Keys for a Happy Marriage

You can choose to go into marriage one of two ways: Just follow your heart, or follow God’s heart. Following your heart means that you make your decisions based on what you see, hear and feel when you are with that “special person.” Following God’s heart means that you listen to counsel and advice from godly people, and especially God’s Word.

Here are some keys for a happy, successful, thriving marriage:

  1. Wait. Don’t rush into marriage or dating. Studies have found that couples are more likely to stay married when they wait until they have gained more emotional maturity. Take the time to discover who best complements you, whom you connect with, and what reasons you may have for pursuing a particular type of person.
  2. Make a list. Before you start dating, make a list of the characteristics and qualities you desire in a future spouse. Highlight the ones that are non-negotiable. For example, if you do not want to have children, don’t get serious with someone who does. Make sure the list is realistic, and consider as well what strengths—and weaknesses—you bring to a relationship. But don’t try to mold one another into the person you think they should be. That’s God’s job, not yours.
  3. Pray. Before you start dating, start praying for your future spouse. When you start dating, keep praying.
  4. Put God first. Make sure you only consider marrying someone who shares your faith and religious perspectives. Paul wrote, “Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14, NRSV). The spiritual side of your union will only grow more important as the years go by.
  5. Worship. When you marry, establish your daily time for family worship. Decide with your spouse what time you will meet each morning and evening to spend time with God, and decide what church you will attend each Sabbath as a new family.
  6. Set boundaries. Solomon wrote, “Unless the Lord builds a house, the builders labor in vain” (Ps. 127:1, NIV). Consider what you will prioritize, how you may raise and discipline any children, and what kind of music, movies, entertainment, guests, foods, etc. you want to bring into your new home.
  7. Prove God. Decide to include God in your finances. Money is often one of the biggest sources of stress in marriage. Make sure that you and your spouse return a faithful tithe and set aside offerings each week. Be willing to give generously to causes that help others.
  8. Smile. Paul wrote, “Rejoice always” (1 Thess. 5:16). Enjoy each day with your spouse. Plan fun things to do together, while also encouraging each other’s unique interests. Try not to focus on your partner’s mistakes or faults. Remind yourself why you fell in love in the first place. Smile, and try to get your spouse to smile every day, throughout the day.

As you walk together in marriage, let God transform each of you into what He knows will be a better and more glorious you.

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