his needs through her own pink sunglasses, while the husband sees his wife and her needs through blue sunglasses. Neither husband nor wife can see true physical and emotional needs until self-centered glasses come off and they see the relationship from a fresh perspective.
Sacrificing to meet the needs of a spouse is a choice that must be practiced every day. Just as we keep an accurate account of the balance in our bank account, we always should know the “balance” in our marriage “love bank.” When we fail our spouse, we withdraw from that bank, and we must make deliberate sacrifices—physical, mental, and emotional deposits—to balance the account. These deposits include communication, quality time, simple acts of kindness, words of affirmation, respect, physical touch, and the list goes on.
Commitment, dedication, and sacrifice will create a beautiful and prosperous marriage when combined with one crucial ingredient, a hunger and thirst to please God. When our relationship with God is fruitful and grounded in His Word, our relationship with our spouse also will be honoring and beautiful.
Husbands and wives must choose to obey God by honoring their covenant to their spouse. How much have you invested in your love bank today?
About the Writer: David Sexton and his wife Charity are church planters in Suffolk, Virginia. They have been married for 20 years and have four children. Learn more about their ministry.