Monday, April 8, 2013

Simple Secrets To Enjoying Marriage: Part 2

Last week I shared part one HERE and mentioned that I found 10 simple secrets in 1 Peter 3:8-12 that you can apply to your marriage to help your relationship more enjoyable.

1 Peter 3:8-12 says "Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will bless you for it. For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it. The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right, and his ears are open to their prayers. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil.”

But since i'm a slightly long winded person I was only able to get through four of those ten things so i'm going to try to finish up today! So let's start where we left off...

5. Have a humble attitude

Stop thinking about yourself!!! Nobody wants to be around a person who's primary focus is themselves. They are impossible to please and will suck the life right out of you! If you are an "all about me" person you can suck the life and joy right out of your marriage without even trying. You have to take your eyes off of you and put them on your spouse.

C.S. Lewis said "Humility isn't thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less" and that's exactly what you have to do in marriage.

I think a lot of problems in marriage would almost solve themselves if people would just stop thinking about what they want or how they feel or what they need, and instead focus on what their spouse wants, how they feel and what they need. When you both focus on each other instead of yourselves you are both taken care of, and that's honestly how God designed it to be.

6. Don't retaliate with insults when people insult you

In The Message version this part says "No sharp-tonged sarcasm". Do you know what would happen in your marriage if you got rid of sarcasm?! Now i'm not talking about playful banter here, I personally don't see anything wrong with them at all. What i'm talking about are the hateful sarcastic comments. People so often use sarcasm to say the things they can't just say outright.

And really, we've all done this! You're in the middle of a disagreement, or your spouse did something you didn't like and you don't want to be openly hateful so you just get those little jabs in there. Stop it! You can't enjoy your marriage if you're always on guard with each other waiting for the next "sharp-tonged" sarcastic remark.

7. Find ways to bless when you've been wronged

This is incredibly difficult to do but can bring so much healing to your marriage! You have to face the fact that your spouse is going to do something to hurt you at some point in your marriage, you married a flawed human being and it's just going to happen.

But here's a novel idea...when your spouse does do something that hurts you, don't look for a way to hurt them back. I know this can go against every one of our natural tendencies but fight that urge! Do something instead to bless them or help them. God can easily work in that kind of environment, and that's really what you want. You can easily enjoy a marriage that God is moving and working in!

8. Don't speak evil. Don't tell lies.

Both of these should be pretty obvious, and yet, not speaking evil can be one of the hardest things to get under control! Some of the definitions of evil are "immoral; wicked; harmful; or marked by anger or irritability". Any talk that would fall under this definition needs to be taken out of your marriage.

Think about your conversations with your friends about your spouse. Do you keep all evil words out of those conversations? That last half of the definition is where I think most people get caught up, we aren't to speak to or about our spouse with words "marked by anger or irritability" and sometimes that can be really hard to do!! But you'll enjoy your spouse and your marriage a lot more if you learn to talk to them and about them with love.

9. Turn away from evil

Take that definition of evil that we just saw and put it here. Anything that is immoral, harmful, marked by anger or irritability needs to be removed from your marriage. And expanding on the definition a little, anything that is "sinful, depraved, vicious, corrupt, vile or destructive" also needs to be turned away from.

You need to not only work to turn your marriage away from absolutely anything that would fall under these definitions of evil, but you also need to work on turning yourself away from them. You'll never be able to turn your marriage away from them if you aren't first turning yourself. Understand that the direction of your marriage will follow the direction you personally take. Your marriage follows you.

This goes from not only your actions but also your thought life. I've found that what you think about and dwell on usually comes out in your words, then your actions and can then become your lifestyle. So if your thought life is filled with all these definitions of evil in regards to your marriage, it won't be long before your words and actions are filled with them to.

Psalm 19:14 says "May the words from my mouth and the thoughts from my heart be acceptable to you, O LORD, my rock and my defender." We have to let the words from our mouth, and the thoughts from our heart be filled with good, not evil!

10. Search for peace and work hard to keep it

This one right here pretty much sums up the whole thing! If you are working for and looking for ways to keep peace in your marriage, you're going to enjoy your marriage a whole lot more! But remember, John 14:27 says "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you."

The peace we need to have working in our marriage will only come from Christ. You can't search for peace or work to keep it in your marriage without going to Christ, it's only found in Him!

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